The best part of home remodeling? Enjoying a fresh and visually distinctive space that reflects your own aesthetic preferences and personal touches.

The worst part of home remodeling? Paying for it.

Calculating the budget for your upcoming remodel is important. You don’t want to stretch yourself too thin by accidentally starting a remodel you can’t truly afford. You may come out the other end of the project with too little in reserve for home maintenance; or worse, run out of money with a partially remodeled home.

Determining your remodel budget can be as easy as asking your contractor. They know what labor and materials both cost, and they have a pretty good notion of what you can achieve with a budget of X, Y or Z.

But perhaps you’d like to estimate your remodeling project’s budget before you begin shopping around for contractors. Here’s how it’s done!


Start With a Ballpark Estimate

Remodeling costs usually range from $10 to $60 per square foot. Certain rooms (namely kitchens and bathrooms) can easily exceed $100 per square foot when they’re being extensively renovated.

According to HomeGuide, these are the average costs of different remodeling projects:

  • Bedroom – $1,500 – $10,000
  • Living room – $1,500 – $10,000
  • Bathroom – $5,000 – $25,000
  • Kitchen – $10,000 – $50,000
  • Basement – $20,000 – $75,000
  • Whole house (low-end) – $15,000 – $40,000
  • Whole house (mid-range) – $40,000 – $75,000
  • Whole house (high-end) – $75,000 – $200,000


Determine How Much You Can Safely Spend

Getting a $200,000 whole-house remodel certainly sounds nice, although actually paying that much is outside the scope of most Americans’ household budgets.

What is the most that you, personally, can spend on a remodel? That largely depends on how much your house is worth. As a general rule, you should avoid spending more than 10-15% of your home’s value on a single one of its rooms. If you own a $400,000 house, that means you should cap your kitchen or bathroom remodel budget at $60,000. If it exceeds that figure, then your remodel is likely to yield a lower return on investment should you ever decide to sell your home.

This is important: whatever you’re able to spend on a remodel, set 15% of that money aside as an emergency fund. Hopefully your remodel goes off without a hitch; but if it doesn’t, an emergency fund can spell the difference between a completed and an indefinitely prolonged project.


Determine Your Budget

Now that you have a rough idea of average remodeling costs – and how much you should cap your spending at – you can begin determining the budget for your project.

  • Write down every feature your remodel will include
  • Select appliances, fixtures, and all construction materials your remodel will require (including smaller items, e.g. painter’s tape and outlet covers)
  • Add up combined costs of all materials (including shipping, taxes, delivery and disposal fees)
  • Multiply total material costs by 1.3 to include labor fees
  • Add extra living expenses (e.g. food delivery while you are without a kitchen, or a hotel stay if you’re doing a whole-house remodel)

Remember: at least 15% of the money you can dedicate to a remodel should be set aside as a rainy day fund! Also, don’t underestimate your DIY powers. Even if you’re not particularly handy, you can probably offset some of your labor costs by doing your own demolition and painting.

Using the above method won’t yield the exact final cost of your remodel. But it will give you a realistic estimate, which will be very helpful to keep in mind while you reach out to contractors for their estimates.

You should ask for bids from more than one contractor. You’ll want to ignore bids when they’re significantly higher than your reasonable estimate. You’ll also want to avoid bids that are substantially lower. Low bids may seem appealing, but they’re indicative of contractors who wind up going way over the agreed upon budget (either by mistake or by intent).

Of course, if you live in Central Minnesota, then you can just cut to the chase and choose the best contractor right off the bat. We welcome you to contact Wensmann Contractors today! We’re standing by to help you determine a realistic budget for any remodel – however simple or multifaceted it may be – and we’re always available to provide a free estimate.