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How to manage extra costs & building delays in a cost of living crisis

It's never easy to manage extra costs and building delays, but even more so through a cost of living crisis. Here's how to best manage those risks.

6 min read

It’s no secret that the cost of living has risen dramatically and, as a result, many of us are feeling the crunch. As we’re rethinking how we spend our money, we’ve seen more people coming to us to help them improve their homes, rather than moving. But it’s also no secret that home renovations are pricey and they come with risks, from extra costs to building delays. Here we explore how we can best manage extra costs and building delays even when times are tougher than usual.

Reducing risks of extra costs and building delays

In a survey conducted by Toolstation, 31% of 1000 homeowners questioned said that their biggest regret was “underestimating the likelihood of problems arising that require more time and more money”. With this in mind, we believe that the best way to manage the costs and timeline of your construction is to thoroughly research and prepare well before you begin. Some of the best starting points for renovation works are:

Doing your research and saving more than you think you’ll need

Don’t run before you can walk. It’s really important that, when it comes to work on your home, that you know what you’re looking for and – just as importantly – who you want to do the work. With all that being said, embrace the fact that some things simply just crop up and it’s not something anyone can control.

So, before you’re ready to take the plunge, make sure you consider everything from whether you’ll be able to live and work at home through your renovation to holding off starting and saving more than you think you’ll need. Tools like The Budget Planner from Money Saving Expert can really illuminate where costs can be cut and redirected to fulfilling your renovation dreams.

Reducing risks of extra costs and building delays by doing research

Finding the right person or people for your home renovation

Making big changes to your home is hugely personal so it's vital that you find the right team to complete your project. It's really important that you ask the right questions and make the right checks from the beginning. But it can be difficult to know where to begin, especially if it’s your first renovation rodeo.

We recommend hiring an architect at the beginning of your journey to advise on budget management and beyond. Our architects make sure you’re clear about our fees and any likely costs for external contractors (such as surveyors and structural engineers etc.) We’ll advise you on how much you’ll need for each stage of a project and when you’ll need to pay. Not only that, but our Resi Finance team will help you explore your funding options to find the right way to pay for your home improvement project.

Arrange a free architectural advice call and find out how we can help get your plans off the ground.

Getting the right insurance to make sure you have a safety net

While plenty of projects go off without a hitch and the results are more often than not a beautiful new loft conversion, it’s sadly the horror stories that stick out. You’ll need home renovation insurance for any work that impacts the structure of your building because of the significant risks involved with building works. Speak to your existing provider to see if any additional renovation cover is available before proceeding as, generally speaking, standard home insurance won’t make the cut.

Each plan varies but, importantly, home renovation insurance can cover you for 30+ days if certain delays mean your property is uninhabitable (this is known as Unoccupied Property Insurance). Learn more from our friends over at Renovation Plan and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any queries for our in-house finance team.

Getting an insurance to reduce the risk of extra costs

Extra costs and delays during your renovation

While it may not be music to your ears, we must stress that a certain degree of flexibility towards costs and timelines for your renovation project should be adopted to avoid disappointment. Keeping the end goal in mind will serve you through the most difficult of days. We break down some of our top tips for managing it all:

Keeping track and celebrating the wins

Work out a method that makes you feel most organised to keep up to date with your home renovation progress. If you have enough funds to begin with, you might find that having a project manager to update you is both time-saving and cost-cutting in the long run – learn more about the role of project managers and whether sourcing one would be suitable for you in this article from Houzz.

Alternatively, use the Resi dashboard so you can manage your budget in real time along with your project with features including a payment tracker, sharing options and an instant messaging tool so you can communicate with ease. Get in touch with one of our expert consultants for a free advice call to learn more about this helpful tool. Above all, celebrate when everything does get sorted on time, when your contractor gets the work just right and the nights you can sleep soundly because your budget is under control.

Keeping track of your renovation project with Resi dashboard

Looking after yourself and keeping your eyes on the prize

Home renovations – with their slippery timelines and fluctuating costs – can be incredibly stress-inducing. We’ve overseen over 6000 renovations so we really do get it. The mental health charity Mind has fantastic resources for recognising, understanding and combating stress. Although it may seem impossible, carve out time for activities that can reduce your stress levels, like using the sleep and meditation, CALM, or going for a long walk. And remember what it’s all for – whether that’s embracing your dream space, adding value to your property or getting an extra room set up in time for the pitter patter of tiny footsteps.

Managing home renovation stress

Alternative options to home renovation

Now, this might seem like left-field advice coming from a home-improvement platform but transparency is our thing and, if delaying your home renovation means avoiding debt then it’s probably worth hanging in there. But it’s not all doom and gloom, there are fantastic, lower-cost options that can help brighten your day and keep your positivity for future renovation plans alive. Here are just a couple of our go-to ways for falling back in love with your home without breaking the bank:

Invest in greenery

Clear some shelves and invest in a few really beautiful plants that are compatible with your home – Good Housekeeping has a great guide to the best indoor plants to thrive indoors. And, with more of us than ever prioritising air quality in our homes and seeking out tranquility, you’re spoilt for choice with plant delivery options if you’re stretched for time and don’t have a garden centre on your doorstep. We love The Stem, Patch Plants and Bloom & Wild.

Investing in greenery

Express yourself

If you’ve worked out it might be a while until you can renovate on the kind of scale you’d like, start scouring apps like Etsy and FY!  for unique home accessories that feel like an extension of you. You can find fantastic deals on items that you love that make your house feel more like home while you’re saving.

Ready to explore your home renovation options? Try out our Quick Quote Calculator to see what could be on the horizon for you.

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