Renovating on a budget

The Momentum UK Team 6 February 2014

A lick of paint can make the world of difference to your state of mind.

If you want to get your house spick and span, or you bought a property to do it up and then sell on at a profit, then we have a whole host of tips for you that could help you renovate for less:

Get an overview

The most important thing to do before you start a renovation, or purchase a house to renovate it for resale, is to work out how much money you have in the bank and what your budget is.

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Once you’ve worked out how much you have available, you’ll need to work out an estimate for how much the renovations you plan to do will cost. It’s also important to regularly check how much you’ve spent compared to your budget as well as keeping track of where your money is going.


A little research into hints ‘n’ tips about how to redecorate your rooms on a budget yourself can go a long way. Buying online can sometimes get you items at a fraction of the cost, and shopping around may also save you a pretty penny and help ensure you’re getting the best deal. Keep an eye out for sales too!

Do it yourself

In many cases doing things yourself is the cheapest and most effective way of saving money during a renovation but, although saving money is important, making sure it’s done well is vital too, so don’t bite off more than you can chew! Certain jobs, such as plumbing or even plastering might be beyond your expertise, while others such as electrical work, legally require a certified professional.

If you’re on a shoestring budget, provided you make sure you know what you’re doing and it’s safe and legal then you could save yourself a bundle by doing things like tiling or painting yourself. Friends with some on-the-job know how may also be useful if they’re willing to lend a hand.

Keep an eye out for ways you could save on manual labour costs too, for example clearing out the place before the job starts might save you money.

Make sure you’re doing addition not subtraction

Will all the renovations you’re making add to the value of your home? Do your research to make sure you’re not paying money to knock value off your property. It’s also working doing the maths to make sure that you’re not spending substantially more than you’re increasing the value of the house, unless you’re making renovations for your own benefit, and you think it’s worth it.

Get permission

If you own the building leasehold, make sure you have permission to make the changes. Similarly, even if you own your place outright, make sure that you have planning permissions before you get stuck in with the hammer. Whether you’re looking at a loft conversion or an extension, whether or not you’re legally allowed to make the change is a really important considering or you may have to undo all of your work later. Getting a surveyor in to check that the changes are all gravy can also be a good idea.

Dealing with tradesman

If you are hiring builders, plumbers, plasterers, electricians and similar to help you carry out your renovation project, then it’s important that you seek out skilled workers that will follow through on their word and complete the job to a good standard, and in a timely fashion.

Make sure you’re crystal clear when you’re telling them what you want, and be sure to get at least 3 written quotes so that you know you’re being charged the right price. If it’s a builder, then you should ask if they have an NVQ or HND in their field. You should make sure they have the correct, up-to date insurance in case anything goes wrong. If in doubt, then a trade association will let you know the qualifications required for certain professionals, and those dealing with electrics and plumbing often have to be certified.

Get the details down

You should decide on a cost before the job begins, whether it’s a cost for the whole job or a day-rate. Be careful about paying upfront, or giving a deposit, although in larger projects it makes sense to pay in instalments to minimise the risk for both parties.

To feel reassured you’re getting value for your money, it might be worth getting the quote and the bill itemised. Bear in mind that some jobs require a surveyor, architect or quantity surveyer, and there may be building regulations that need to be adhered to. Make sure you set a starting and finishing date for the job, as well as getting it in writing that they pledge to complete it.