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Staying Under Budget on Your Home Renovation Project

Before you get started, make a plan for your budget

When you are considering a new construction project or about to begin a major renovation to an existing home, there are some steps you need to take to ensure that your project comes in under your budget.

There’s three areas you need to focus on when setting your budget: you need to make a plan, stay disciplined and do your research. When it comes to a budget plan, you need to make some decisions before the designs are drawn up. Determining your budget should be based on how much you want to spend and how much you can afford to spend. You should also consider what amount constitutes a solid investment.

Once you’ve established a budget that you’re comfortable with, it’s time to meet with your designer, architect and builder and communicate what you would like to do and what your budget is. The process should move forward jointly, and they can work in concert to present plans and ideas that are in line with your budgetary expectations. It’s important to note, your budget should be a line-item listing of each detail of your project. This way you can stick to your budget as you go along, rather than generally estimating using a bottom-line number.

As you establish the plans and finalize your budget, you’re ready to begin the project. It’s crucial that once you get into the project that you remain disciplined throughout the process. Make sure that you avoid the temptation of selecting materials that are more expensive than what you have allotted. If you save money on a particular item, don’t shift those resources to other items, use that savings to come in under budget.

And a final consideration applies to your research, particularly when you’re checking references for your builder and architect. Be sure to ask previous clients about their projects. Did they come in under budget? If they came in over budget, try to find out why. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances–a sudden spike in the price of materials, for instance. But builders have a track record when it comes to keeping projects under budget, and a little research might reveal if your builder keeps projects on track and on budget.

W. Hugh Nelson is a general contractor and owner of W. Hugh Nelson Builders. He builds in the Green Hills, Brentwood, and Belle Meade areas. For more information about custom home building in Middle Tennessee, call him at (615) 500-3377, email hughnelson@whughnelsonbuilders.com or visit www.whughnelsonbuilders.com.