November 27, 2008, 6:00 am

What I Have Learned About Home Renovation Part 1

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Properties
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As you probably know already, we decided to open a daycare at home so my wife can stay with our kids and still make money. This is why we have to do some major renovation in the basement so it looks like a daycare instead of a bunker for kids 😉 We actually started the “daycare project” this Monday. I decided to write a series of post about home renovation as I learn stuff. So you will be able to follow my adventure without paying the high price of being stuck in the dust for a month 😉

How To Save Money On Home Renovation?

Home improving is all about how much you want to put in your house. There is virtually no limit of what you can do in term of renovation. However, your wallet (or your wife 😉 ) will certainly tell you something different! This is why it is important to negotiate every single penny. Here are a few tricks to get the cheapest price on renovation materials:

Plan your renovation in advance

We have been thinking about this project for a few months before we started. Even before talking about a daycare at home, I was looking at pictures of bathroom and home theatre that I liked. When it was time to actually purchase our materials, we knew what we wanted and we were able to only shop for the best price. For example, we bought our toilet a month before we started the renovation. We got it at 50% off!

Once you know what you want, it is time to look for flyers. For the past 2 months, we have been so excited to receive our pamphlets at home, it was like Christmas in July! You get to know what is the price of a package of 50 3’ ½” screws or 100’ of electric cable (you know, the day to day stuff 😉 ).


You think that negotiation is not possible anymore since we have to deal with supermarket such as Home Depot? Well it is actually one of the best places to negotiate. The thing is that you have to do it differently. We needed 2X4” of 8 feet long. However, the only ones remaining were the 10 feet long and they were a buck more than the smaller one. We went to see the guy and order another bucket of the right size. He didn’t have them so we stared at him and started complaining about the fact that it is completely ridiculous and we didn’t want to go around and shop in another store…. 2 minutes later we had a note authorizing the price of the 8 feet for the 10 feet. Trust me, employees will find a way so you can get lost as fast as possible 😉

Another trick is to deal with smaller places where you can talk directly from the owner. I spend 2 hours in a ceramic shop talking about tiles, flooring and how I will do my home renovation. At the end, I was able to save 14% off on the flooring (which I validated with a bigger store) and 10% on the ceramic. The funniest thing is that I didn’t have to negotiate with the guy. After the 2 hours, we got along and he just dropped his price. Since he manages his own business, he knows when its time to drop his price and for how much.

Avoid the “since we are at it”

This is probably the biggest money eater: “since we are doing a new bathroom, maybe we could put a marble counter”. It would be nicer ;-). Temptation is everywhere when it comes done to renovation. Stores will offer catalogues, renovation software and built demos. You need to make a budget before you go in the store and then, stick to it! My dad told me this golden rule:

“When you want to buy something worth more than a thousand dollars, you better talk to your wife first”.

I followed his advice and we are now ready to start our renovation as a happy couple 😉

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I think your last point is the key- avoid the temptation to go bigger! I once started what I had planned as a weekend painting project and ended up tearing out a wall and adding a closet. My initial budget of $50 increased to about $500, and rather than tkaing a weekend it took a month. Oops! 🙂

Good luck with the daycare renovation! Are you doing the work yourself, or hiring a contractor?

I hired a “jack-of-all-trades” that did several jobs at my parents house. The only problem is that he will be staying 2 more weeks than expected!

All I can say for now is that my bathroom is going to be marvelous 🙂

I,ll post some pictures once completed !

[…] Financial Blogger gives us tips to save on home renovations in What I Have Learned About Home Renovation Part 1 posted at The Financial Blogger. I definitely agree that it’s hard to stay away from the […]