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How to Budget for a Home Renovation

Photos by Freshome – Interior Design, Decorating & Architecture Magazine

For most home owners a home renovation represents a financial commitment that they hope will pay off for their family as well as for resale value. When considering a home renovation how do you determine if you can afford it, and how to budget for one? Determining your family’s financial resources and life commitments should come before starting to think about a home renovation. Once you are ready to assess your home renovation possibilities use these tips to help you budget.

  • Assess your wants over needs: Renovations can be split into two categories: wants and needs. Meaning, renovating your kitchen to upgrade to granite counters from your plastic laminate ones would most likely be considered a want. While upgrading your kitchen from 40 year old appliances, cabinets, and finishes for safety, appearance and livability could be considered a need. Either way, decide what is the motive for renovating and if your financial pockets can afford the wants or needs.
  • Choose a small project first: This tip is going to vary based on your experience with home renovation. If you are a seasoned veteran, you may be up for being rooted out of your home for 6-9 months to add on a wing to the house. If you are a novice, and would prefer a shorter time line, than choosing a smaller project like a porch addition may be more in line with your plans. Smaller renovation projects will also allow you to budget less and learn from the process of estimating costs, labor, and materials.
  • Hire a professional to give you an estimate: Unless you are experienced with construction, it’s best to hire a professional contractor or estimator to help you determine what materials, labor, and time estimation will be appropriate. Many home renovations turn out negatively because of lack of accurate estimations in the beginning. This step will help you budget with realistic goals, instead of guessing. Consider getting several estimates to compare and contrast each professional’s calculations.
  • Be patient and realistic: The reality of home renovation is that it will usually take longer and may be more expensive than calculated. Often unforeseen circumstances arise during construction that a contractor didn’t account for in the estimate. When budgeting for a renovation, add a ‘cushion’ of time and money to be realistic of all circumstances. Patience should also be exercised when preparing for a renovation, as all the pieces may not fall into place as planned.

Home renovation can be an exciting and rewarding time for your family and your home. With careful planning ahead of time and a good assessment of your resources, you can make well informed decisions about your budget. Remember, the period of time that a home renovation takes can be considerably short when compared with the lifespan of a home. Your inconvenience for a few months will be well worth it when you see the rewards of your home renovation. Use these tips for budgeting and your “new” home may be closer than you think! 

Ronique, G. How to budget for a home renovation [Web log message]. Retrieved from

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