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Everything You Need To Consider When Calculating Home Renovation Costs

There could be a half dozen reasons you might want to remodel your house after you’ve had a kid. You might simply need more room. Or, you might just want to make your dump look better so you can sell the place and move to the suburbs. And of course, you might just be a masochist who thinks that parenting isn’t hard enough. So, you know, why not add dust, disruption, and industrial noises into the mix?

But you’re never going to get your remodel off the ground until you know how much you’re going to spend on it. Luckily there are some ways to figure that out.

Beware Hubris

There are a couple of things that will derail you and your budget to the point of, “Dear lord, what have I done?” Those 2 things are being overly optimistic about money and time.


According to the The 2016 Houzz & Home annual survey from, of the 70,000 users who completed a renovation in 2015, only 36 percent were able to stay on budget. And only 3 percent came under budget. That’s kind of eye opening and means most home renovators will go over.

What’s the one common thing that made the folks blow their budget? Pretty pretty things. Which is to say they were totally down with putting in a budget cabinet or a low-end toilet. That is, until only the became enamored with custom millwork or a talking poop-assistant that can clean a bottom with a fragrant spritz.

So what’s to do? Take a very honest look at your material costs while determining a budget. You can do this by scoping out material costs on the website of your favorite orange or blue big box. Then add 10 percent because you’ll probably upgrade on that towel rack.


Yeah, you’re a DIYer, so you’re not going to pay some fancy-dancy “contractor” that you find on Craigslist to do what you are man enough to do. Still, you should consider your time valuable too. Because not only is it time you’ll have to cram into a family schedule, it’s time that is going to mess with your back and drive you, occasionally, insane.

So, be sure to make a good time estimate for your project. The bonus is that you can add a contractor’s hourly fee (up to $50 per hour) and figure out what your time is actually worth. Finally you can use that same number when you get cold feet and want to seek some bids.

the money pit movie still

Some Things To Consider

To get your renovation moving in the right direction, you’ll want to do a couple things so you don’t wind up destroying your life as you work (this is not an exaggeration).

Know Average Project Costs

If you can start from a ballpark figure for adding square footage or finish a basement, you’ll have a better idea what to shoot for.

On that point, you can at least be somewhat prepared with the Houzz remodeling calculator, which collects data from more than 100,000 homeowners across the country and presents average costs per project for you region. For example, a bathroom remodel in Denver runs about $9,000, while the same project in New York or Los Angeles is closer to $17,000. The site can connect you with design professionals and contractors in your area, but the bottom line is: before you knock down that wall, think about what state that wall is in.


This one is fairly simple. Anytime you’re taking a sledge to your house, you’re probably in danger of running afoul of local building codes. So think before you decide to get into something without getting a permit. This could mess you up in the future. The least of your problems, should you be found out, is paying a fine. The worst? Having your home declared unsafe.


A good deadline will keep you motivated. But please be realistic. After all, you’re a dad. And while it’s cool for your kid to see you doing some work, it’s cooler for your kid to get to hang out with you.

Without a deadline your project may just last for years. So you definitely need one. But your kid definitely needs a dad too. So remodel while being a role model, bro.