Here's How to Estimate Home Renovation and Repair Costs

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By Clever Real Estate Updated August 25, 2022


When you estimate home renovation and repair costs, you need to think about what your purpose is. Whether you’re buying or selling, you need to invest in renovations that add value. An experienced local agent can guide you.

Here’s How to Estimate Home Renovation and Repair Costs

Ask housing experts and anyone in the DIY market and they’ll tell you that there’s a rise in home renovations. That’s because homeowners realize what a good deal they can get on a home if they’re willing to put in some effort. With the proliferation of home improvement shows and YouTube tutorials, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t take some repairs and renovation work into your own hands.

With the help of an experienced local agent and the right approach to renovation, you could end up adding a lot of value to your home.

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Set your renovation priorities

If you’re looking to repair and renovate your home, you need to figure out where the most essential work is. If you’ve been dying to put in some new landscaping, you might want to make sure your foundation is in good shape first. A house that’s collapsing won’t look good, no matter how nicely the shrubs are trimmed.

Consider a point system to rate the work that needs to be done on your home. You can give a point to anything that’s inexpensive, two points to anything that’s structural, a point for anything that’s visible, and another point for anything that could become unsafe. If you have things that have five points, get them done immediately and then work your way down to the four-point issues until you get to the bottom.

Find a system to help you determine what needs to be done. While the most important things might not be the cheapest, you need to have a level of priority beyond your wallet. What good is paint job on a home that’s about to fall apart?

List your materials

The materials that you need are going to factor into how much things cost. If you’re looking at remodeling your kitchen, marble might sound nice until you start looking at the price. Finding alternative solutions can help you bring the price down.

If you don’t know how much of something you need, look it up. Rather than making multiple trips to the paint shop or having one wall that’s a slightly different shade than the others, calculate exactly how much paint you need for your next big job.

Remember that less expensive materials might not last as long. If you get twice as much life out of a material for only 10% more in price, it’s going to be worth the spend. If the better materials last twice as long but cost twice the price, then it’s all about whether or not you want to do the work again.

Labor has value

Even if you’re doing the work on your own, don’t forget that labor should translate to some kind of value. Whether you’re taking time off of work or just spending your weekend hours doing the work, there’s some kind of value to your time that you need to keep in mind.

When you hire people to work on your renovation or repair work, you have a much more tangible dollar amount that you can factor in. Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor will give you precise numbers on how much it costs to hire professionals in your area.

While you can always haggle on price, there’s going to be some kind of correlation with an hourly labor rate and the kind of work that gets done. If you hire the cheapest workers around or do everything DIY as a first-timer, you’re not going to get the kind of craftsmanship that professionals work hard to provide.

Doing extensive work

If you’re doing extensive work, you’re going to add value and equity to your home. However, if you’re not going to be living there for long, the work might not be worthwhile.

If you’re deciding to knock down a wall or add square footage, expect to pay up to $500 for that job. Demolition and removal are pricey and if you’re getting rid of a load bearing wall that keeps your home together it could be costly.

Working on your basement can be very expensive, whether you’re merely cleaning it up or trying to turn it into a finished room. Expect to pay at least $10,000 if not double or more. It depends on how big your basement is and what kind of fixtures you need to have added.

For any kind of plumbing, electrical, or structural work, you’ll have to pay upwards of $150 an hour. Plumbers and electricians are going to be charging you by the hour and expect to cover all of your own materials as well. For adding an addition, just the engineer creating the plans will run you around $500.

That’s not to mention the cost of permits for your project, which adds an additional $1,000 to the cost.

Preparing the home for sale

If you’re simply preparing your home for sale, you’re going to want to do work in the spaces that are going to yield the biggest return. The rooms most likely to give you a return are the kitchen and the bathroom.

Some kitchen remodeling is fairly straightforward and mostly entails adding new appliances, cleaning up cabinets, adding new countertops, and painting a backsplash here and there. It’s an endeavor where you can make your dollar stretch and end up seeing a lot of it back in return.

For homeowners trying to sell, bathrooms are another great room to invest in. Nearly every dollar that you spend in your bathroom will come back to you. The more than you invest in making it easy to clean and nice to relax in, the more you’ll see in return.

Another overlooked element in renovations is the heating and cooling system. New homeowners are sensitive to their carbon footprint as well as their utility costs. If you can update or at least repair your system, you’re more likely to seal the deal.

Figure out your financing

Figuring out how to pay for your repairs and renovations can be complicated if you don’t have the cash on hand. Thankfully, your home’s value can fund its own repair and renovation.

A home equity line of credit or HELOC is a credit account that a lender allows you to draw from up to a certain limit. Much like a credit card, you’ll have a limit of x-amount of dollars and as long as you pay it down, you can keep borrowing.

A home equity loan is based on how much you’ve paid into your home. If you’re just doing one major renovation, this is the way to go. If you’re working with an experienced realtor and buying a place to do some DIY work on, they can help guide you into making the right choice.

Be thorough when you estimate home renovation and repair costs

Whether you’re buying or selling a home that needs repairs, you need to estimate home renovation and repair costs carefully. Once you start doing the work, it could become a costly endeavor if you’re not careful.

An experienced realtor will help to guide you as to which renovations are most valuable and which are unnecessary, whether you’re buying or selling. Contact us today to be paired with a Clever Partner Agent who can help you figure out which renovations are ideal for your home.

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