Hidden Costs Of Remodeling A Home

If you are planning on remodeling or renovating your home, it's critical that you develop an action plan. That way, you can budget accordingly.
By Jessica Storm
Updated Dec 17, 2020
home renovations
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If you are planning on remodeling or renovating your home, it's critical that you develop an action plan. That way, you can budget accordingly.

Although home renovations are certainly an investment, adding value to your home, they are also expensive. These types of projects require due diligence, and depending on where your remodeling priorities lie, will determine how much you'll need to spend.

However, no matter how well you plan, there are almost always hidden costs associated with remodeling a home. This guide is meant to support your remodeling journey so that you end up being successful.

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6 Hidden Remodeling Costs You Need to Know

According to MoneySense, the most common interior remodels and additions occur in the kitchen, followed by the bathroom and then living/family room. When remodeling outside, the most common projects focus on roofing and windows, closely followed by deck projects.

Related: How Much Should You Budget for a Home Renovation?

Regardless of the task-at-hand, before you dive into your next project, be mindful of the following potential hidden costs -- all of which add up very quickly.

1. The hidden cost of changing your mind

This may seem rather surprising. However, changing your mind during a remodeling project is one of the most common (and frustrating) hidden costs. This is particularly true when you are paying for labor and/or contractors. As you can imagine, if you order a custom cabinet and then change your mind, materials and resources already went into making that original cabinet.

Tip: Although you can't plan for each and every possible step of a renovation project, you can ensure that large decisions aren't hastily made. Also, double check everything, especially measurements.

2. Building codes

Originally, building codes were developed in order to protect the public's health and safety. Today, there are a number of agencies that now implement codes and policies in order to ensure greater energy efficiency. This means that new building standards can equate to hidden costs.

Tip: If you have recently purchased or are currently about to renovate an older home, be sure to inquire any code changes. In most states, if you have already begun renovating and find that something is not up to code, you will be required to bring it up to code. For example, old electrical wiring is a safety hazard. This can cost thousands of dollars depending on the complexity of the job.

3. Structural changes

This can occur anywhere in the house but is particularly common in the kitchen. This is because many homeowners dream about a lovely open-concept kitchen. To make their dream a reality, they may knock out a wall, only to find that it was a structural component. According to Consumer Reports, unplanned structural changes can immediately expand your required budget by 10 to 15 percent.

Tip: Before you demo ANYTHING, be sure to discuss these types of changes with your remodeler or contractor. Yes, hiring a remodeler or even an architect is an added cost. However, hiring professional help can often save you money in the long run. When you do not personally have the required skills or knowledge, always seek a second opinion before any work begins.

4. Higher insurance

Unfortunately, this is often an afterthought, as many homeowners do not realize that a large renovation can significantly impact their homeowners insurance policy. Although regular maintenance will not typically affect your policy, such as replacing your flooring with the same material or painting the walls, any home improvements need to be discussed with your insurance company to ensure that once your project is complete, you have adequate coverage.

Tip: Understand how renovations may influence your current policy before you begin. To further assist you, here are answers to some of the most common policy questions. Basically, if you are doing any work that will add value to your home, such as creating a new bathroom or kitchen, upgrading your flooring (i.e. carpet to hardwood), or building a deck, you'll need to upgrade.

5. Any unexpected damage

Sometimes homeowners are completely unaware that pests have been living in their home. For example, you may find that termite damage has caused significant damage throughout your home. Once again, this may be an issue in terms of structural integrity. In other cases, you may find rotting wood due to previous water damage.

Tip: It is recommended that you add an extra 10 to 15 percent to your budget in order to cover unforeseen complications. If you do not encounter any issues, great! However, if you do, they will not come as a shock, quickly draining your budget unexpectedly.

6. Added expenses in regards to daily routine

If you are remodeling your kitchen, you and your family will still need to eat. Unfortunately, this means eating out for weeks if not months. Even if your kitchen remains partially intact throughout the course of the renovation, it's a job site and that means, lots of dust and debris. Others need to pay for their dogs to go into a kennel during the commotion, and in some cases, homeowners even need to stay in a hotel.

Tip: Before your renovation begins, understand what's involved and whether or not you'll have a functioning, livable space. If you don't, ask friends and family for support during this time. Also, be mindful of the anticipated timeline so that you can plan accordingly.

At the end of the day, regardless of the type of work you're doing on your home, you need to plan for hidden costs. In order to help you maximize your budget, here are 6 cheap home renovation ideas.

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