How to prep your finances this home reno season
September is notorious for construction. Spring has sprung, rain is few and far between and as the weather heats up, everyone's in the mood to be outdoors after a cold, long winter.
But this year, we could see even more activity, after we being forced to spend so much time stuck inside as a result of a global pandemic.
If you're considering giving your home a little extra TLC this spring, here are some tips to prepare your finances in the lead up to home renovation season.
First thing's first. What are you renovating?
The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly what you're going to renovate. Is it the bathroom? Kitchen? Both?
Deciding on the scope of your renovation is key to planning your budget. There are multiple online budget calculators for renovations. You can simply measure out the size of the area you'll be renovating and what kind of renovation you're after (i.e. basic, mid-range or luxury) and get a rough idea of how much it will cost you.
Obviously, you'll still need to get quotes from professionals once you decide what needs to be done, but this can give you an insight into how much you can actually afford, and guide your scope.
Pick your battles
Home renovations can be costly, so you might not be able to do it all in one hit.
Maybe this year you renovate the bathroom, and next year the kitchen. You don't want to blow your budget out of the water, and you still want to leave some leeway for surprise bills or expenses.
Add a little more to your bill
Whatever your cost looks like - add an extra 10 to 20 per cent. Quotes are just quotes, and sometimes things that seem easy at first can become complicated, so ensure you save a little extra to stay above board.
You'll also need to budget for other costs, like building permits or council permission/fees. Make sure these are in your budget early, so you get a better idea of the overall cost.
Figure out what you can do yourself
If your budget is looking a little tight and you think you can do some work yourself, you may want to consider opting for a little DIY.
In the bathroom, you might be able to do some of the following on your own:
- Replacing the tapware or small fixtures
- Painting over old tiles
- Cutting out old silicone and replacing it
- Changing the shower screen.
In the kitchen, you could:
- Paint over your cupboards
- Change the splashback tiling
- Refresh cupboard handles or tapware.
In your bedroom, you may want to:
- Rip up old carpet and lay down newer floorings
- Paint your walls
- Install new window furnishings.
However, it's a good idea to do extensive research and have a solid plan in place before you get started. It can be just as easy to spend money doing it on your own as it is to paying professionals, so make sure you stick to your budget and keep track of all expenditures - no matter how big or small.
Figure out what you need others to help with
There are certain things you'll need a qualified professional to do for you. That's things like:
- Major layout changes
- Moving plumbing or gas lines
- Replacing windows
- Major landscaping
- Altering your electricals, or
- If you want custom fixtures.
Or, if you're simply not the handy type, you may need a professionally tradesperson to do the bulk of your renovation.
In that case, you might want to prioritise what you want fixed first. That could be your most-used areas, like your living room or kitchen. Or, it could be things that improve your lifestyle, like a great outdoor entertaining area, or a new bathroom.
Brush up on your negotiation skills
When dealing with professionals, a good rule of thumb is to always get three quotes from different service providers. That way, you get a good idea of who can offer you the best value for your money. You'll be surprised how much the price can vary from tradie to tradie.
If you're not sure who to go with - put the word out at work, or in your friendship group. People are always likely to recommend those that have done a good job, or someone they trust, which is good news for you.
Once you've chosen someone to undertake the work for you based on their quote, don't be afraid to ask if there's wiggle room - as long as it's fair. You're the customer, and they want to win your business. And remember - always stay firm on your budget.
Look at your finance options
If it's simply not within your budget, or you need a little extra financial room for peace of mind, you may want to consider a personal loan for your home renovation.
A home improvement loan is also a great option for those who want to avoid adding to their mortgage and incurring additional interest.
Always do your research into personal loans before you jump in. Is the interest rate competitive? Does the repayment schedule work for you? Are there any fees?
SocietyOne offers competitive personal loans for home improvements.
To apply for a loan with us, you'll need to satisfy some eligibility criteria, like:
- You need to be at least 18 years of age
- You must be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia
- You must earn more than $30,000 per annum (with Centrelink considered to be a supplementary form of income)
- You must have a good credit score.
To ensure you're in good financial standing, check your credit score before you make an application. You can do that for free with us too!
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