Renovating an investment condo – my budget!

I had a $ 25,000 budget in mind when I embarked on this project, including everything, even appliances, drapes and staging. That was pretty ambitious, since we were redoing an entire kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, and needless to say, we ran into some glitches along the way — for example, we had to gut the bathroom completely.

We wanted to get it done in three weeks. It took four, mostly because of the heat that slowed down the drywall mud –it simply wouldn’t dry — but we tried not to work on weekends or the stat holiday. Renovations started July 6, finished August 7 and the unit was rented August 11. Pretty good, I’d say!

Here’s the breakdown: Let’s see how I did. Every budget should have a contingency; mine was 10%. (I’m still waiting for the plumbing invoice, but I think I’ll be right on target)

Labour 5,350.00
Cabinets and pulls 7,300.00
Appliances 4,700.00
Tile 400.00
Bathroom fixtures (vanity, tub, toilet, fan,mirror  etc.) 1,100.00
Lighting 800.00
Drywall/materials 815.00
Electrical 360.00
Paint 520.00
Granite 2,000.00
Drapery rods/curtains 200.00
HWT 650.00
Mirrored closet doors 900.00

How did I stay within my overall budget? Well, first of all, I did a detailed scope of work excluding all materials, which I was going to pay for myself. That meant I could compare the quotes I got for labour  without contractor markups.

Secondly, I bargain-hunted like a fiend although I didn’t scrimp on quality.  My lighting budget included some gorgeous light fixtures from Living Lighting;  the appliances are Samsung, Bosch and Electrolux. It was all about grabbing good quality items on sale whenever I found them.

I bought floor tiles on sale and stockpiled them months before we started. I ordered my appliances and kitchen cabinets when they were on sale three months before I took possession, then pushed back delivery, although to avoid delays in construction, I had the kitchen cabinets delivered three weeks early to my garage. That way, if we were missing anything or had any damaged cabinets, I knew I would have enough time to order replacements without slowing down the job.

I worked with a kitchen designer at Home Depot (the wonderful Belinda Bass). Not only was she terrific, but her cost was included in the cost of cabinets, ie. free!  We probably spent nine hours together; that saved me hundreds of dollars in design fees.

For appliances, I price-shopped and Home Depot gave me 10% off the lowest price I could find, so that saved me around $ 1500.00.

I did my own painting, then brought in a pro (Jennifer Goldie) to do the ceiling touch-ups and catch anything I missed; that also saved me money. Using a paint/primer Behr paint also meant fewer hours spent painting; I love that paint!

I was hands-on during the renos: I was there every day. When mistakes happened (as they always do)– when I realized, for example, that the vanity was in the wrong place, it was less expensive to bring back the electrician to move the light  than to bring back the plumber to move the vanity. I was there to make that call.

But on the whole, it came down to having a great crew. Alex and Jorge and Chad and Angel and Ivan and Jenn were terrific —  I can’t wait to do the next project with them. (By the way, the unit was rented the day after I put it on Kijiji and MLX – I have great tenants who are super-excited to be moving in and I’m thrilled to have them. It doesn’t get much better than that!)



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2 Responses to Renovating an investment condo – my budget!

  1. patriciafilteau says:

    Pleased to see you so happy with the undertaking.

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