A home that suited your needs 10 years ago may no longer be the best fit. Though you can sell your home and move into a more suitable one, you can also remodel your home to fit your current needs. Renovating a 2,000-square-foot home costs an average of $40,000–$300,000, depending on the project’s extent. We at the This Old House Reviews team have broken down each price factor and provided saving tips.
Home Renovation Cost
Home renovation is an umbrella term that includes several home improvement projects, from adding new paint or wallpaper to gutting a house down to the studs. The total cost of your project depends on numerous factors, so it’s a good idea to start with a budget in mind and decide which factors are most important to you.
Factors Affecting Cost
Here are the major factors that determine your renovation cost:
- Size: The larger the area you renovate, the more it will cost.
- Type: Some rooms or features are more costly to remodel than others.
- Labor: About half of professional remodeling costs go toward labor.
- Location: Renovation costs more in areas where cost of living is higher.
Cost by Size
Size isn’t the best way to estimate home renovation costs, as some rooms cost much more to renovate than others. Renovations fall between a wide range of $20–$150 per square foot.
A low-end renovation ($20–$60 per square foot) keeps your home’s structure — including the roof and walls — intact. These renovations primarily use synthetic materials such as laminate and vinyl, plus prefabricated units for things such as cabinetry and shower stalls. A mid-range renovation ($60–$100 per square foot) includes upgrades to home appliances and systems.
A high-end renovation ($100–$150 per square foot) usually includes structural changes as well as luxury appliances and materials such as hardwood or natural stone. It may also consist of a full gut and remodel of an older home.
Cost by Renovation Types
The individual remodeling project or projects you choose also play a large role in the total cost. Expanding your home’s square footage by adding a room has the highest price tag. A kitchen remodel is typically more expensive than other rooms since it includes many appliances and heavy-duty materials. Basement and bathroom remodels are also pricier.
About half of professional home remodeling costs go toward labor. The exact contractors you need depend on the project, and trades that require licensing in your state typically cost more. Pricing may be done by the project or by the hour. Hiring a general contractor to oversee the project will cost an additional 10% to 20% of the total cost.
Cost by Location
Your location also impacts renovation costs. Heavily populated urban areas usually cost the most. For example, Bay Area residents may pay up to 40% more than people living in Alabama or Mississippi. Very rural areas might also incur higher costs if contractors need to travel or transport materials over long distances.
Here are some averages for a few common remodeling jobs in different parts of the country.
Additional Cost Considerations
Here are some other factors that impact how much your home renovation will cost.
Age of Home
Older homes are often more costly to renovate. The home’s structure may need more repair or require retrofitting for new amenities and appliances. These homes may also contain asbestos building materials, which must be removed or encapsulated. This is an expensive process. Finally, if your home is a historic building, there are additional costs associated with preserving or recreating its original appearance.
Changing Wall Structure
Any time you change your home’s layout, you’ll need to hire a structural engineer to ensure these changes are structurally sound. A consultation costs between $300 and $700. Removing load-bearing walls is more expensive and complex than other walls, so plan for this as you budget. It can cost up to $10,000 to remove a load-bearing wall.
If you’re undertaking a whole-home renovation, you’ll probably need at least one building permit. All structural changes and additions require a permit, as does most plumbing and electrical work. Permits can run anywhere from $400–$1,800. Check with your city’s building department for more specific information.
Preparing for a Renovation
Large renovation jobs often require some preparation. You may need to remove landscaping features so trucks can access your home or put furniture in storage. You may also want to consult with an interior design professional to plan what the finished product will look like. Preparation for a whole-home renovations costs about $1,200–$4,000.
It’s wise to budget for repairs even if your home appears to be in good shape. You can’t always know what repairs are necessary until contractors start digging into your walls, floors, or roof. Plan for budget overages in advance so you don’t have a nasty surprise in the middle of the process. Here are some major structural repairs and their average costs.
- Foundation repair: $2,000 to $7,500
- HVAC repair: $2,000 to $3,000
- Rewiring: $6 to $10 per square foot
- Roof repair: $300 to $15,000
- Roof replacement: $8,500 to $14,300
- Sewer line replacement: $3,000 to $6,000
- Water heater replacement: $850 to $3,500
Signs That You Need to Renovate
Sometimes, it’s obvious when you need to remodel. Here are some signs that it’s time.
- You want to increase your home’s resale value before selling.
- The number of people in your home has changed.
- Your home no longer suits your lifestyle.
- Your utility bills are high because of low energy efficiency.
- The layout is inconvenient or inefficient.
- You haven’t updated your home’s style in 10 years or more.
- Your appliances are outdated or frequently broken.
- You love your home’s location but want an aesthetic change.
Free quote: Get your quote from a professional today
Professional vs. DIY
Some homeowners might be tempted to save money on labor costs by performing a home renovation themselves. While small projects may be within a seasoned DIYers’ (do-it-yourselfer) scope, most large renovation projects should be completed by professionals.
Any projects involving structural changes must be completed by a professional contractor. A pro will know how to preserve the integrity of your home’s structure and meet all necessary local building codes. Additionally, you’ll need licensed electricians and plumbers to make any changes to your home’s wiring and plumbing. These specialty trades require a great deal of training and experience.
A professional can also complete the job faster and more effectively than if you tried to do it yourself. Professional contractors can often help you get better prices on materials by working with wholesalers. Careful adherence to code will ensure you preserve your home value, and most pros offer guarantees on their work, increasing your peace of mind.
If you have the time and the patience, you can complete some small renovation projects yourself. For example, you may be able to do some of the finishing, such as replacing faucets or repainting interior walls. You may also be able to install prefabricated kitchen cabinets, countertops, or light fixtures.
Still, it pays to leave the big changes to the pros. A recent NBC News survey found that 55% of DIYers were disappointed with the look of their finished project, and the same percentage found that the project took much longer than expected. Be honest with yourself about the limits of your time and abilities.
How To Hire a Professional
You may need to hire a number of different contractors for your remodel, but the steps to finding a trustworthy professional are mostly the same no matter the trade.
- Make sure the contractor’s license is up to date if your state requires one.
- Make sure the contractor is bonded and insured to protect both parties.
- Check the contracting company’s page on the Better Business Bureau website.
- Ask for references from previous customers and read reviews on sites such as Yelp and Trustpilot.
- Request estimates from at least three contractors or companies. Be wary of any prices that are much higher or lower than the others.
How To Save on Home Renovation
Even if you hire professionals for the bulk of your project, you can save money without cutting corners on important costs.
- Create a budget before you start and build in room for overages. Plan for at least 10% in unforeseen overruns.
- Stick with the existing floor plan. Making structural or layout changes is expensive.
- Use synthetic materials such as vinyl and laminate. These can mimic the look of more expensive materials such as wood or stone but cost less.
- Choose prefabricated building materials over customized units whenever possible.
- Talk to your contractors to see if you can do your own demolition at the beginning and clean-up at the end.
- Look into refinishing your existing hardwood floors instead of installing new flooring.
- Take on DIY finishing tasks such as installing backsplash or laying tile. These are jobs that often require more time than skill, so doing it yourself will save on labor.
Home renovation can be as big or small of a project as your budget allows. Some cosmetic projects are DIY-friendly, but you’ll want to hire professionals to design and implement any jobs that change your home’s structure or floor plan. Additionally, plan your budget carefully and stick to it as much as possible. Every remodeling project comes with surprises, so having patience and extra room in the budget will make it a more pleasant experience.
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