How to Stay on Budget While Remodeling

It seems like an unwritten rule: whenever you start a remodeling project, it will always go over budget. But that doesn’t have to be the reality. With smart planning and strict discipline, you can complete a successful remodel without breaking the bank. Here’s how to do it.

Start with a Realistic Ballpark Figure

Figuring out how much you have to spend is the first step in any big project. Whether you have saved up money in a bank account or need to take out a loan, you need to have a starting point. Once you know how much you have to spend, you can start generalizing a budget. Research online and get a feel for how much each project will cost.

Get Quotes from Contractors

Even if you plan to do the remodeling yourself, contractors are a great source of information. Specialized contractors will know about how long each different project will take – and about how much it will cost. If you’re looking to hire out the job, get quotes from several different contractors to consider your options.

Be Specific about What You Want

The more specific your design plan, the easier it will be to stay on budget. Having specific plans will also help when getting quotes from the contractors. If your plans are too general, this can lead to contractors “filling in the blanks” on details – also know as allowances. This includes things like what kind of light fixtures you want or different flooring materials. Misunderstanding or miscommunications can result in extra expenses later on. Knowing exactly what you want and communicating that clearly with the contractors will help everyone stay on the same page.


Think about which part of the project is most important to you. Usually, this has to do with projects that will increase the home’s value such as a wooden deck or renovated kitchen. Prioritizing will help keep you on track to make sure the most important things get done first. The budget will be centered on the main projects, and whatever is left over can be used for the smaller add-ons.

Expect the Unexpected

Here is where remodel budgets can get thrown out the window. How many times do you start a project and find something you didn’t expect? Almost always. If you don’t build a cushion into your budget, these unexpected problems can end up costing you more than you planned for. It is said that to be on the safe side, you should add about 20% extra to your budget to offset these potential costs.

Pitch In

A little DIY never hurt anybody. Try and tackle some of the simpler projects yourself. Not only will it give you a sense of pride in your work, but it can help save on some labor costs as well. Simple DIY projects would include things like pulling up carpet or painting. Just make sure you leave the harder projects to the professionals to ensure it is done correctly.

Stick to the Plan

“While we’re at it….” Those four little words are said to be some of the most expensive words during a remodeling project. It is tempting to add on here and there in the middle of a project, especially if they just seem like small additions. But if you want to stick to your budget, you must resist the urge.

Creating a budget for a remodel is hard. Sticking to it is even harder. But rest assured, with careful planning, and disciplined execution, your remodel project will run smoothly and effectively.

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About the Author

Shannon Jones has been selling real estate since 1998 and specializes in listing and marketing homes. She has consistently been one of the top Realtors in the Long Beach area. Prior to her award-winning career in real estate with the Shannon jones Team, Shannon has had successful careers in journalism and public relations. She holds a bachelors degree from UC Irvine and a masters degree from UC Berkeley. Shannon holds E-Pro, CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert), and PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) certifications. Shannon is very personable and maintains a very strong moral compass, always putting the best interest of home buyers/sellers above monetary goals. A California native, Shannon enjoys gardening, travel, reading, cooking and poker when she’s not selling homes MY DESIGNATIONS Lic# 01247705 | CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) | E-Pro | PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) MY SERVICE AREAS Anaheim Bellflower Buena Park Carson Cerritos Cypress Downey Fountain Valley Garden Grove Huntington Beach La Palma Lakewood Long Beach Los Alamitos Los Angeles County Norwalk Orange County Rossmoor San Pedro Seal Beach Signal Hill South Bay Westminster

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