I read a few comments on HGTV’s Style Sheet about the fact that Peter Fallico often busted his budget in Home to Flip. It felt strange that Peter was the target since does Sarah Richardson, that I love watching on TV, is the queen of going over budget.
As an interior designer raised with parents who enjoy building houses, I will try to explain that it is not due to a lack of professionalism. Many factors come to play and can affect how much money you spend.
Unforeseen Structural Problems
Until you open the floors and the walls, you can never be sure how much it will cost if you are renovating an older house. A typical house inspection when you are buying a house cannot find all the problems.
Unrealistic Budget for what you want
Let’s face it, most of us do not know how pricey building your ideal house can be. Construction prices have increased a lot over the last decade. And quality craftsmanship costs money. Plus there is a shortage of manpower in most urban cities.
A friend who constructed a mansion house was proud to be on budget while he was building it. We told him before that he underestimated the total cost. The construction was still at the frame stage. I smiled since you never bust your budget on the rough of a new construction. The challenges come with the finishes and the interior design.
So if you wish for the $1 million look at a quarter of the price, you need to be really careful on where you splurge. My philosophy is to splurge on things that require lots of time and money to replace and to wait later to upgrade the things that are easy to replace, like the bathroom fixtures.
Being Carried Away
When you go tile shopping, it is easy to say it is just $2 dollar more a square feet. Or why not add a pattern or a border. You need to take into account that the expense does not stop there. When you mix two ceramics, it adds complexity to the installation. I once added three square border shape on my bathroom floor; it seems simple. It took the guy almost a day to align things perfectly with the change of dimensions.
Plus they are plenty of occasions to add a few hundreds of dollars in a big renovation job; so extras add up fast.
Lack of Planning
From what I heard from architects and based on my experience, the best way to not bust your budget is to carefully plan everything in advance. This way, you eliminate costly building mistakes (ex: changing twice the position of a wall) and you reduce the chance to be carried away.
Better planning makes sure that you get what you really want and that the ensemble is cohesive. My best advice is to examine and evaluate many times the entire plan and all the finishes before you start building. You may need to do some demolition to grasp the full potential first. But it is a small price to pay to get the house of your dreams on budget.
+ Photo credits: Home to Flip on Style Sheet