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Avoiding Unexpected Renovation Costs

By George Hadgelias

You’ve saved and saved for that much-needed bathroom reno, and every last little expense has been budgeted for… or so you thought.

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a renovation only to discover a series of unforeseen costs. This will have you scrambling to find those extra funds or, worse, putting the project on hold entirely.

According to carpenter and builder Dean Ipaviz, there are some common costs you may not have thought of.

The items you can’t see

“Unexpected costs tend to be focused around items that are not seen,” says Dean.

“People are obviously using Pinterest and all these different mood boards now to get an understanding of what they want their renovation to look like, but they don’t have an understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes.

“Do you need waterproofing? Do you need to have some structural walls there that are holding up the roof? People not having an understanding of how the structure goes together means they tend to omit critical structural items.”

Thankfully, there is a way to help you account for renovation costs – seen and unseen.

Hire an expert

“I think the best way, no matter how big or small [your renovation is], is trying to get your hands on a qualified carpenter or builder, and get an understanding of what’s actually going on and what the requirements of the project are going to be,” Dean says.

“Knowledge is power, so having an understanding of what’s actually going to be happening is going to probably save you money in the long-term.

“Engaging or paying someone $100 in the short-term – to get them to come out and have a look – is probably going to save you thousands of dollars.”

In addition to saving you money, Dean says an expert will help ensure your renovation is a success.

“If you’ve got a broader understanding of how the whole structure’s going to go together, and what’s required behind the scenes, [you’re more likely] to get that finished aesthetic looking where you want it to be,” he says.

One cost you can’t afford to miss

Dean says it’s always worth engaging a professional – regardless of how confident or experienced you are.

“Even if you are looking to do it yourself, be upfront and honest with them and say, ‘Well look, I want to do it myself. I’m just trying to get some information from you.’

“Say, ‘I’d be willing to get you out here for an hour, to go through what we need to do, and pay you for that hour of your time.’

Dean believes people need to be more willing to engage, and pay for, the advice of an expert – especially when it comes to drawing up a renovation budget.

“There’s going to be a shift back towards that in the next few years,” he says.

“DIY is obviously more and more accessible and more and more popular, so be willing to engage professionals and pay them for their time to get an understanding of how you can save money on your project.

“You pay your accountant to manage your finances. You pay your mechanic to fix your car. Why wouldn’t you pay a builder to get an understanding of how you’re going to fix your house?”

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