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There comes a point in any home renovation or remodel where you are so nearly there.

After days, weeks, or even months of living amidst chaos, you know the end is in sight. You’re putting the finishing touches to whatever you have been renovating, and you can’t wait to go back to living as you normally would. Just think; no more time spent trawling DIY websites or scrubbing paint splatters off of the floor. What are you even going to do with that free time?

And, let’s be honest, it’s a completion that you have needed for a long time. There is a point in any renovation when you’re just done with it. What might have once felt like an exciting endeavor has been irritating you for awhile now. You’re looking forward to your new living space – of course you are – but the main thing you’re looking forward to is not having to be in the process of renovating anymore.

Besides, when the end is in sight, more often than not you will be nearing the bottom of the budget. The money you carefully set aside has been used; you can see it on the room (or rooms) that have been transformed. It’s money well invested, yes, but it’s also running out. The budget is stretched, the contingency is gone, and you’ve had to go without a few luxuries to be able to afford things to be as you wanted. Still, it’ll be worth it when you’re done.

What If The Budget Runs Out Early?

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If you’re looking at that sentence and thinking you will be immune to such concerns… well, not so fast. No matter how well you have budgeted, how good you have been about carefully counting every penny – you might still find yourself running short just when the finishing line is in sight. That’s because renovations are expensive. You probably know that by this stage, though only because you have lived it.

Perhaps we are all just eternal optimists, but the truth is, you don’t really know how much a renovation is going to cost until you’re in the thick of it. You can make good estimates and you can price items as much as you want, but the actual cost will usually be over what you had in mind to spend.

How Can You Avoid This?

The best way of avoiding the problem of running short just as you are about to finish is to ensure you build a contingency fund into your budget. A good figure to aim for is around 5% of your overall budget.

If all goes to plan, this is an amount of money that you won’t even use. It will just sit in a savings account, ready to be called into action if required, but ideally it won’t be. If you are truly a budgeting wonder, then you won’t need to touch the contingency. Even if you’re not and you have to make use of it, you’ll be glad it was there. So you win both ways.

If you don’t budget for a contingency fund, however, that’s when things can begin to get out of control. You’re so close to finishing now, but the well has run dry and there’s nothing you can do about it. Now you know that, for any future projects, you shouldn’t so much as lift a hammer before you have got a contingency fund in place – but there’s no point dwelling on the “shoulda woulda couldas”.

How Do You Handle This Problem?

When you are through the most disruptive phases of a renovation, the idea of not being able to finish on schedule sounds like a nightmare.

It is, however a possibility. If you are missing finishing touches, then that suggests that the bulk of the work is done. The kind of things that are usually left to last are things like painting, furniture, or decor.

You might think that you just want the whole process done with and be tempted to look for a cash injection to complete the process. That might be viable; some loans may be easy to get and can ensure that you finish the project and wrap it up once and for all. If this is something you’re comfortable with pursuing, then do your research and see what you can manage.

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If not, however, then your options are more limited. Perhaps the best solution is to just press pause on the renovation. There are a few conditions to where this might be problematic, however. You need to ensure that your house is in a livable, usable condition; trying to pause when you don’t have a working kitchen or bathroom (for example) is just not feasible.

Can You Reduce Costs?

There are changes you can make at the end of a renovation that can reduce your spend, thus allowing you to finish akin to your original timetable. Options include looking for basic brand paint, especially if you are just using a neutral tone, rather than anything by a high-end manufacturer. You can always go over it again when you have got the funds to do so.

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It’s worth applying this same level of critical thinking around the rest of the remodel. If you can’t do what you originally planned as you have run short on cash, then what can you do instead? You might be able to bargain hunt and make some affordable switches, so you don’t have to delay the point at which you can declare the whole thing finished.

Or Can You Wait?

If there is no pressing need for everything to be done and dusted in a hurry, then the best option might be to wait. You can down tools for awhile, let your funds replenish, and then go back to the work when you’re ready. This doesn’t have the satisfaction of being able to wash your hands of the whole reno and go back to normal life, but it’s probably the most affordable choice of all.

Aggie Aviso