One of the benefits of owning a home is you have the freedom to make it truly your own. You can make design choices that reflect your personality and your needs. This may involve embarking on simple aesthetic changes or more complex construction projects such as adding unique rooms to your property.
In either instance, such improvements tend to be more successful when you don’t improvise your renovations. Perhaps the most important reason for this is that any project tends to require some form of financial investment. The last thing you want is to see your savings depleted because you didn’t budget effectively for your renovations or upgrades. Yet, it’s not always easy to know how best to create the right financial plan for home improvements.
Let’s look a little closer at some of the key components of building a budget for your latest home designs.
Establish Your Resources
Your first step toward building a budget for your latest home designs is to understand what resources you have available to you. The last thing you want to do is proceed on the assumption that you have a certain amount to play with, only to find that this isn’t an accurate reflection of reality. The result can be financially and practically disruptive to your projects.
Start with a thorough assessment of your income. Establish how much money you reliably have coming in each month, minus any recurring household expenses. This should provide you with a relatively good idea of how much free and liquid cash you have to put toward your project.
From here, you can look at any savings you have. Certainly, you may not want to put all your capital into a renovation project, so consider how much you’re comfortable removing from your accounts. In the future, it may be helpful to create separate bank accounts specifically dedicated to these types of improvements.
It’s worth considering what other resources can be available, particularly if you’re not in a hurry. For non-essential renovations, it’s wise to use methods of financing that are best for purchasing luxury items, such as starting to save early. As there’s no urgency to these design improvements, you may be able to take your time improving your credit score so you can access better lending terms. It can also be helpful to shop around for loans and look at not only who offers the best deals, but also see what low-interest financing offers hardware stores and contractors may have.
Solidify Your Timeframe
You also need to consider how you’re going to utilize your available resources over the course of the project. By understanding the milestones on the way to completion, you can establish a more accurate plan for what resources you need for each task and even where you may be able to save some money.
You should, therefore, start by identifying the scope of the project. Determine what the key practical steps are from start to finish. Plot out the expected times for each task, along with the realistic costs of each phase. This should include not just the material costs but also any labor costs.
It’s also important to consider the time of year you’re planning your timeline, too. Performing renovations in any season comes with a variety of pros and cons. For instance, if you choose to remodel in the winter months, your project timeline may be limited by the weather, but you may find the costs of hiring contractors is lower. Warmer months may see you completing exterior projects faster, but getting hold of low-cost contractors in short notice can be challenging. So, you’ll need to factor in potential seasonal expenses or savings.
From there, create a timeline with clear milestones and associated costs. This will allow you to keep track of where your money is going, as well as what the most expensive parts of your plans are. Having a timeline allows you to gain additional resources or make cost-saving measures if you need to.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Anybody who has ever taken on a home design project knows that, even with the most careful planning, unexpected events can arise. These bring unexpected expenses along with them. When building your budget for any project, it’s important to take into account the scope for costly mistakes and issues.
The best approach to this is usually to set aside contingency funds. If possible, plan for at least 10-20% of the total budget for unexpected expenses. This can help to cover costs for problems such as hidden water damage and structural issues you might discover during your project. Not to mention it helps pay for unforeseen changes you find you need to make to the original plan.
You should also treat the potential for delays as a certainty. Renovations can be unpredictable and various factors can cause delays, such as weather and material shortages. You may need to consider that you might need to devote part of your household income to your remodeling project for a longer period than expected. Therefore, you should avoid assuming that your income will be free for other expenses, such as vacations, soon after your planned project completion date.
When it comes to building a budget for home design projects, it’s important to take a strategic and thoughtful approach. This involves assessing your available resources, establishing a solid timeline, and planning for unexpected expenses. By taking these steps, you can ensure that you have a realistic budget that allows you to complete your project successfully without overspending or running into financial difficulties.
That said, it’s important to keep an eye out for additional elements that can make your design expenses easier to manage. Consider joining hardware store loyalty programs that may save you money not on your immediate projects but on those in the future. If your home changes are likely to be extensive, look into how long-term relationships with professionals might result in discounted rates.
Sam Bowman authored this article