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How to budget for a reno

This week, Scott and Shelley have given all the contestants a kicking for spending too much on their bathrooms. But how exactly DO you budget for your renovation? According to Scott Cam, it’s all about pre-planning - and knowing your limitations.

“Look, I say this a lot to people - you have to know your limitations; what you are capable of doing, and what you are not,” he explains. “Don’t try and undertake something you can’t finish.”

This means planning ahead, and making sure you’ve set aside enough money for all the tasks you’ve decided to outsource. 

“You need to avoid variations as best you can,” Scott says. “That means don’t change your mind once you lock something in. Every time you do a variation [to your initial plan] it costs you five to ten grand. You do five variations and it’s $50k out of your budget - and then you blow out.”

Scott says avoid variations otherwise you'll blow out.

You need to avoid variations as best you can. That means don’t change your mind once you lock something in. Every time you do a variation [to your initial plan] it costs you five to ten grand. You do five variations and it’s $50k out of your budget - and then you blow out.

Shelley, who has completed three full renovations and tinkered with 20 different houses in the past 23 years, agrees with Scott. But she says one way she’s able to stay on track is to budget carefully but also add a little extra to cover any little slip-ups or unexpected mind changes. 

“Add ten per cent on top of your budget,” she says. “Better yet, if you can budget for 15 per cent over the top, that’s great. And if you don’t use it, then you walk away with fifteen per cent extra, which you can always use to decorate the way you want to.”

One thing Scott and Shelley both agree on is the need to take the time to plan before you embark on any renovation project. They both say it’s vital you approach any work sensibly, and calmly.

Add ten per cent on top of your budget. Better yet, if you can budget for 15 per cent over the top, that’s great. And if you don’t use it, then you walk away with fifteen per cent extra, which you can always use to decorate the way you want to.

Shelley Craft says to allow for 10% over your budget.

“There are many people that rip and tear and get stuck in,” Scott says. “But you have got to have a plan. And have something to work towards. 

“You need to make sure you plan the whole job out, from start to finish. Because you need to mix that in with your budget. There are so many people who have unfinished renovations at their house because of this - Jason and Sarah are one of them.”

If you don’t have all your renovation money straight away, go slowly, and focus on what is going to make the biggest difference to you in the short term.

“I always live in a house for a while to see what I really want to change,” Shelley explains. “Then I work through from what I think is most important - and probably most expensive - which is usually the kitchen or the bathroom. That way you can see what you have left over for the rest of your house.”

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