A Homeowner’s Guide to Pricing A Home Renovation Project
By Shannon Wells
Whether you’re designing the outdoor kitchen of your dreams or dealing with something more time sensitive, the steps to pricing your next home renovation are the same. We know that digging into the details of a renovation budget isn’t most folk’s idea of a good time. But the time and money saved make all the research and planning worth it. Here’s how to get a handle on your home renovation costs and price your next project like a pro.
Understand Your Big Why
Beyond knowing that you want a new kitchen, it helps to understand why. Do you want an inspiring space to have your morning coffee? Are you looking for a cozy family center for the kids to do homework while you prepare dinner? Maybe you’re looking to up your culinary game and want appliances fit for a chef. Understanding your motivations will help you down the line when it comes time to prioritize spending, so don’t skip this step!
Develop a Project Outline
With your motivation in mind, it’s time to put together a project outline. Your outline will walk you through your home renovation in broad strokes (Think: demo, flooring, lighting, install new appliances, etc.). Developing a basic outline and thinking through each step of your home renovation will help you decide which professionals you’ll need and what work you’ll do yourself.
Iron Out the Details
If you want to get a general idea of how much a project may cost, there are tons of resources available, like our room-by-room cost guide and SnapPrice. Tools like these may get you in the ballpark, but you’ll need to dive deeper into what you actually want to nail down a realistic budget. Preferences in materials and finishes can have a huge impact on costs and location affects the price of labor. The more specific you can get on the type of lighting, tiles and appliances you want, the easier time your contractor will have in giving you an accurate estimate.
Quick Tip: For design inspiration, try Emprove’s Ideas Catalog.
Figure Out Financing
If a project is on the smaller side, you may be able to cover the work out-of-pocket or by dipping into savings. But, for large scale home renovations, it’s common for homeowners to borrow money. There are lots of options available, so be sure to do your homework and select the right loan product for you. Of course, you don’t need to get approved for a loan before you start shopping contractors but it helps to have a rough idea of your budget.
Reach Out to Contractors
Utilizing word of mouth, online reviews, trusted neighbors and websites designed to connect you to pros are all good ways to find contractors. Once you’ve got a shortlist, make sure to follow through and get three estimates. This legwork not only ensures you’re getting a fair price, but it helps to hear what experts have to say about your project plan. The professionals you’re interviewing have likely completed home renovations like yours before and their insight is invaluable.
Be Ready With a Buffer
Overruns happen, especially in older homes where code issues arise or in complicated jobs where many subcontractors are working together. Even small things like increased utilities usage during construction can increase your overall costs by as much as $40. Tack an extra 15% onto your contractor’s estimate and it’ll lessen the sting of an unexpected bill.
Here are some other helpful articles for homeowners planning a home renovation project:
Shannon Wells is a freelance writer and DIY enthusiast. She’s happiest when she’s in the middle of a home improvement project, which lucky for her, is most of the time.