10 Ways to Save At Least $20,000 on Your Home Renovation

How To Save On Your Home Renovation

You’ve been saving for years, and now it’s time to put your foot on the gas. You’re finally getting around to the renovations that will turn your home into your dream house. It’s certainly great timing with prices in Canada at their lowest since 2009. However, you’ve heard stories of people spending much more than anticipated when they started digging through their basement. How can you make sure your renovation isn’t one of them?

If you follow these 10 steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful game plan for how much money you want or need to spend, what upgrades you really want (and don’t), and who gets the final say over hard-earned dollars:

1) Start Planning 6 Months in Advance

“I’ve always thought I’m the kind of person who starts planning these things right away, but that’s not how it turned out for me this time around. My wife and I started to think about renovations last year but didn’t get proper documentation until October. By then it was too late.”


If you plan a bit further in advance, you can save a ton on your renovation costs by shopping around at every retailer in town for items like cabinets, flooring, and countertops. For instance, if you’re replacing all your kitchen appliances with stainless steel models from Sears Canada, they might give you a gift card worth $1,000 or more when you buy certain appliances and apply for their credit card (if you’re a good candidate).

2) Get Your Home Inspected By A Professional

“My gut was telling me I needed to hire an inspector, but my realtor recommended against it. He thought the home inspection would be too much of a deterrent for potential buyers, and might even cost me some money if any problems were found.”


Never take your home inspector’s report as gospel. While they may have years of experience, you still need to have someone look over it with fresh eyes. That is until YOU decide that you don’t really want that house after all because there are just too many problems.

3) Negotiate With The Seller Too!

“The seller was trying to get another $10,000 out of us. I’m normally not a pushover during negotiations, yet somehow their offer seemed so good at the time that we couldn’t say no . That is, until we found out they ended up spending over $100,000 on renovations once we bought it.”


If you’re buying a home from a private individual or family, do yourself a favor and tell them how much money you have budgeted for this purchase. Then ask them what they spent on renovations and let them know if there is any wiggle room with your current financial situation as well as theirs. In fact, if you want to be really nice it, give the owners one of your business cards and offer to pay for an inspection so they can see the actual condition of the home you’re looking at.

4) Negotiate With Your Contractor as Well!

“I thought we had a strong relationship with our contractor, but eventually he told us that we weren’t good clients because we always want to keep him on budget. If we hadn’t, we could have saved $20,000 just by asking him why he was adding extra fees and work into our project.”


Contractors or renovation companies who care about their reputation will know exactly what they should be charging you for every hour they work on your job. That’s why it’s important to not only negotiate with them from day one but also stress the fact that you won’t pay a penny more than what is agreed upon in your quote.

5) Write Up a Detailed Contract & Get Legal Advice

“We thought we were being smart by not writing up a formal contract with our contractor, but it turns out he took off with some of our renovations money and was never heard from again. I don’t know if we could have done anything about it had there been a contract, but at least we would have known exactly where we stood on paper.”


If this isn’t obvious enough already, having an itemized list of all modifications to your home will help avoid any disagreements on price or value on fixed items as flooring, paint colors, etc. You can use our free downloadable home renovation contract template to keep track of everything or hire an attorney who specializes in construction law for a couple of hours so you know your interests are protected.

6) Go Big or Go Home

“My husband and I made the mistake of budgeting only $15,000 for our home renovations. We couldn’t afford to do things like refinishing our hardwood floors or updating all three bathrooms at once, but we also wanted the big appliances and fixtures. It ended up costing us another $20,000 in the end.”


Don’t short yourself when it comes time to decide what you can actually afford. If your dream renovation involves an open floor plan kitchen with new appliances, tiled bathrooms with expensive porcelain sinks, and fancy light fixtures throughout, it’s probably not going to be cheap! So either adjust your original budget now before construction starts, wait until your wallet is a little healthier, or put the project on hold until you’re ready for it.

7) Hire A Contractor YOU Can Trust!

“I hate to say it but our renovation was an unmitigated disaster because we decided to go with a contractor whose name I can’t even mention. It felt like he took one job after another so he could get paid instead of actually doing the work right, and in the end, we had to spend $50,000 more than what we’d originally planned!”


Don’t be afraid to ask friends & family for recommendations when looking for a reliable, experienced home renovation company or individual who will come in under your budget while still delivering high-quality results! And make sure they have insurance too. Also, don’t be afraid to say no if they’re asking for money upfront or you think their prices are too high. That’s when it’s time to move on and find someone else who will respect your needs and wants!

8) Take Your Time and Find The Best Deals

“We were so excited when we finally bought our home because we could easily see all the renovations we wanted to do. At first, we got quotes from a couple of contractors but then decided to wait until another project came along that seemed like a better opportunity. In the end, we only started renovating after over 4 months in our new home.”


Renovations can add significant value to your home later on down the road, but you need to make sure it’s something you want and can afford. That means taking your time before deciding what exactly you’ll be doing, how much money is involved, and where that money will be coming from. Buying new appliances or repainting the entire home might not be worth it if it ends up costing $10,000 for just one project. So take care of small things first like upgrading light fixtures, painting a couple of rooms or adding tile here & there until you’ve saved enough to do an entire renovation!

9) Get Advice From A Professional

“Even though we’d seen some really impressive home renovations on HGTV, our actual renovation was so much more complicated than expected because of how old our house is. It took us 8 months to finally get all the work done, but by then my wife was expecting and we needed to move into a bigger place with better amenities. Our baby daughter has never even seen her bedroom!”


That’s why you should always try to find an impartial third party who can sit down with you & your spouse (if applicable) and discuss your renovation plans before moving forward. For example, maybe hiring the cheapest contractor possible ends up costing you more in the end or they don’t actually do very good work! So get a second opinion before signing any paperwork or handing over money for materials during the renovation process. It will save you time & money in the long run!

10) Remodel Your Home To Suit Your Lifestyle

“On paper, our renovation seemed amazing. We were told it would add 1,000 square feet to our home, include an open floor plan kitchen with expensive appliances, new bathrooms, and even a guest apartment that could be rented out while we were away. It ended up costing us over $150,000 which was way more than we could afford.”


You should always try to think about what your family needs are when considering whether or not to renovate your current home or buy something brand new. If the number one priority is having a huge backyard where kids can play & you can host parties for all your friends & family, then maybe buying an older home with less space is the smart decision. But if the best use of your time and money is to upgrade or replace outdated appliances, paint, or even add hardwood floors instead, then doing so might actually save you money in the long run too!


There are so many factors to consider when it comes to home renovation projects. From finding reliable contractors you can trust, making sure the work is included in your mortgage, scheduling around your family’s needs, and finally following through with all the plans once renovations start! It’s not an easy choice but if you’re willing to put in the time & effort, then renovating can be a great way to add significant value to your home even before selling it down the road.


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