Home Makeovers: Keeping Costs Down


Homeowners are still gung-ho about renovating their homes this year. Even as the pandemic struck last year, data from Global Market Insights shows that the U.S. home remodeling market in 2020 was valued at $340 billion. According to data from the U.S. Remodeler Index (USRI), more than half of remodelers stated that they had more projects lined up in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year. They also have increasing backlogs due to long lead times for supplies. Some homeowners decided to cancel or postpone their projects, but the remodelers say the number is minimal.

A majority or 62 percent of the remodelers further stated that their renovation projects are increasing in size, and 71 percent stated that homeowners are spending more. With the continuing demand for renovations, revenues of remodelers are predicted to increase by 11 percent by the end of 2021.

Costs of Renovation

The budget for renovation can be based on the value of the house. Renovation costs for a room like a bathroom or a kitchen must be within 10 to 15 percent of the home’s value. It is best to research the current renovation costs per room, though, because they can differ widely.

For instance, according to the Cost vs. Value 2021 report of Zonda Media, a midrange minor kitchen renovation costs $24,241, while a midrange major kitchen renovation costs $75,571. A midrange bathroom renovation costs $24,424, while a midrange bathroom addition costs $56,946. A midrange master suite addition that includes its own bathroom costs a whopping $156,741.

Whatever budget you decide on, add the cost of your accommodations and meals if you must stay away from the house during construction. Note that this increases with the period of construction. Furthermore, you must add 20 percent of the whole amount as a contingency fund. Many unplanned things can happen during construction that will entail additional costs. For instance, the contractor might discover termites that need to be exterminated or electrical wirings that need to be upgraded.

Controlling Expenses


The cheapest way to renovate your house is to do it yourself (DIY). If you do not have the necessary skills, though, you might ruin the project, waste supplies, and still have to spend for a professional to fix your mistakes. So, unless you are highly skilled, it is best to hire professionals to do the job.

Make sure that the renovation activities do not damage other parts of the house and your belongings so that you will not have to spend more to fix or replace these. It is essential to use floor protection during construction. Include areas that workers or equipment will pass through going to and from the room or rooms being renovated. Remove furniture and other objects from the rooms being worked on. Move these to other parts of the house, the garage, or a rented storage facility temporarily. If you must do the latter, factor this into your budget.

Ask for referrals from relatives and friends for a reliable and affordable contractor. Also, check online and look for reviews from actual clients. Always compare the fees of contractors. The ones with the lowest fees are not always the best. If the fees are far below those of the others, this is a red flag. The quality of work might not be up to par. Choose from those in the mid-range who have good reviews or recommendations.

Know what you want to be done and discuss this with your contractor to see if your ideas are feasible. Once you have agreed on a plan, follow it. Changing your mind midway during the construction on even a small aspect of the project will mean additional expenses.

It is more cost-effective to do all the renovations you want in one go because you will spend more by doing separate projects one after another. A bigger job will get you a discount with the contractor. It will also mean less construction time because all the different areas can be worked on concurrently.

Some people try to cut costs is by choosing the cheapest materials or appliances. This is a wrong way of economizing. Low-end products tend to also be of the lowest quality. They might look nice while new but will deteriorate more quickly, and you will have to spend more on frequent repairs or replacements. You do not need to choose the most expensive products. Go for medium-priced ones that have good quality.

The Value of Happiness

While it is important to implement all possible measures to keep costs within the budget in the home renovation project, you will likely use your contingency fund. This is okay because it is why you set aside that amount in the first place. The important thing to ensure is that the funds are used wisely. Also, in the end, remember that everything you spent on the project has made your home a better place for your enjoyment. In this matter, money does buy you happiness.

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