For most people, the first headache of a building project comes before anything has even started – not even knowing where to start or what things cost. Real Homes has written an extensive guide to various costs of the process, and it is definitely worth reading if you are stuck in this stage.
Have you ever watched a home renovation TV show, like Grand Designs or Love It or Leave It, and seen the section where they ask the homeowners: ‘what’s your budget?’ and wondered…how did they come up with that number? Or how does the presenter immediately know that’s really low or just right?
Budgets are complicated and they can be intimidating. We’ll get into the details of making sure you have a realistic, easy to manage budget plan, a little later on. For now, you need a rough figure to make sure you can afford what you want to do, and to be able to confidently answer that question when asked by a designer, architect, or tv show host.
There are so many variables into how much your renovation will cost, that is impossible to give a definitive answer. So our approach is to follow these steps.
Getting your number
1. Get a rough idea of the baseline for the renovation you want to do – we have further details available in our online course, and there are many online resources to help.
2. Adjust for location and quality of finish – a high end finish to a Central London home will cost more than a budget spec in a rural area.
3. Speak to architects and builders or use some online quote forms, and get some refinements of your number.
4. Realistically evaluate your finances, and make your final big picture number at least 20% lower than what you can afford. You will need wiggle room for the unexpected!
5. Remember this is just the starting point – as you do more research, you can adjust and reallocate funds. You can’t know everything there is to know yet – you just need a figure that lets you play the game.
6. Remember VAT – often building work and supplies will be quoted excluding VAT, so you want to make sure you have room for the extra 20% on those often large-ticket items.
Other things you can do is talk to architects, there are companies like RESI now, which will walk you through a quick process to get an estimate of the work.
One often forgotten factor to consider in your budget is whether you will be living onsite or moving out. Your project will potentially move faster because the builders don’t lose time setting up and putting away their equipment every day, but you’ll have the cost of rental accommodation and factors like travel depending on your situation.