3 Tips to Nail Your Renovation Budget

3 Tips to Nail Your Renovation Budget

Budgeting doesn’t sound fun.

After all, you probably see your budget as the place where your dream living space meets reality.

But what if you could make budgeting for your project fun (or at least valuable)?

What if you could make a budget that spares you stress, saves you money, and most important, gets you as close to your vision as possible?

In this post, you’ll learn 3 ways to get the most from your remodeling budget.

Research project costs in your neighborhood

Before diving into your budget, you’ll want to get a rough idea of how much your remodel will cost. Here’s why:

  1. Get a fair bid: Of course every home is different, but when contractors bid on your project, you’ll want a ballpark estimate of how much you’ll pay. This estimate helps you determine whether your contractor is low-balling you, and your contractor will appreciate that you have an idea of how much the project will cost.
  2. Determine how to pay for the project: A $10,000 renovation might have a different impact on your bank account from a $20,000 project. Getting a rough idea of costs will help you find the best payment option for your project.
  3. Search for savings: Knowing how much your project will cost helps you look for cheaper ways to accomplish your renovation goals – preventing you from compromising on the home you deserve.

How do you figure out costs?

Search on Google how much a kitchen remodel costs, and you’ll see dozens of results–each different from the other. To narrow down the results, we suggest looking at local cost data. This data accounts for unique factors in your neighborhood, and will give you a far more accurate picture than national information.

Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value report shows you city-specific data for various types of remodels. Simply find your city, fill out a short form, and then find your remodel. The process is 100% free, and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Consider other living expenses

Your renovation won’t exist in isolation from the rest of your life. From eating meals out during your kitchen remodel to living elsewhere while your bedroom gets an upgrade, remodeling your home adds extra living expenses.

Figuring out these costs, then adding them to your budget, helps you avoid surprises. First, you’ll think of parts of your renovation you may not have considered. Second, you’ll get a more accurate estimate of your project’s total monthly cost.

Include monthly payments from financing

If you get financing for your project, you’ll have to pay monthly payments that combine principal (the amount you borrowed) and interest (the cost of borrowing money).

Adding these monthly payments to your budget gets you more insights into your total spend. To figure out monthly payments using different financing options, consider using a payment options calculator that tells you monthly payments for multiple options.


After getting your ballpark cost estimate, considering how your project will affect other monthly expenses, and factoring in interest, you’ll be ready to move on to the other – more commonly known – parts of your budget:

  • Add in materials, permit applications, and labor.
  • Add in a cushion for unexpected expenses.
  • Add in additional homeowners’ insurance coverage for your project.

By getting your budget right, you can identify opportunities to save early on, reduce stress, and find creative workarounds to achieve your vision.

Before diving into your budget, you’ll want to figure out how much you can afford. Compare personal loan rates on Hearth’s secure application to get estimates of how much you’d be able to get. The process is free, doesn’t affect your credit score, and you have no obligation to get a loan.