Dream to Done: How to Build a Renovation Plan to Match Your Budget

As a client, you may feel like you have little influence over whether your remodelling project stays on budget and hits the finish line on time. But you have more control than you might think. Remember, the scope of your project and the specific materials are up to you. 

The key to keeping a project on budget and on schedule is nailing down the details before ground breaks. If you’ve never renovated or built a new home, you may not be sure about how the seed of an idea turns into a completed project. Before you meet with a professional, you should know what you want to accomplish. Is your goal to tear out your entire kitchen and start fresh? Or are you looking for less costly upgrades, perhaps replacing cabinet fronts and a tired backsplash? Or do you want to remodel your whole house?

Most homeowners know only that the current home isn’t working for them but aren’t sure how to fix it. If you are in this group, you may decide to work with professionals who can help you develop a plan and advise you on cost. Many pros offer a range of services, from initial design to project management. Even if you are not planning to hire a professional to design or manage your renovation, you may want to hire a pro on a per-hour basis to help you refine your ideas. “A small percentage of upfront money with a professional can really help clarify the scope of the project and the budget before you get too involved,

Be Up Front About Your Number

It’s helpful to be honest about your budget with the professionals you contact. Pros typically work with clients whose budgets are within a certain range. If you fall in love with a pro whose projects start at $50,000, but you have $5,000 to spend, you’re probably not a match. Homeowners without constrained budgets may be afraid to be too forthcoming for fear that pros will push them to spend more than they would like. That’s where checking references and finding people you can communicate with comes in. Vet the pros you are considering, you will find reputable people who will not push you but use your target number to help guide your plan. 

Some Averages to Go On

If you have never renovated or built a home, you may have no idea how much it’s going to cost. To give you a sense of average budgets, here are some recent stats:

People renovating kitchens had budgets ranging from less than $5,000 to more than $100,000, according to a survey of nearly 2,500 owners. One-quarter of renovators had budgets of $25,001 to $50,000, while 20 percent had budgets of $15,001 to $25,000. Only 10 percent had budgets of $5,000 or less, and only 6 percent had budgets of more than $100,000. The range of figures here is national; it should be noted that renovation costs vary by region and even city. This said, not everyone stays on budget — and that’s true regardless of geography. Only about one-third of homeowners who renovated last year stayed on budget, while just 3 percent came in below budget. Another third exceeded their budgets, while the remaining third had no initial budget at all. Among those who exceeded their budgets, the top reason was selecting nicer finishes or materials. 

Major kitchen renovations cost an average of $50,700 for spaces 200 square feet or larger, while major renos in smaller kitchens cost about half that

A major kitchen renovation includes at least replacing cabinets and appliances. Major master bathroom renovations cost an average $25,600 in rooms at least 100 square feet and about half that for smaller bathrooms. A major bath renovation includes at least replacing the vanity or cabinets and countertops and toilet.

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