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A simple guide to calculating your home improvement budget

By September 12, 2019Budgeting, Featured, Home
house extension prices

We carried out a survey earlier this month of people planning a home improvement project this year. 71% of people stated the budget as their biggest concern. This isn’t entirely surprising. Construction costs have risen at a dramatic rate in the last 18 months and are continuing to do so.

There are a number of reasons for this – labour and material costs being the most significant. But it means anyone planning any kind of renovation or construction work to their home is in a vulnerable position when it comes to fixing a budget for their project. To try to demystify the home improvement budget a little we’ve put together the following guide for you to follow. We’ve taken an imaginary home improvement budget of €100,000 and broken it into percentages so you can clearly see what spend is involved and how much you need to allocate to each area.

Also if you’d like to chat with us about your budget why not come along to the Self Build Show in City West this weekend where the team will be on hand to chat about your home renovation or extension projects. You can claim your free tickets HERE.

Consider replacing solid doors with glazed versions, especially in rooms that connect to one another. Sliding glass doors are an excellent choice as they maintain an open, airy atmosphere while allowing light to pass through, even when closed. However, be sure to adhere to fire-rated glass requirements in apartments and consult with the management company before making any alterations.

45% Construction Costs

You might think a home improvement budget of €100,000 you’d have a lot to spend on the building work itself, but actually, only €45,000 will go towards the core construction costs.

This is the money you will pay the builder and it will include all building materials, electrical and plumbing works, internal doors, skirtings and architraves and the fitting of all finishes and sanitary ware.

This money will not include the cost of things like windows, kitchens, bathroom fittings or supply of finishes but does include builder’s costs to fit these items. It also includes VAT at 13.5 %

Home improvement budget

30% Fittings and finishes

This part of the budget is for anything you need to supply yourself and includes items like your kitchen, floor finishes, tiles and sanitaryware as well as any built-in joinery and smaller items like door handles and feature light fittings.

Costs can vary widely for these items as a floor tile can cost anything from €10  to €100 per meter and much more depending on what you choose. For a good level of finish however, you should allow about €30,000 to cover the total cost based on the example budget.

When shopping for these items I’d recommend you get quotes from a number of different suppliers. The important thing here is to make sure each company is working from the same brief. Even the most subtle of differences can have a huge impact on the total cost. If everyone is quoting for the same kitchen you can compare the quotes exactly, which will ensure you get the best deal. 

19% Professional Fees

Fees are another cost you will need to factor in to your home improvement budget. If you are planning on working with an architect speak to them about how their fee structure works. Is it percentage-based or a fixed fee. A percentage-based fee will mean that, if the budget were to increase the fee would also increase so this is important to factor into your cost plan.

Aside from the architect’s fees, you might also need to include fees for other consultants such as structural engineers, Quantity Surveyors, landscaping or lighting consultants. Based on this example budget you should allocate approx €19,000 to cover these fees.

1.5% Costs for planning and utility connections

If you need planning permission for the work you are proposing you will need to pay contributions to the council. These will vary depending on the works you are planning. You may also need to relocate your gas and electric meters, there will be costs to your service providers for doing this work. You should budget approx 1.5 % of your total budget €1500 to cover these costs.

4.5% Contingency

Once you have a firm idea of what your home improvement budget is you will need to set aside at least 10% of the construction costs as a contingency for any unexpected extras. Building projects can often run up against problems that are impossible to predict from the outset so having a sum of money set aside to deal with these situations will give you great peace of mind. Based on this example your contingency allowance should be €4,500.

Other costs not factored into the above budget

If you need to move out while the works are going on you might need to rent. This can add significantly to your outgoing while the works are taking place so be sure to factor this in. Or will you need to pay for storage costs? Factor in furniture and accessories and any delivery costs plus removals to and from your home.

It’s really important you decide on what you are comfortable on spending and then use this as your total home improvement budget. You might have a clear idea of what that figure is or you might want to get some help to figure out what your wish list is going to cost and then pair back accordingly. Either way, it’s important you settle on a total amount and from there work out what that amount will need to cover.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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