Have you heard this? Does it make you shy away from renovating your home? You can do several things to avoid cost overruns or at least to keep them at a minimum.
Detailed plans and specifications – Take the time and spend the money on a good set of plans and specifications. It will save you a lot of money and grief in the end. To write the specifications, you should even go shopping for cabinets, plumbing fixtures, flooring and tile. This will ensure that your price is based on exactly what you want at the end of the day.
Stick to your plan – Once you have a detailed plan and set of specifications, stick to it! It is easy to say, “well, if we are doing it, we might as well go all the way.” The best time for that decision is when you write the plans and specifications. When a person is pricing the renovation, decisions tend to be made to emphasize finances. When the actual building begins, decisions tend to emphasize style, comfort, etc.
The “Creep Factor” – Again, stick to your plan. People often ask, “what would it cost to add a room…or renovate our kitchen?” Tough question. Does this addition or renovation also mean that we are changing the flooring throughout the rest of the house? Does it mean that we are painting the entire house? If we change the doors and casing in this housing area, are we changing those items in the rest of the house? Etc.
Focus on priorities – even if you have a big budget, focus on the common areas that will give you the biggest return on your investment. Areas like kitchens, bathrooms and great rooms.
Trust the professional you hired – a seasoned professional knows how to get a great designer look and the biggest bang for your buck without breaking the bank.
Effective change order system – Does your contractor have an effective change order system that is timely and accurate? To make good decisions along the way, you need to be well informed. You need to know if your current proposed change will put you over budget so that you can’t make any changes later in the project.
Project is more complex than expected – This can be a problem. What is hidden behind that drywall that was not foreseen? Sometimes when a wall is opened up, some problems could not have been anticipated. Hiring a qualified, experienced builder that knows what to look for will help mitigate this issue, but it can’t always be avoided. It isn’t a bad idea to allow 10% in your budget for the “unforeseen.”
Hire a qualified, reputable builder – Short timelines and low budgets must be taken with a grain of salt. The age-old adage, “You get what you pay for” and “If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is” come to mind.