If there’s one thing you can count on during a remodel, it’s that the project will go over budget. There are things you can do to minimize the chances of that happening and you can just add another 10 or 15% to your budget with the expectation that you’ll need it. Beyond that, it’s helpful to know what things are likely to cause your project to go over budget before you start.
Changing your mind
One of the most common reasons projects go over budget is that homeowners can’t make up their mind. The more you change your mind during the course of the project, the more it’s going to cost. Of all the things on this list, this is the one that you as the homeowner have the most control over. The first tip to avoid this happening is to do a lot of planning before beginning a project. If you’ve considered all your options, you’ll be more sure about what you’ve decided on. If a new idea does occur to you mid-project, remind yourself that you were happy enough with your original plan and stick with it.
Projects that reveal your home’s structure
Any time you’re making structural changes, it will involve tearing out drywall or ripping up flooring or knocking down walls entirely. This often leads to unpleasant discoveries like mold, water damage, faulty wiring, shoddy workmanship, or pests. All of these, will incur additional expenses you weren’t planning on. You can avoid these kinds of projects altogether and remember that ignorance is bliss, but then again, it might be nice to find out about these problems sooner than later.
Adhering to local building codes
Building codes change all the time and if you have an older home, there’s a good chance that while contractors are working on a remodeling project, they’ll find violations of that code. When this happens, contractors are obligated to address these issues or risk losing their license. These additional projects all add to the cost of the remodel.
This isn’t exactly an unexpected cost but it’s something most homeowners forget to consider when planning their remodeling budget so it’s worth mentioning. Utility bills are often higher during a remodeling project because doors may be left open to allow workers to come and go freely and the power tools and other equipment contractors will be using will draw a lot of electricity.
Another expense that’s often overlooked is the cost of boarding your pets. If you have pets in your home, it may not be feasible to keep them in the home during the remodel since their lives will be disrupted by the comings and goings of strange people and the loud noises throughout the day. If you plan to board your pets during the remodel, you need to add that cost to your budget.
If you’re remodeling your kitchen, you may not have appliances to cook at home. That doesn’t leave you with too many options. You can live on cold cereal or you can order in or dine out. These are considerably more expensive that preparing your own food so it’s a good idea to estimate the cost of dining out during the project and add it to the budget.
To avoid unexpected costs
If your home improvement budget is tight and you can’t afford any unexpected costs, you might be better off selecting projects that have virtually no chance of going wrong. You might swap out some light fixtures or install snap-on baseboard radiator covers. They’re easy, inexpensive projects you can do yourself and you won’t go over budget.