- Typical Range: $18,161 to $76,367
- National Average: $46,748
The housing market can be a dog-eat-dog world, and finding a home that fits your needs is challenging. Rather than dealing with the hassle of moving, consider a home renovation project to update your home’s appearance. Not to be confused with a remodel, home renovation usually keeps existing structures in place but updates the materials and surfaces.
The size of the room (or rooms) being renovated, underlying repairs, scope, materials, and labor make up the bulk of home renovation costs. There’s a wide price range of $18,161 to $76,367, with an average of $46,748. Estimating a home renovation cost can be complex, but here are the top factors to determine how much it might cost you to renovate your home.
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Factors in Calculating Home Renovation Costs
The complexity of the room being renovated affects the price range. Repairs and updates to kitchens, bathrooms, or mechanical equipment are costlier home renovations. A kitchen renovation averages $25,000, but a bathroom is $10,000. Basements usually cost around $20,000. Other factors like permits and labor, site preparation, and materials also influence the price.
Permits and Labor
Almost any renovation project that includes additions, electrical or plumbing work, or a major overhaul will require permits, so be sure to check with local authorities. Permits cost $400 to $1,800, on average.
Depending on the scope, a renovation requires multiple different subcontractors. The average hourly cost of any laborer on a construction project ranges between $20 and $150—sometimes more. General contractor fees usually account for 10 to 20 percent of the total budget.
Costs can vary up to 40 percent between regions. Current construction markets differ from state to state, which affects the total price. Urban areas typically have the highest construction costs.
Home Size and Number and Types of Rooms
As with most projects, the larger the space, the higher the cost. According to HomeAdvisor, a 1,000-square-foot home could be renovated for around $19,000, but a 3,000- to 4,000-square- foot home costs between $75,000 and $100,000. More bedrooms do not always correlate to a higher price, though. A bedroom costs less to renovate ($10 to $25 per square foot) than a kitchen ($100 to $250 per square foot).
Type of Build
Not all living spaces are created equal. The cost to renovate a condo averages $40 to $125 per square foot, but an apartment averages $25 to $60. Historic homes always cost more to renovate due to the extra care needed to preserve original materials or re-create the original appearance with updated materials. A historical renovation typically costs $100 to $400 per square foot.
Depending on the scope of the project, it may be necessary to prepare the site for construction whether it be removing landscaping or clearing space to access the house. If significant work is required to prepare the site, expect to pay between $1,200 and $4,000.
The range of material prices for a home renovation has almost no bounds. From nails to paint to countertops to appliances, materials make up the bulk of home renovation costs. The finish and quality of materials can also influence the cost to renovate any space.
Additional Costs and Considerations
A home renovation project can be complex or straightforward, and sometimes it can turn into a full-blown house remodeling adventure. It’s not uncommon for unexpected costs to pop up while planning a renovation. You may need to hire an architect to assist with planning a structural adjustment, or you could discover a problem with the foundation that must be addressed. Here are several other considerations for home renovation costs to help guide your planning process.
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It’s no secret that older homes tend to hide structural or mechanical issues that must be addressed when they’re discovered. An old house might have great bones, but updating electrical wiring to current safety standards is a good (and sometimes necessary) idea that could save you money in the long run. Add approximately 20 percent to your total budget for unforeseen costs.
If structural changes are planned, consult with an engineer to ensure load-bearing walls are appropriately handled. Expect to pay $300 to $700 for a consultation and plan review. On average, removing walls will cost between $300 and $10,000. Non-load-bearing walls cost less to remove.
Hiring an Architect
You might find the planning process much easier for more complex renovation projects if you hire an architect early on. Your ideas can come to life with the help of an architect who can recommend current trends, upgrades, structural needs, and more. An architect is also helpful as a cost estimator who can determine a rough estimate on expected costs. Architects usually charge between $125 and $250 per hour.
Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC Systems
Some renovation projects begin with an intention to upgrade mechanical systems for better efficiency or reliability. Updating plumbing, wiring, and HVAC systems improve home value in the long run. A typical plumbing job costs $300, electrical work costs $350, and installing a new HVAC system runs between $500 and $7,200.
“Foundation problems” is likely the most dreaded phrase to hear during any home construction project. Any issues with a foundation will push the renovation costs to the high end of the estimate, which is why a budget cushion is helpful. If major foundation problems exist—along with roof and mechanical issues—it’s sometimes cheaper to demolish and rebuild. Consult with your contractor to determine the best solution for you.
Changing the Floor Plan of the Home
The cost to adjust the floor plan can range from between $750 and $3,000 and up. Since floor plans affect the foundation and structural components, you’ll need to consult a structural engineer. Additions usually require a building permit from your city, and some cities may require an architect, too. A floor plan change will require an update to nearly every system from wiring to HVAC and finishing work to make it suitable.
Upgrading appliances is another common reason to begin a home renovation. New appliances can cost between $200 and $10,000. An array of options are available, and it’s easy to get carried away, especially with kitchen appliances. From six-burner stoves to smart fridges, consider what meets your needs and expectations to stay within your budget.
Home Renovation Costs: Types of Renovations
Major home renovation projects are not for the faint of heart. Home renovation costs quickly add up, problems arise, and home life is disrupted. But the satisfaction of seeing your home transformed into a fresh, functional space is the ultimate reward. There are several types of renovations to consider to update an existing house.
Renovation costs can run the gamut. A typical 2,500-square-foot house could cost between $15,000 and $200,000. For under $45,000, you could update paint, trim, flooring, counters, and landscaping. A price of $46,000 to $70,000 covers a kitchen or bathroom remodel along with upgraded flooring. More than $71,000 extends to cabinet upgrades and structural or system upgrades.
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Historic homes can be a fun challenge. Expect to spend around $100 to $400 per square foot to renovate a historic home properly. These homes typically require structural, mechanical, and system updates along with cosmetic improvements. If the house is in a historic district, check for renovation restrictions. In some cases, grants are available to assist with the associated costs of renovation or upkeep.
Gut and Remodel
In some cases, a full gut and remodel is necessary when the floor plan is wholly redesigned, or if the mechanical systems need a total upgrade. All that’s usually left in a gutted house are studs and foundation. It typically costs $100,000 to $200,000 or $100 to $200 per square foot to demolish and rebuild an older home. An interior gut may only cost up to $10,000 to remove furnishings, appliances, and drywall.
Rehabbing a Home
Rehabbing a home is similar to a gut and remodel but slightly less extensive. It focuses on repairs and cleanup for houses that need significant renovation. A typical range for rehabbing a home is $20 to $50 per square foot or $20,000 to $75,000.
Adding on to an existing home is a common renovation or remodeling project that can be costly since it touches almost every aspect of building a home, including walls, rooflines, wiring, HVAC, plumbing, and cosmetics. The average cost to build a home addition is $21,000 to $70,000, but the price can increase dramatically depending on the extent of the addition. Adding a new bathroom costs $18,000 to $47,000 on average.
Do I Need a Home Renovation?
The idea of disrupting home life or getting a renovation loan just to complete a major renovation could be enough to prevent some homeowners from taking the leap. A renovation isn’t for everyone, and it’s not always the best option cost-wise; however, you might discover that it’s the perfect option for your family. Renovating an existing home allows you to experience added comfort and luxury, avoid the hassle of moving, improve your home’s energy efficiency, and increase your home’s value.
Make Your Home More Comfortable and Aesthetically Pleasing
You spend a lot of time in your home, especially if it’s also your work space. Why not invest in making your private space more comfortable, functional, and enjoyable? Living in a home that suits your style and needs can positively affect your overall health. Home renovation doesn’t just have to be about resale value. If a room or system has always bothered you, update it and alleviate that nagging stress.
Boost Your Home’s Value
Any significant improvement on a home boosts the property value. That’s money right back in your pocket someday when you decide to sell. An outdated kitchen is a primary deterrent for many prospective home buyers. A kitchen renovation improves ROI (return on investment) by 83 percent, and a bathroom renovation by at least 65 percent or more.
Enhance Safety and Improve Accessibility
It’s safe to assume most people would prefer to choose a renovation project rather than be forced to complete one due to damage or disrepair. In some cases, renovation cannot be put off for long. Faulty electrical wiring, roof leaks, broken appliances, or storm damage are just a few reasons homeowners should start a renovation project. Safety is a top priority when it comes to deciding on a renovation.
Upfront costs of buying a house are one thing to consider, but many home buyers also factor in long-term energy costs. Monthly costs to maintain a comfortable home add up over time. Even if you don’t plan to sell a house soon, consider renovating some mechanical systems to improve the efficiency of your house and lower bills. New double-pane windows, added insulation, or an updated HVAC system improve efficiency.
Fix Existing Damage
Sometimes a house has sustained some damage that doesn’t affect efficiency or function, but it’s still important to repair any damage to keep property value high. A home that’s always kept in good shape will bring more value to a sale.
You’re Selling Your Home
If you know you won’t stay in your home forever, updating the interior might be a great idea to improve the resale value. A home estimate can help identify areas that would provide the best ROI. Some homeowners do this frequently as house flippers. In this case, it’s best to choose styles, colors, and trends that appeal to the current market in your region.
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Home Renovation Costs: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
A plethora of home improvement shows have convinced many homeowners that home renovation is a reasonably straightforward operation that any reasonable person could complete. In some cases, that’s true. Not every renovation includes major structural work. If the renovation is more cosmetic, you might be comfortable painting, installing a medicine cabinet, putting up a kitchen backsplash, or replacing a faucet. These projects don’t require permitting or structural considerations, and they can usually be done in a short time frame.
Sadly, up to 63 percent of DIYers regret large renovation projects that took excessive time to complete or were done improperly due to lack of knowledge. Any renovation that includes changes to floor plans, structures, or mechanical systems will likely require a building permit from local authorities. In many states, significant renovations that touch structures, roofs, electrical or gas, or foundations require a contractor’s oversight to ensure all building codes are followed. Home additions can be nearly as complex as building a home.
Beyond legal restrictions regarding DIY renovations, the biggest reason you’ll want to hire a pro is peace of mind. An architect and contractor have the know-how to bring your dream to life. You won’t have to stress about scheduling multiple subcontractors, organizing deliveries, or solving problems. A contractor should have warranties against future issues as well. Contractors can also identify ways to save money by sourcing materials through wholesale dealers or offering alternate suggestions. Home renovation costs are well invested in a qualified contractor.
How to Save Money on Home Renovation Costs
Considering a major renovation can be daunting as you establish what the project will entail. Sticking to a budget only complicates the situation. But there are several areas where you can save on your home renovation.
- Get multiple quotes. Take the time to compare prices to make sure you get what you need for your budget.
- Focus on efficiency, not size. An interior designer can help you maximize available space to improve the function and feel of a kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom without having to expand the space.
- Do your own demo day. Save on labor by doing your own demolition—just make sure you don’t accidentally take out a load-bearing wall or another essential feature.
- Take long-term savings into account. In some cases, spending a little more upfront can save on maintenance and repairs down the road.
- Ask for a one-time consultation. Many architects can meet with you one time and sketch out a design plan that’s sufficient for a builder or drafting service to create plans.
- Choose look-alike products. Imitation materials have come a long way. Things like laminate flooring often look as good as hardwood.
- Avoid moving the sink or toilet. Rerouting the plumbing on a toilet or kitchen sink can quickly raise the renovation price. Leave them in place and update the room around them.
- Make decisions early. Changing your mind or not having a plan can increase the materials cost midway through a project.
- Opt for open shelving. Kitchen cabinets are a money pit. They’re great value, but if you want to save money and have a unique kitchen, consider using open shelving instead.
- Consider donating used items. Debris disposal costs money. Consider donating removed items in good shape to Habitat for Humanity instead.
- Check for federal grants. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) can assist in renovating a home for disabled persons. Veterans are also eligible for housing grants.
- Purchase floor models. With some hunting, you can find discounts on appliance floor models in-store or online.
Questions to Ask About Home Renovation Costs
The steps involved in a home renovation are complex and confusing for first-time renovators. Talking openly with your general contractor can help clear up questions and avoid miscommunication on home renovation costs.
- How much does a house cost compared to a whole-house renovation?
- Is it cheaper to renovate or gut and remodel?
- How long will my project take to complete?
- Will you obtain all building permits?
- Do you hire and pay for subcontractors?
- Will they come to my house to inspect the job and provide an estimate?
- Are your crews licensed and insured?
- Have you completed many home renovations like this before?
- Do you typically have cost overruns?
- Are we on the same page about this idea?
- Can we review the estimate line by line?
- My house was built in the 80s. What kind of problems do you expect we might find?
- What if I change my mind about a design partway through the project? What will that cost me?
- What kind of payment structure do you require?
- How do you handle challenges or material delays?
- What kind of warranties do you provide?
Home renovation costs aren’t straightforward or one-size-fits-all, so it’s common to have lots of questions. Just below are a few frequently asked questions and answers about home renovation costs here.
Q. Is it cheaper to remodel or build?
In most cases, it’s cheaper to remodel a house than build. The exception is if there are significant structural challenges with the foundation, roof, or mechanical systems. Have a building inspector assess the house to understand the areas in disrepair, then talk with a few contractors to get an idea of the costs involved.
Q. What is the average cost for home renovation?
The national average to renovate a home is $46,748, but it’s not a firm number at all. Some homeowners might consider a renovation to be updating faucets and fixtures, while others consider adding a bathroom a renovation. Home renovation cost is dependent on the materials, room type, and project scope.
Q. Should I renovate or sell my house?
This is a personal decision to make. Leaving your house and neighborhood can be a difficult decision to make, and finding a new home can be a hassle. The cost of most renovations will still be less than the cost of buying a house, so it’s worth considering renovating your house to meet your needs if you have the time, space, and money to do so.
Sources: HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Thumbtack