How to Keep the Drama Out of Home Renovation

By: Danny Lipford

Remodeled kitchen with new cabinets and granite countertops.

Remodel Stress Factor #1: Busting the Budget

You always hear that you need to add 10% to 25% extra to any renovation budget. I agree you should have a little money held in reserve for inevitable cost overruns, but it’s important to consider the cause of most expense increases in order to help keep the costs down.

Many of the cost increases on a remodeling job can be traced to the “while you are here” approach of adding extras on during the course of a job which weren’t in the original budget. It is very tempting to decide on the spur of the moment to have the master bedroom painted while remodeling the bathroom, or continue the new flooring into the next room, or upgrade your countertops from plastic laminate to granite.

These additional spontaneous “$500 here and $500 there” extra expenditures can add up quickly to a lot of money. While there’s always the chance of finding a rotten subfloor hidden under old tile or wiring that’s not up to code, if the contractor is experienced with the type of project you’re doing and has been diligent in closely examining the condition of the existing home, unexpected expenses during the course of a renovation should be rare.

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