A Guide to Managing Your Home Improvement and Building Costs

Are you building a new house from scratch or embarking on a home improvement journey? No matter what the project, every cent counts when it comes to making your budget work for you and your new home. Embarking on your building adventure can be a costly exercise, but with a few simple considerations, you can bypass the extra expenses, without compromising on quality.

When it comes to building plans - prevention is better than cure

Some things in life are better when they’re spontaneous but taking on a construction project on a whim is not one of these things. There’s a lot of truth to the old adage, “prevention is better than cure,” especially when you’re financing a build yourself.
Before you start finalising contractors and daydreaming about sunroofs, it’s important to nail the planning element of your project. This will help you identify potential risks, establish a budget and begin to create realistic timelines for the construction. It’s also a good way to ensure that you don’t end up overspending on emergency measures, later down the line. Enlist the experts to help you plan properly.

The right contractor is priceless for any home repair or build

Professional guidance is a lifesaver for any build, especially if you plan on doing some of it yourself. Whether you hire a contractor part-time or full-time, you’re going to need helping hands you can trust, with the right experience to help you make your build a success.

So, where does the saving come in? Once you’ve found a pool of registered contractors, you can compare quotes to ensure you’re getting the best price possible in relation to experience and ability. Remember, cheaper isn’t always better and could cost you in the long run. With the right contractor, you’ve won half the battle and can accurately begin to establish a realistic budget with corresponding timelines.

More pro tips for first-time builders on a budget

● Consider a rustic or industrial look. These types of aesthetics are characterised by face brick, rough textures and asymmetries. Industrial design, for example, is fashioned on the looks of old industry spaces and factories - and is often characterised by the use of unexpected materials. Both professional and domestic interiors now incorporate structures like old shipping containers and palettes. These elements offer home-owners the change to pair rough, weathered basics with chic interior details, like modern lighting - also creating a space to highlight key pieces of furniture and art.
Rustic design relies largely on natural earth tones and stone colour palettes. Its focus on natural and unrefined elements make it the perfect backdrop for construction work in progress. These forgiving design aesthetics give you the freedom to reuse, create and play without having to perfect a space. In doing so, you also buy time to complete your project without feeling as though you live or work in an unfinished building.

● Skimp on the square meterage. Many of us are no stranger to the tiny house movement, a global phenomenon where home-owners create small, simple spaces in order to live a less complicated and potentially less wasteful life. While you don’t have to commit to packing your entire home into a few square meters, you can take some inspiration for smaller builds.

First-time builders have a tendency to take on too much too soon and it pays to get creative about how you’re going to use a space and to finish your projects in increments. It’s simple math, less space equals fewer materials, less time to implement and more opportunity to gain experience and determine what you’re in for should you choose to continue.

● Take the hands-on approach. Do-it-yourself building projects can be extremely rewarding and getting your hands dirty is a great way to save. While there is a plethora of resources on the web and on our site, it’s good to have a bit of guidance to make the most of your DIY experience. However, the more you do yourself, the more you’re futureproofing your skills for your next project and the more control and involvement you have over the outcome. Just keep in mind that DIY projects can sometimes take longer than hiring professionals to complete a job.

● Source your own materials. Sourcing your own materials is one of the best ways to streamline your budget, get the best deals and to stretch your creativity. The experts recommend prefabricated panels, concrete sheets, corrugated metal, bamboo and stone cladding. However, you can also be conscientious and get great deals on what some would consider alternative materials. See below.

● Reduce, reuse, recycle. As home-owners become more conscious of the environment and new innovations in building logistics, so many are adopting sustainable materials, like used construction supplies, as a foundation for their building projects. If you’re really smart about it, you can obtain whole structures for free, it just requires the know-how.

○ Use reclaimed timber. One of the trendiest reclaimed woods that renovators use nowadays is timber, which can cost a bit to locate in the beginning but works out to be very cost effective in the long run. You can also fake it until you make it by using stone cladding instead of pure stone to build walls and give your home’s facade a natural look.

○ Upcycle from your local dump or junk shop. If you like treasure hunting and are happy to remain open-minded, you can also find some real gems at your local dump. At first this might not seem like a very appealing idea, but workers often set aside materials and items in good condition for private sale. In many instances, you can get building materials for free and often, high-quality materials that have simply been discarded or no longer serve their original purpose.

This way, you can save thousands, and there’s always a dump in somewhat close proximity. But most importantly, you’re saving yourself money while also helping to save the environment by upcycling.

○ Mix and match. An eclectic look is as charming as it is practical, especially when you can reuse various materials in your build. While the logistics will differ on which materials you can combine, there are often opportunities to use extra materials from one area, in another part of your project, reducing waste and giving your space character.
You can also try buying in bulk, where practical. It just takes a bit of time and creativity to manage your building and home improvement costs, effectively.