Budget creep is the insidious evil that can upset your home addition construction project and leave your bank account drier than sawdust. Budget creep is also called scope creep. It sneaks up on you little by little as you slowly find yourself adding on little extras here and there. These additional expenses usually aren’t much individually, but together they can become budget busters.
You might have unplanned upgrades from carpet to laminated wood or add in a backsplash to the bathroom, or increase the closet space in the bedroom. When you look at each individual expense separately, you shrug your shoulders knowing that you can afford the extra costs to increase these individual parts of the project. Unfortunately, when you sit down and consider the full picture concerning the cost of upgraded materials, changes to the structural aspects and added features, you find that these expenses have pushed you past your initial home addition project budget.
Preventing Budget Creep
If you stay on top of the project you can prevent budget creep. Make sure you don’t spend more than you budgeted for the project every step of the way. Here are a few simple tips to stay on budget.
Stick To The Construction Plan
Most often you experience budget creep when you leave certain aspects of the project undefined, such as what material to use for cabinets or flooring. You have to sit down and create a concrete plan regarding the project. When you start changing things during the construction phase, it will usually end up costing more than you planned. Working with an architect before the construction phase will allow you to truly envision what the addition will look like with the materials you select. The architect can also give design tips that add both beauty and functionality to the space that you never considered.
Rein In Contractor’s Decisions
The contractor calls you up to say that he has a supplier who will give you great deals on more expensive materials, or the contractor might make suggestions on changing the layout of the room for more flow or to add additional lighting. While his suggestions might sound fantastic at the time, in the end it isn’t his money that is being spent to build this home addition. If you have contractors changing the plans, whether they ask permission or not, you have to put your foot down and tell them no. Don’t fall for these sales pitches when you know you really can’t afford the changes.
Do Most Of Your Shopping During The Planning Phase
Impulse buying is a major downfall of any home addition project. You go to the store to look at flooring and end up walking out with custom cabinets and upgraded windows. Something in the store just catches your eye and you just can’t walk out without getting it. Also, many people continue to shop during the construction phase and make changes that can seriously impact the current construction work and your bottom line.
Curtail your spending habits by deciding on all the materials you want to use during the design phase. When shopping, have a trusted friend remind you about the budget as they can help you steer clear of these temptations. If you do decide to change something, ask the architect if it is possible. They can tell you what additional costs will be incurred as you will have a clearer perspective on how much you will go over your budget with these changes.
Always Be On The Lookout For Budget Creep
Most often, you will create a budget and then tack on an additional 20% for emergencies that may arise. Yet be aware that you don’t have to spend that extra 20% if you find out that the project will actually come in lower than your estimated budget. Save this money for a rainy day and be satisfied with the look of your home addition.