You’ve thought about it. You have planned it out in your head. You’ve saved for it. Finally, the day has arrived. It’s time to create a budget for home renovation!

While the task at hand may seem a bit overwhelming and exciting, it’s also important. Making sure to prioritize what is highest on the list and getting everything included takes strategy. We’re here to give you tips and guidance through a series of questions to help pinpoint your focus. By the end, you will know how to create that budget and make it work for your needs. Let’s get to it!

What Are You Remodeling?

First things first, what part of the house is getting all the attention during this home renovation? The area getting a face-lift also has a lot to do with the budget. Kitchens have a tendency to run amuck with funds, whereas a bathroom can make do with minor changes and still look refinished. Basement? The possibilities are sort of limitless. There is a lot you can do for each section of the house.

If you haven’t already, figure out what means the most to you. Haven’t settled on a definitive direction? Take time to seriously consider each room and what you could accomplish within it. Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you need a little inspiration:

  • Are you trying to create a basement apartment to rent out?
  • Do you need more cabinet space in the kitchen?
  • Is basement waterproofing something that could add value?
  • Could the roof use an upgrade?
  • Are you looking for creative solutions to keep your teenagers interested in hanging out in the living room?
  • Does the garage need to be converted into a different functioning room?
  • Would you rather have an open concept?
  • Would you rather have more walls?
  • Do you use the fireplace?
  • Do you wish you had a fireplace?
  • Is the deck big enough for family gatherings?
  • What is the curb appeal of the house?

Does It Make Sense?

It is possible that you plan to live out the rest of your days in your home. It’s also possible that you have no idea what could come around the corner and push you to make a move. With that in mind, you will want to make changes to the home that are worth it. Having a mural painted of your dog, while probably very cute, is not the best use of funds for the home.

As a rule of thumb, you will want to stay under fifteen percent of your entire home’s value in a solitary room. Going over that budget is unlikely to add meaningful value to the home in the event you sell it at a later date.

How Much To Plan For?

What kind of budget am I looking at or, rather, how much will I need to come out of pocket? Of course, it depends a lot on what is all getting done, but it is not uncommon to expect to spend anywhere from $25,000 to $85,000. That estimate is conservative and covers a 1,000 square foot home on the low end and up to 4,000 on the higher end.

The price could be more, but generally expect to spend at least $20 per square foot. It will be easier to narrow the budget once you have received a slew of estimates.

Think of the Future

A few important points to keep in mind when putting the budget together will revolve around situations that have yet to come to pass.

Some upkeep can be a bigger drain on finances than others. For example, annual pool maintenance can cost $3,000 a year. Paint touch-ups might cost $15 for a gallon of paint. Below are some far and not so far off upkeep to review:

  • All appliance maintenance will be mandatory.
  • Decks need to be resealed annually.
  • Chimneys need to be cleaned and inspected annually.
  • Garage doors should be looked at by a professional annually.
  • Stone countertops will need to be resealed between one to three years.
  • Wood floors should be refinished about every eight and a half years.
  • The basement waterproofer will need to come back in about ten years.
  • How long before touch-ups will be needed with the particular type of paint used?
  • Will you be able to get that very specific color again in the future?


Where Will You Be?

Something many people forget to factor into their budget is the cost of living during the renovation itself. There are projects that would be easy to live alongside, like having a carpet cleaner come over during the day to make the floor like new again. There are others that would make life difficult, like having the local roofers hammering away at 7 am.

Substantial renovations could make the area unsafe to stay in, especially if there are children residing in the home. Do you need to rent a temporary residence? If you are not living in the home, will that have an impact on travel time and fuel costs for work, school, etc.? When you get estimates, be sure to ask what the living situation would be like during the time of work.


Let’s Get Estimates

Okay, you’ve asked yourself the important questions. You have a focus on what you are hoping to achieve and where you’re going to do it. You have pinpointed a budget range based on how much the home is worth, currently. Now, let’s consult the professionals.

Two things will happen once you reach out to basement finishers, for example. You will either feel good about how much you were planning to spend or it will feel like someone threw a glass of cold water in your face. At this stage, you might not really know what to expect, price-wise. These numbers could scare you, maybe even have you rethink a home renovation. However, this is the information stage. It is perfectly fine to be shocked. If that describes you, here is a chance to reevaluate.

In order to finalize a budget, you have to understand the dollar amounts you need to work with in order to make the best choices. Here are things to look for when asking for estimates:

  • Put your feelers out. Don’t consult just one or two professionals. Get a handful in so you can compare the itemized estimates. This way, you have a solid grasp of where each dollar is going and can easily pinpoint when a professional is way off base.
  • Analyze that roof estimate. Did the roof repairs listed make sense to what you were expecting?
  • Are there opportunities to find wiggle room in the budget with different materials?
  • Was the area inspected before an estimate was given?
  • What is the time-frame of the project?
  • Does the quote include a guarantee?
  • Are the workers insured and bonded?
  • How disruptive do they expect the work to be?

Cost Savings

Now, you’ve gone through the process of deciding what you wanted and consulted with a company that can get it done. This is where you put your money where your mouth is. It’s time to start paying for things. However, before you open up the wallet, have you had a chance to think about everything being done? Where can you add or save the budget for this project? There might be opportunities for you to get hands-on and save some of that budget to go towards other parts of the room or your bank account. Just in case, here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Are there any materials that can be salvaged and repurposed?
  • Are there products or appliances that can be sold?
  • Are there products that I could get a less expensive version of?
  • Are you capable of doing demolition yourself?
  • Can you order fixtures yourself, to avoid hourly fees or markups?
  • Do you have an afternoon to paint a room?
  • Have you visited a second-hand shop for refurbished items or parts?
  • Is there a more simple project you could figure out easily?

When you take a moment to look around, you might be surprised about what you can come up with. Cheaper options might be just as beautiful or useful as the more expensive option. Before you officially sign off on any material or hardware, have a chat with the basement refinishers or residential roofing companies. If they know you are working on a budget you would like to stretch as far as possible, they might be able to let you in on some bargains that require insider knowledge.

How to Create a Budget for a Home Renovation – a summary

We recognize that there is a lot to take in all at once. Here is a condensed version for you to use as a reminder during the process. Skim through and know this will lead you to the best choices.


  •  What Are You Remodeling?

In case you aren’t sure what you’d like to tackle first, study each area in the house. What improvements would make your enjoyment of the house increase? Is there a way you could make it more functional for changing situations within your family? This is your time to make a real impact for years to come.


  • Does It Make Sense?

Even if you are a wild child at heart, try to avoid outrageous renovations. Mull over any plans you think might be out of the box, consult friends and family. If this needs to be redone in order to sell the home, you may want to reconsider. Remember, stay under fifteen percent of the home’s value for any project.


  • How Much To Plan For?

Analyze the average numbers for what a home renovation could cost, depending on what area you choose to work on. Go into the plans under the expectation that it will be about $20 per square foot.


  • Think of the Future

Everything added to the home has a shelf life. Make sure that when you start to sketch out what you want a space to look like, or how you want it to function, you think about the long term. Some upkeep is easy enough that you can do it yourself. Some maintenance requires professionals and may require a chunk of money.


  • Where Will You Be?

 It’s possible that you will be unable to maintain any kind of normal schedule while your home is being renovated. If you have young children, a person with health issues, or an elderly family member, you may need to make arrangements for a temporary dwelling. Relocation, if necessary, should be factored into the budget.


  • Let’s Get Estimates

    It’s time now for a wake-up call with the professionals. Your expectations were either reasonable or out in left field. Now you can come to terms with expectations vs reality. However, get a handful of estimates to compare costs, timelines, materials, and professionalism.


  • Cost Savings

It may not seem like it at first, but you may have the ability to save yourself some serious change. A contractor usually charges by the hour to order and pick up parts. It does not require an expert to destroy cabinets or walls. Seek out ways to make the most of the budget.

After going through this extensive line of questioning, planning, and mental visualization, you should feel empowered. Having the idea of revamping an area of your home is all fun and games until the numbers start to bring you down to earth. However, when wisely applied, updates can change the feel of a home.


Creating a budget for a home renovation does not have to feel like someone popped your balloon. But having a realistic view of what you can expect in the budget allotted can save you headaches, or even disappointment, down the road.


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