How Much Does It Cost To Renovate A House?

On average, Americans spend $15,000 on a single home renovation project1. Following the effects of COVID-19, homeowners spent 48% less on their renovation costs than prior to the pandemic2, likely due to financial strain. People reported being more cautious with their renovation spend by turning to do-it-yourself projects and more budget-friendly finishes to keep overall renovation costs down.

Depending on the type of house and project, the average recommended spending for remodeling projects will vary. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) suggests spending a certain percentage of the home’s total value based on the room or upgrade, detailed in the chart below.

Suggested Spend By Project

Project Type

Suggested Spend (based on home value)

Kitchen

16%

Attic or basement

10 – 15%

Primary bedroom

13%

Living area

10%

Primary bathroom

7%

Small bathroom

5%

Siding

3 – 5%

Windows

3 – 4%

Patio or backyard

2 – 5%

Roof

2 – 4%

Standard Bedroom

1 – 3%

Source: National Association of Home Builders3 

Based on the suggested spend per project, what do the average home renovation costs look like nationally?

Garage Remodeling Costs

A complete garage remodel will range $7,000 – $15,000, on average8. Small upgrades like a garage door replacement can add significant value to your home, nearly matching your investment at a 95% return.

Garage door replacement average cost: $3,907

Additional home value: $3,663

Return on investment: 94%

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Steps for Creating a Detailed Home Renovation Budget

Step 1: Prioritize Remodeling Needs

The easiest way to stay on budget during a renovation is to know exactly what you want. Create a list of everything you would like the project to include and then separate items into wants and needs.

“Think about the proper order to do things in. It makes no sense to get new kitchen counters if you know that later on you’ll likely need to upgrade your cabinets or change the floor plan, right? Doing things in the right order saves time and money in the long run.”

Christine White | The (mostly) Simple Life

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want this project to do?
  • What details are required to make that happen?
  • What are you willing to compromise on?
  • What are you willing to splurge on?

Step 2: Create a Detailed Remodeling Plan With Cost Estimates

After setting the goal for your home renovation, create a detailed plan that includes expected costs. This will help you build a remodeling budget and communicate exactly what you want with your contractors.

Build a spreadsheet that includes each portion of the project and the estimated cost for labor and materials. To develop cost estimates:

  • Use resources like HomeAdvisor to estimate labor costs for engineers, architects, plumbers and handymen. Labor usually accounts for 20 to 35 percent of a project’s budget.
  • Choose fixtures and finishes and calculate what you will spend on them. Include paint, knobs, faucets, tile, flooring and anything else you’ll need. Don’t forget to include taxes and shipping costs in the estimates for your materials.
  • Include the appliances you want and what you expect to spend on them. Include costs for installation, delivery and how you plan to dispose of appliances.
  • Consider what living expenses you will incur during your project. Consider the costs for living without a functioning kitchen, boarding pets or staying outside the home during your project and include these costs in your spreadsheet.

If you can create a plan that is detailed enough and includes your choice of finishes and fixtures, your conversations with contractors can focus purely on labor costs and time estimates.

“Don’t forget to budget for small things. You may need paint brushes, tape, sandpaper, drop cloths, hand tools, and other supplies. While none of those costs too much, they can easily add up to $100 or much more when you need a bunch of random little things.”

Christine White | The (mostly) Simple Life

Step 3: Request Bids From Multiple Contractors

Now you know what you need, what you want and what you can afford to pay for each item. It’s time to find a contractor that can complete your project within your budget.

Find local companies with good reviews and ask them to create a bid for your project. Get bids from at least three companies to accurately compare the costs.

When choosing a contractor:

  • Complete interviews and check their references.
  • Be very clear about both your project and your remodeling budget. If your contractor knows you’re sticking to a tight budget, they will be more likely to talk through additional expenses, time delays and project changes with you.
  • Make sure the contractor thoroughly understands your needs and has a clear idea of how you plan to prioritize parts of the project.
  • Talk through how you will approach any unforeseen issues and how it will affect the budget of the project.

If one contractor’s bid is well below the others, toss it out. Cheap labor sounds appealing but opens the door to errors which can cost you more money later. Use competing bids to negotiate with your preferred contractor.

If none of the contractor estimates fit into your remodeling budget, cut down on the project until you’re comfortable with the cost. Use your list of wants and needs to eliminate parts of the project you previously deemed less important.

Once you’ve selected your contractor, ask them to look at your project plan and home renovation budget to see if there are any costs you may have overlooked.

Use the contractor’s estimate as well as feedback to make a final update to your project plan before beginning work to make sure the final project stays on budget.

11. Find Cabinet Deals

Cabinets tend to be one of the most expensive items in a kitchen remodeling project, but if you shop around you might be able to find deals at cabinet stores. Maybe they have old models or showroom cabinets they no longer need. Consider reducing the amount of cabinets you have to create more space in your kitchen.

Remodel Cost Per Square Foot

How much you spend on remodeling per square foot largely depends on the room your are renovating and the level of remodel you are looking for (low-end, mid-range, or luxury).

For regular rooms, such as an office, bedroom, living room, etc., remodeling cost per square foot is $20-35. However, a bathroom remodel costs as much as $40-90 per square foot.

Remodeling a kitchen is even more expensive: $50 – 100 per square foot or more.

High-end remodels cost as much as $200-300 per square foot.

How Much Should I Spend on a Renovation?

As a rule of thumb, don’t go crazy spending half the price of your home to renovate a room or two—that probably won’t add a balanced value to the house. The smartest way to decide how much to spend on a home renovation is to look at your current monthly budget and go from there.

Let’s say your household income is $80,000 and you live in a $250,000 home. Ideally, you‘d like to make $60,000 worth of renovations to revamp a few rooms, evict the squirrels from your attic, and repair the racoon damage to your roof. If you can save $2,500 a month for renovations, you can tackle half of them within the first year of saving!

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.

Whole-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.

A home renovation gone wrong is a homeowner’s worst nightmareLuckily, trusted experts are here to help. Get free, no-commitment project estimates from contractors, builders, painters, and more near you. Find a Pro ++

Historic Home

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.

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Home Additions

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.

6. Reuse Materials

Your cabinets might drive you nuts or you can’t stand the cabinet fixtures. Think twice before throwing either out. You can easily paint your cabinets for a new look or use those fixtures elsewhere.

Easybids

Easybids offers a mobile-app-only platform with a slightly different take on getting estimates from pros. Easy Bids allows you to post your projects to an open public forum. Contractors can submit bids, and everyone can view all the bids, questions and answers. The app also offers an augmented reality measuring tool. You can use your phone camera to take and save measurements to convey your project details clearly, or add satellite photogrammetry for exterior measurements such as the length of your lot. This could be a useful free tool even if you’re not planning any projects!

House Value vs Remodel Cost

When it comes to smart budgeting for a renovation, emotions can easily cloud judgement. It’s natural for many homeowners to start pouring thousands of dollars into a dream kitchen or bathroom, especially if you hate the one you have now, without thinking about the bottom line.

However, the reality is that if you don’t have unlimited cash flow you should be mindful of the returns a particular remodeling project will bring you.

That is of course if you think you may sell your house in the next 5-10 years. In this case, there is one big rule you need to follow:

DO NOT spend more than the value of the room compared to the overall house value on its renovation. We are going to give an example of a renovation budget for a house that is worth $400,000.

Here is how the numbers break down:

Remodeling Project % of Total House Value Maximum Remodel Budget
Kitchen Remodel 15% Up to $50,000
Master Bathroom Remodel 10% Up to $40,000
Complete Attic Remodel 10 -15% Up to $40,000 – 50,000
Complete Basement Remodel 10 -15% Up to $40,000 – 50,000
Small Bathroom Remodel 5% Up to $20,000
Build Patio/Deck 2 – 5% Up to $8,000 – 20,000
Replace Roof 2 – 4% Up to $8,000 – 16,000
Replace Siding 3 – 5% Up to $12,000 – 20,000
Replace Windows 3 – 4% Up tp $12,000 – 16,000
Single Room Remodel 1 – 3% Up to $4 – 12,000

The kitchen is 15% of total house value. So you would be spending no more that $50,000 on a complete kitchen remodel

A Master bathroom is 10% of the total house value. So you should spend no more than $40,000 on a complete bathroom remodel.

A Small bathroom/powder room is 5% of the total house value. So you should spend no more than $20,000 on this remodel

One room in the house (bedroom, living room, office, etc.) is valued at 1-3% of the total home value. So don’t spend more than $4,000-12,000 on renovating a single room.

Finished attic and finished basement are both valued at about 10-15% of total house value. So you should spend no more than $40,000-50,000 on either one of these remodels

Patio or deck is worth 2-5% of house value. Don’t spend more than $8,000-20,000 on installing a new deck or patio in a $400,000 house.

A roof is typically worth 2-4% of the house value. So you should spend $8,000-16,000 on the cost of a new roof.

Keep in mind that while a roof is not worth a lot per se, it can be a huge downer for your house value at the point of sale, if its an old roof or it is leaking.

So if your roof is nearing the end of its service life or has major issues, its best to replace it before you put your house up for sale.

Siding is worth 3-5% of the total home value. Spend around $12,000-20,000 on new siding.

If you are on a budget don’t just settle for cheap vinyl siding, as today there is a wide range of beautiful siding options for any price point.

Windows are worth around 3-4% of the total value of your house. So spend about $12,000-16,000 on replacement windows.

Costhelper

CostHelper is good for finding a simple summary of cost ranges and what to know about a project category. Think of Costhelper as a one-page summary. While not as in-depth as some other sites here, a quick take can be helpful and informative by providing typical cost ranges, what a particular project entails, potential discounts and other shopping tips. There are also first-hand reviews with project costs shared by community commenters.

Average cost to gut & remodel a house

The average cost to gut and remodel a house is $100,000 to $200,000, depending on the square footage and age. Gut renovation costs $60 to $150 per square foot and includes demolition, structural improvements, new electrical and plumbing, new roof and HVAC, appliances, and finishings.

Cost of gutting a house and remodeling
Renovation Average cost
Gut a house to the studs $2,500 – $7,000
Complete gut and remodel $100,000 – $200,000

Cost to gut a house

The average cost to gut a house to the studs is $2,500 to $7,000 or more, which includes permits, labor, and material disposal. If the home has asbestos inside, it costs $1,200 to $2,800 extra for safe gutting and removal.

Cost to rehab a house

The average cost to rehab a house is $20,000 to $75,000 or $20 to $50 per square foot. A full gut rehab costs $100,000 to $200,000 to remodel a house completely. Generally, the cost per square feet gets cheaper as the house size increases.

Rehabbing is a term used interchangeably with remodeling and renovating. The extent of the remodel, location, and choice of materials affect the total cost.

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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.

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Photo: istockphoto.com

How Do I Cut Renovation Costs?

One of the best ways to lower your renovation costs is to tackle home projects yourself—DIY-style. Last year, more than a third of homeowners actually did their entire renovation projects by themselves!8 Now, if you’re not comfortable handling every part on your own, you could still knock off some costs by doing one or two of these tasks yourself:

  • DIY Demolition: You could cut the first part of labor costs by ripping out old flooring, tearing down drywall or removing cabinetry—and hey, you might even have a blast doing it!
  • Shop for low-cost materials. Last year, 14% of homeowners purchased materials on their own and then hired out the labor.9 If you really want to save money, this gives you more control over how much you pay for materials. But talk this over with your contractor first, so you can make sure the materials fit your plan.
  • Hire your own subcontractors. If your job requires multiple types of contractors, your contractor might recommend subcontractors who aren’t your best option price-wise. But if you handle finding subcontractors yourself, you can hunt for the best deal. Then again, some contractors have a set team they work with, so check with your contractor first.
  • DIY paint job. It can cost anywhere between $200–800 to hire someone to paint a typical 120-square-foot room—but DIY costs $100–300!10 So you could save half the cost by picking up a brush to paint the room yourself!

Stick to Your Home Renovation Budget With DIY Projects

By taking these careful steps to plan for and reduce the cost of each part of your project, you should be able to complete your project within your remodeling budget.

To save more on labor costs, use these DIY guides to complete projects yourself:

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