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Is Your Renovation Budget Realistic?

Homeowners tend to make two major mistakes, one being that they have

unrealistic expectations of how far they can go with their budget and they have no idea of today’s building costs. You’re most likely dreaming of transforming your home, but making sure you can afford the build before you begin investing in things like consents and drawings is crucial, even the planning stage of a renovation involves some costs.

Make a Plan

To be able to determine a budget it's important to have at least a loose plan that includes the things that you're trying to achieve. It's not easy to establish a budget, without a plan it becomes almost impossible to do so.

Writing out a plan of the renovation work you are thinking of is a great idea. For an older home, things like wiring and roofing structures will most definitely need to be looked at and should be included in the costs. If you're planning to add an extension then earth works will add a significant portion to the costs. While you’re imagining that shiny new bathroom or the luxury of extra space, it’s important to do some careful planning before you jump into the deep end of renovations. Even though the plan will most likely change once you take it to a renovation expert, it can provide you with a valuable starting point.

Include Contingency

Always expect the unexpected in any kind of renovation, especially if it's an older home. A realistic budget should always include a contingency fund. With a fixed-price building contract, we recommend that you add at least 10% to your budget so you have funds available for the unforeseen if needed. However, under a cost-reimbursement contract, you should be looking at around the 25% mark, as under this contract the builders won't necessarily spend the time to determine all costs as carefully.

Thinking Beyond

The costs of a renovation aren’t just the build. The design, building and consent costs need to be considered but also don't forget to include costs from specialists such as engineers, surveyors and Geotech experts to determine details specific to your project. These costs can quickly add up and become a significant part of the needed budget.


The best way to keep control over your budget is to work alongside a builder through the planning and design stages. It's through careful planning that you can achieve the renovations that you want within your budget. Focus on the must-haves and save the wants for later.

Above all, choose the right builder. One with specific renovation experience who can offer you not just a realistic estimate, but also a high-end service for your renovation project. At last, don't forget the council consents and once you have established the budget we recommend adding 10-25% of the total as contingency costs.


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