Last year we moved into our dream home – which needed a lot of TLC. Our home renovation took 11 months in total; 4 months for the big projects a contractor helped us with (before we could move in) and an additional 7 months for projects we took on ourselves. Now we have a beautiful home that reflects our family in a neighbourhood we love.

It can be hard to stay within your budget when it comes to home renovation projects because the costs of materials and labour are constantly on the rise. But, with just a little bit of research and preparation, you too can stay within your home renovation budget – just like us!

Our home renovation project

Our home renovation included projects that we needed to complete before moving in and some that could be done while we lived in the house. Our renovations included:

  • Retiling the main house as it had cheap laminated yellow floors – and finding an uneven concrete floor that first needed to be fixed
  • Repainting both the inside and outside of the house, including the roof and ceilings
  • Replacing old-fashioned light fixtures
  • ●       Some electrical rewiring and discovering that there was underfloor heating in the main bedroom (and trying to figure out where it switches off)
  • Waterproofing the roof
  • Reinforcing the floor of my upstairs office and installing beautiful laminates and wallpaper
  • Upgrading the alarm system
  • Fixing the electric fence
  • Replacing the gate motor and tracks as well as adding additional parts to keep my cats away from the road
  • Pouring a floor in one of the cottage’s kitchens and installing a new kitchen unit as we found rot caused by an incomplete building project that left exposed dirt under the kitchen unit
  • Installing a filter in the Jojo tank and adding a pump after removing the tree that was growing inside
  • Replacing all locks on doors and security gates
  • Having trees felled that were either too tall, dead or too messy
  • Planting grass, fruit trees and landscaping

Set your home renovation budget

When planning a home renovation, it is important to set a budget and stick to it. There are many ways to save money on a renovation, but it is important to be realistic about what you can afford.

One way to save money is to do some of the work yourself. This can be a great way to get exactly what you want, but it is important to know your limitations (even after watching hours of online tutorials) and when to hire a contractor.

Another way to save money is to shop around for the best deals on materials and labour. Get multiple quotes for any work that will be done and compare prices before making a final decision.

Identify your home renovation projects (and urgency of each)

  1. What do you hope to achieve with your home renovation? Is it simply to update the look of your home, or do you have more specific goals in mind, such as increasing its resale value? Be clear about what you want to accomplish so that you can make informed decisions throughout the renovation process.
  1. Develop a budget for your project. Keep in mind that unexpected costs always pop up, so it’s important to leave yourself some wiggle room in your budget.
  1. Not all home renovation projects are equally important. Some may be more urgent than others, so it’s important to prioritise accordingly. For example, if your roof is leaking, that would take precedence over adding a new coat of paint to your living room walls.
  1. Once you’ve prioritised your projects, it’s time to start getting quotes from contractors. Make sure to get multiple quotes and compare them before making a final decision.
  1. Once you’ve selected a contractor and finalised your budget, it’s time to start making a plan for your renovation project. This will help ensure that everything stays on track and that you stay within budget.

PS. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with contractors to get the best possible price.

Get quotes and references from contractors

Get quotes and references from each contractor. This will help you ensure that you’re getting a fair price for the work being done, and also give you a chance to check out the contractor’s previous work.

If possible, try to get quotes from at least three different contractors. This will give you a good idea of the going rate for the work you need done, and also help you find the best value for your money.

When requesting quotes, be sure to be as specific as possible about the work you need done. The more information you can provide, the more accurate the quote will be.

Project manage your home renovation project

Things can quickly get out of hand if you’re not monitoring costs, timelines and deliverables.

Renovations can take longer than you think, so it’s important to create a timeline that allows for delays. Build in some flexibility so that you’re not caught off guard if things take longer than expected.

Keep track of every detail during the renovation process so that you can stay on top of progress and budget


There’s no doubt that renovating your home can be a costly undertaking. But by following these tips, you can stay within your budget and get the renovated home you’ve been dreaming of.

About Kandua is South Africa’s #1 online marketplace for home services. They feature over 30 000 verified pros with 100+ skills who are willing to help with any job – from emergency repairs to large-scale renovations. Kandua was started with the mission to shorten the distance between having a skill and making a living from it, helping small businesses and independent professionals make more connections with people who need their expertise on projects. Every Kandua pro has verified reviews from previous customers, showing that they’re worthy of your trust in them. Simply answer a few questions on their website about your project and up to 5 pros will be in touch with a quote within minutes.



Susann is a travel, parenting, beauty and lifestyle blogger in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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