For many of my clients one of their first questions, after they explain what they want to achieve is,
"Can I afford this?"
Before I answer this question I want to share with you a story about one of my clients.
Recently I caught up with my client and she told me how her extension was working out. When I worked with her and her husband on their family home I developed a few options including a fit-easily-within-budget option and a spend-to-the-maximum option.
She was really keen on the spend-to-the-maximum option. This was her dream home option. It included a large new kitchen diner that would overlook and open up to the garden.
In the end the fit-easily-within-budget option was their chosen way forward. This option met all their needs from their home, leaving the kitchen, dining and living room untouched, and giving them a new guest suite / hobby room, with a shower room and utility.
I asked her if she felt that they had made the right decision going with a project that met their needs but not necessarily all her dreams. She told me that, although they could have afforded the bigger project, they are happy that they decided not to stretch their budget and to keep a financial buffer that they could use in other ways.
Since the work has been completed my clients, have traveled extensively and enjoyed many evenings out indulging their passion for music at concerts around the country. She told me that she was really pleased that they had chosen not to spend to their maximum budget as if they had then they wouldn't have been able to live the same lifestyle, with as many exciting holidays or rock-n-roll gigs.
I was so pleased to hear that they are enjoying their life, that their home works well for them, and that they were really satisfied with the choices they had made.
This high level of satisfaction and enjoyment of life is what I hope for all of my clients.
So back to the frequently asked question, Can I afford this?
In truth the simple answer is that I can not answer this for you. Only you know what your finances look like and what your priorities in your life are. But there is a more important question, that I can help you answer.
What you should be asking yourself is...
Is it worth doing this work?
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Jane Leach, principal architect at i-architect