How to Create a Smart Remodeling Budget to Update Your Home


Remodeling your home is a big undertaking, make no mistake.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and make the investment, you’ll first need to create a remodeling budget. This should happen before you do anything else.

How to Create a Budget for Remodeling Your Home

Learn how to budget for a home remodel the smart way. You’ll end up with a beautiful abode and money left-over.

1. Hone Your Focus

Before you can dive in, you need to hone your focus and figure out two things:

  • What area(s) of your home are you updating?
  • What can you afford to spend?

Think about what you want to do and estimate costs for all of the renovation components. For instance, if you need to renovate your bathroom, you might want to replace the tile, get a new vanity/sink, and paint the walls. Estimate how much each job will cost, including materials.

2. Plan Your Scope

After your initial estimate, you may realize that you want to do more than you can afford. On the flip side, you may realize you can afford more than you thought.

Either scale back or add on to your project, as needed. For instance, maybe you thought you couldn’t afford a freshly tiled shower, but you realize it’s not out of reach after a bit of research. Or perhaps you find out you can’t afford to install a new floor, so you decide to skip it.

3. Settle on a Number

After you have your project decided, you need to settle on a number for your budget. This may be more or less than you initially projected. Whatever number you decide on, make sure you aren’t breaking the bank.

4. Get Estimates

After the budget amount is decided, it’s time to get estimates. Get at least three different estimates from various contractors. Make sure they’re reputable – use recommendations from family and friends, or look up contractors online using a resource where they’re peer reviewed.

Give each contractor a thorough description of what you want in the space, including materials to use.

5. Refine Your Initial Number

If the winning bid comes in under your desired cost, it’s time to begin.

If all the bids are above your budget, it’s a sign you need to scale back further. The right contractor will give you a realistic estimate and will provide ideas for cutting costs if you ask outright.

Some ideas for trimming the budget:

Choose a lower-end finish for countertops or flooring. For instance, instead of granite countertops, use a laminate look-alike.

Do the demo yourself. You can save some money if you get the room ready for new construction, including tearing out cabinets and tile or removing wallpaper.

A Remodeling Budget Helps You Stay on Track

Staying under budget is tough during any renovation, no matter how large or small. However, setting a number and sticking to it will help you keep costs down while you renovate.