Create A Realistic Budget

Foyer design by Carly Nemtean of Carriage Lane Build

Carly Says…

Whenever you start a project, it’s important to start by surveying what your wish lists are, what level of finishing are you interested in having. Pinterest is a good tool for that and seeing what is affordable for you for the present project. Start reading articles and finding information online to get oriented with realistic numbers.

Get quotes from professionals

Ask 2-3 companies to come in for a consultation to give you a sense of whether your realistic or not based on the styles and materials you want.

Living room accents designed by Carly Nemtean of Carriage Lane Build
Design by Carriage Lane Design

The best way to find professionals is through word-of-mouth recommendations or platforms like Casaza where you can look at past projects. Pro Tip: Look out for reviews; if there are only great reviews, be suspicious that they aren’t planted and too good to be true. If there are a few mixed reviews, see how the professional responds online or how they addressed issues with the homeowner. This will tell you everything you need to know about their personalities and working styles.

Don’t forget these costs

Most homeowners don’t consider the final fixtures going into the space, above and beyond the construction price. This includes appliances, lighting, and plumbing fixtures. There is a scaling cost for these items depending on the make, model and manufacturer. Not all faucets are alike!

Another line item most homeowners lose sight over are designer and architectural fees and taxes. Expect that these combined may be an additional amount of 17-22% of your build, and budget that into your overall project.

Kitchen design by Carly Nemtean of Carriage Lane Build
Design by Carriage Lane Design

Set aside a safety net for surprises

If you work with the right contractor, then change orders and surprises can be minimal. This is because a good contractor surveys the potential issues while pricing, does exploratory work in areas where he may be unsure of, and accommodates his costs with the level of finishes you are expecting. Typically a contingency fee of 5-10% of the project should be considered in case of any major surprises, so set aside a little bit of extra money with that in mind.

Prioritize your project

Once you have your price quotes and you’ve budgeted for all costs and surprises, you’ll have an idea of how much you’re looking at… Now comes the prioritization. You now have a sense of what your budget accommodates, so create wants and needs list. Decide what you can’t live without and what you can live with as it currently is. If you want it enough and you’re crafty along the way, you’ll always be able to find creative ways to implement your wish list in the future.

Once this framework is written down and discussed, and you and your partner are on the same page, then it’s time to engage the professional.

Bathroom design by Carly Nemtean of Carriage Lane Build
Design by Carriage Lane Design

Managing stress

Look out if you’re getting stressed for the wrong or right reasons. Getting angry isn’t going to solve anything; it’s about working together with your team to get the project done, so address issues carefully and quickly.

If you’re working with a professional, good news: You have a built-in referee for disputes with loved ones. Your designer can find the common denominator between your wants and needs and work towards that to balance the opinions in the room.

Service professional stressing you out? It’s important to sit down and discuss openly your thoughts and feelings, and NOT over email or text. Sometimes it’s a matter of an open conversation to solve an issue and bring it to the forefront before it starts to fester. These people are not mind readers, and different strokes for different folks.

Final thoughts

Creating a budget for your home design or renovation project takes a lot of research and a little bit of elbow grease, but once you have the home of your dreams, it will all be worth it. Take the time to research, build in all of your expected (and unexpected costs), prioritize appropriately, and keep it cool through the project. Your house will be a home in no time!