Improving a home comes at a price.
Since the start of the pandemic, the price of a complete bathroom overhaul has increased by 40%, while loft conversions and kitchen transformations have both gone up by 25%, on average.
But there are a number of ways you can save money on renovations.
We’ve asked people who have undertaken home improvement projects themselves to recommend their tips for pocketing cash.
This is what they had to say…
Buy second-hand – even your kitchen
Alice Greedus says buying second-hand is a great way to save cash – and she even did this with her own kitchen.
She says: ‘Spend some time on Gumtree and eBay every day looking for good deals. People will sometimes get rid of kitchens they don’t like that aren’t very old at all. We bought our kitchen for £200 off Gumtree, it has a lovely quartz worktop and is fairly good quality so could be rebuilt in our house.
‘My partner negotiated the price down and the agreement was that we would have to remove the kitchen and take it away – companies can charge a fortune for this service.
‘We bought many second-hand items at amazing prices including a wine cooler, induction hob, top of the range kitchen tap, and even a Kitchen Aid. Most of the time people had bought these new but didn’t like the colour, or had changed their mind.’
Hire recommended tradesmen
Alice also suggests getting friendly with local tradesmen, before you start your renovation.
She says: ‘It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do all the work yourself, some electrics or plumbing may need a qualified person and – while YouTube can be a great help for other DIY information – you sometimes have to know when it’s time (and safer) to seek help.
‘Hire recommended tradesmen and ask your family and friends if they know someone before you look online.’
Help tradesmen out to save time and money
Alice also says it’s worth seeing if you can assist the tradesman in any way.
She explains: ‘My partner helped our electrician for the day, doing all preparation work and messy heavy jobs so we made the most use of his time.
‘The electrician was very happy with this arrangement as he normally hates the time-consuming preparation work – it’s worth asking when they come to give you a quote if there’s anything you can do to help them beforehand.
‘By making friends with the local window and door fitter we managed to get a new front door worth over £1,000 for £200. This door was left over from a job that didn’t go ahead.’
Do it yourself – and use YouTube tutorials
Beth Greer (@ivyandbee.home) champions doing as much as you can yourself – learning from tutorials as you go.
‘We have done, and continue to do, a lot of renovation on our home. It may not be very original, but YouTube has proved invaluable,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.
‘My husband is always referring to “how to” videos – the last one was how to lay a herringbone floor and fit panelling in the dining room. We also have some good neighbours who are a great source of knowledge.’
Get the right tools
Beth Greer adds: ‘The second tip would be to invest in the right tools.
‘I spend my life on Instagram finding lots of ideas of how I want our home to look – but my husband is the one doing the hard work and he’s learnt that having the right tools for the job gets the job done quicker, and with a better outcome.’
Don’t pay someone to oversee the work
‘If you have time to project manage the separate jobs yourself, it can save you thousands,’ says Natalie, who has been busy renovating her first home in Walthamstow.
‘It isn’t easy, but it can really make a huge difference for your budget. We were originally quoted £15,000 for someone to oversee all of our work – not including any materials – and we quickly realised that wasn’t feasible for us.
‘My partner is freelance, so had a lot more time during the day to oversee and act as project manager – we couldn’t have done it without that.’
Try and source most materials
Aman Garcha who renovated her entire downstairs, suggests trying to source all your own materials, to save money.
She says: ‘We did as much of the work ourselves as we could – including knocking through walls, panelling, and painting.
‘We also sourced many of the materials for the build ourselves – this includes the bricks, crittall-style doors, and Velux skylights. We shopped around for the best prices.’
Buy DIY tools second-hand too
Buying second-hand can also extend to your DIY tools.
Natalie adds: ‘Often, other DIY-ers will put their leftover DIY materials – like grout, plaster, filler and silicone up for sale – and it can much cheaper than buying everything brand new.
‘Particularly if you only need a small amount of something.’
Make time for samples and testers
Natalie also advises taking some time to be sure of your paint colours.
She says: ‘It might seem like you’re saving time by not testing out a paint colour, or testing the colour of the wood varnish, but diving in to a job when you’re not 100% sure will cost you more money in the long-run.
‘We ended up wasting money (and time) painting entire rooms the wrong colour – which was massively frustrating, and ate into our budget.
‘So, even if it feels like it’s taking forever, make time for testers – and test your colours in different lights and at different times of the day.’
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