What to Know Before You Start Home Renovations

There are plenty of reasons to renovate your home. Maybe you’re hoping to sell the place and want to enhance curb appeal while improving the home’s value. Or maybe you’re simply ready for that luxury bathroom, expanded kitchen, or home office you’ve long dreamed of.

Regardless of your motives, it’s important to take a judicious, fully-informed approach to your house renovation. That means being clear-eyed about the cost of the project, the scope of the project, and, of course, your own limitations.

Here are just a few of the most common home renovation queries that homeowners ask.

How Much Does a Typical Renovation Cost for Each Room?

We’ll start with one of the most common questions about home renovations: How much can you anticipate the project will cost?

Of course, the answer depends on a range of factors, starting with what room you’re talking about. For example, research from Business Insider shows that the average cost for renovating a bathroom is a little over $10,000. For a bedroom, that cost is just under $8,000. For a living room, it’s closer to $7,000. At the other end of the cost spectrum, building out an unfinished attic can run close to $50,000 in total.

But of course, these numbers are hardly set in stone. Another factor to consider is the extent of your remodeling. If you’re simply looking to paint or re-tile your bathroom, without changing any of the actual fixtures, your cost may come in quite a bit under that $10,000 mark.

One thing that the experts always say is that a house renovation seldom goes exactly according to plan. You’ll invariably run into complications or obstacles along the way, which can cause the budget to expand. As such, you should usually factor in some wiggle room of about 20 percent of the total project cost. With any luck, you’ll come in under budget… but it’s best to prepare for all contingencies.

Should You DIY or Call the Pros?

Another common question that homeowners have about home renovation: Is it better to handle the work all on your own, or should you call in the pros?

Again, when it comes to the DIY vs. professional conundrum, there’s no easy answer. It depends not only on the nature of the project, but also on your own comfort and confidence doing home repairs.

Here are some scenarios in which it probably makes sense to try the project yourself, potentially save yourself some money:

  • The project is small enough that you can learn how to do it pretty quickly. For projects that you can brush up on with a few quick YouTube videos, going the DIY route might be reasonable.
  • You’re patient in the face of small mistakes. Doing a DIY job is typically going to involve a few mess-ups, which may require you to circle back and repeat a few steps. If you think you can handle that without losing your cool, then the DIY approach can work.
  • You actually enjoy doing home repairs. If you’re the kind of person who views home repairs as a hobby rather than a chore, then you’re probably wired to handle your own renovation work.
  • You’re all right with results that are “good enough.” Keep in mind that your work may not be up to par with the pros. You may have a misplaced brush stroke here and there, for instance. You need to be all right with that before taking on a DIY task.

By contrast, here are some of the areas where it’s probably a better idea to trust the pros.

  • Making a mistake could have catastrophic consequences. Making an error with a major electrical project, for instance, could electrocute you or set your house on fire. Best to call in an experienced electrician!
  • The project is so big that it would require you to get permits. The permitting process can be arduous. You’ll be better off entrusting it to someone who’s navigated it before.
  • You just don’t have time. Completing a DIY house renovation can take up a lot of time, which you may rather devote to your day job, your family, or a hobby. If so, that’s a clear sign that you should hire a professional.

These are just a few considerations to make as you decide how best to tackle a home renovation project.

How Do You Decide What You Should Renovate?

Still another common question from homeowners: Which room should you renovate first?

In some situations, of course, the answer will be obvious. If you’ve always dreamed of a bigger kitchen or a fancy, spa-like bathroom, then follow your bliss!

But if you’re renovating with the intention of selling your home, you may want to instead choose the area where you can build the most value. Often, that will be the kitchen, followed by the bathrooms. Remodeling a bedroom or living room may offer some value. Adding a home office actually adds very little value.

Something else to keep in mind is that you can always add value to your home with smaller projects. For example, many experts say that the single most cost-effective way to improve home value is by installing a new garage door. Replacing the front entry door or investing in some high-quality landscaping work may also be good options.

In short: A home renovation can improve the value of your property, making it easier to sell. But there are also plenty of other options for enhancing home values.

Find Out More About Home Renovation

We’ve really only scratched the surface of what home renovation entails. As you consider your big project, make sure you do your due diligence, and reach out to the pros as needed. Also make sure you connect with our SOLD.com partners for further resources!