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How Can I Keep Home Improvement Costs Low?

Updated on July 20, 2017
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella has written many property-related articles due to fourteen years' experience in residential lettings and renovation in the UK.

Try Not To Throw Too Much Money At It!

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Cutting Costs, Not Corners

Any home improvement project, however small, can cost a fortune if a sensible budget isn't worked out well before works are under way. Costs regarding home improvements have a nasty habit of escalating beyond all proportion if definite plans aren't adhered to.

Never forget, labour charges can be almost as much as the basic costs of appliances and materials. Always request three estimates from reliable workmen with a proven track record, if the work is to be carried out by someone else. When undertaking the task yourself, remember to choose quality suppliers who charge reasonable prices for their goods.

'I've Been To Get Felt!'

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Quality, Quality, Quality!

Don’t cut corners when it comes to quality. A good idea is to go for durable, middle of the range fixtures and fittings that aren't complicated to install or expensive to maintain. Look out for things like bulk buys and end of the range clearance sales so you can purchase quality products for a fraction of the recommended retail price. Tiles and flooring are always available cheaply if bought in this way. DIY stores supply a selection of special offers and promotions all year round but take advantage of any seasonal reductions; for instance conservatories, garden products and outbuildings may be cheaper and more widely available in spring.

All home improvements should not only enhance the overall appearance of your property but should add to its value and provide you with years of enjoyment once the project is finished. Avoid inferior products guaranteed to fail after a short time - they just create more issues to put right later on. Problems with houses always return with a vengeance, if not rectified correctly at the earliest point.

Be certain to obtain the correct advice because a badly installed item can even reduce a home’s value. Estate agents and buildings inspectors will spot shoddy work immediately so don’t skimp on things that matter. A balance needs to be maintained between expenditure and quality at every stage in your project.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation!

Ask any reputable builder and he'll likely say the key to a successful home improvement project has everything to do with the amount of preparation put into it beforehand. This includes keeping a meticulous written record of materials you need to buy and everyone you must pay within a reasonable timescale.

Time is money and delays are often caused by lack of continuity and communication in a project. If everyone is waiting for someone else to complete their job first then you'll be wasting money unnecessarily. Make sure everyone involved in your project knows their designated task and when they're expected to be on site, so no one else will be held up. Allow also for unexpected delays caused by inclement weather. Even reliable builders are notorious for 'knocking off' early and often disappear for lengthy periods during the day in search of much-needed materials. The rest of the time they have been known to work very hard - usually when there's a constant supply of strong tea supplied in pint-sized mugs.

Workmen Often 'Knock Off' Early And 'Put A Spanner In The Works'

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The Recommendations Of Others

Before deciding on a particular company to carry out the task in hand, consult friends who've had similar works done - it'll be a lot cheaper and less exasperating to learn from someone else’s mistakes.

Remember that any alterations to the structure of the building should only be done after professional advice has been obtained and be especially wary of all changes to the heating and electrical systems so that only workmen qualified to work in these areas can be included in your project. Unscrupulous, cowboy builders won't be bothered about safety or take any pride in their work and will just want to grab your money and run. Check all credentials to prove workmen actually are who they say they are. They must be defined as 'a competent person' qualified to carry out the task in hand. Ask if you can view a recent project of theirs and if they're proud of their work they'll be quite happy to show you. Gas engineers and electrical installers have to be registered with official bodies by law, to work with electrical and gas installations and appliances.

Be Creative With Colour

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Common Sense Strategies

As with most things, a common sense strategy is one that usually works but if your project is a large one then consider hiring a project manager as this could save you a great deal of money and give you fewer headaches into the bargain.

When all the hard work has been completed, be creative with colour and show your home off at its best. Clever lighting, wall murals and mirrors and will also enhance your chosen colour schemes and introduce a unique personal touch. Paint is your best ally to put the finishing touches on your now vastly improved home.

Real Life Full House Renovation

A balance needs to be maintained between expenditure and quality at every stage in your project.

— Stella Kaye

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© 2015 Stella Kaye

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