How much will it really cost you to remodel your home?


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In the world of HGTV renovation shows, remodeling a home might look like a breeze. Interior design pros tackle a home in 30 minutes (including commercial breaks) and finish on time—miraculously under budget.

But, real life is rarely like reality TV. Home remodels can sometimes be complicated, and costly. Coming up with a budget beforehand could help avoid the headaches and hard choices that can crop up down the line.

Ready to start calculating a potential dream home remodel? Turn off the home renovation show, grab a calculator, and read on.

There’s no one “magic number” a person can bank on when it comes to the cost of a home renovation.
However, there are several factors that a homeowner can take into account when budgeting for a home remodel: high-end vs low-end, type of home and rooms renovated.

Related: Home improvement cost calculator

Factors of a home remodel cost

High-end versus low-end renovation

A renovation of a 2,500 square foot home could cost anywhere between $25,000 and $150,000 on average. The variation in price stems mostly from the scale of the projects. According to HomeAdvisor, a homeowner can expect to generally complete the following within each budget range:

•   Low-end ($15,000-$45,000). A renovation of this size would include small changes, such as new paint and fresh landscaping. It might also include inexpensive finishes, such as new counters and flooring.
•   Middle-end ($46,000-$70,000). In addition to the low-end projects, a middle-end home renovation includes full room remodels, like a bathroom and kitchen, as well as a higher quality flooring than the low-end renovation.
•   High-end ($71,000-$200,000). A high-end budget would include the low- and middle-end projects, as well as high-quality finishes including custom cabinetry and new appliances. It might also include improvements to the foundation, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.

As a homeowner begins to identify what rooms they want to upgrade and to what extent, they will begin to customize their renovation budget. Just one in five homeowners finish renovations under budget, so it’s recommended to pad estimates in the event of unexpected costs.

Type and age of home

Older homes will typically need more TLC during the renovation process. Once walls and floors are opened up, a homeowner might realize the wiring and plumbing is outdated and should be brought up to code.

While a person’s home won’t be unsellable if everything isn’t up to code, there could be issues with financing because generally, lenders will not close on a home where health and safety issues are identified.

People may decide that adhering to building standards ensures the work is up to code and that it’s a safe renovation. That can involve time, money and work, hence why sometimes older homes can involve more work than the average renovation.

If a person’s home is old enough to be considered “historic” in their town or community, they’ll want to be careful about the changes they make. Depending on where a person lives, they’ll likely need to adhere to their city’s guidelines to make sure their home still falls into the “historic“ categorization, even after a remodel.

Designated historic properties in states like Connecticut could boost a home’s value between 4% and 19%, on average.

Depending upon the condition of the home and any past upgrades, a home’s age can have an impact on the cost of renovation, but so too can the type of home, regardless of age.

HomeAdvisor estimates that Victorian homes generally cost the most to renovate per square foot at up to $200, and that farmhouses and townhouses tend to have the lowest cost per square foot, between $10-$35.

Typical renovation costs by room

For many homeowners, a dream renovation would cover every inch of the home, but for the budget-conscious, that might not be possible.

When it comes to renovation expenses, generally, not every room is created equally. Rooms with cabinets and appliances tend to be the priciest—think bathrooms and kitchens.

Kitchen remodel

The typical range for the cost of remodeling a kitchen comes in between $13,052-$37,026, but kitchens can have the most variation when it comes to cost, depending on finishes, appliances, and projects.

Here’s what a homeowner could expect to overhaul in a kitchen based on the budget range  :

•   Low-end ($5,000-$30,000). New lighting, faucet, coat of paint, refreshed trim and a new yet budget-friendly sink backsplash. This also might include knocking down walls or a counter extension project.
•   Middle-end ($30,000-$60,000). This budget could include new appliances, floors and tiled backsplash to the sink. It might also include new cabinets and mid-range priced countertops.
•   High-end ($65,000+). When the budget expands for a kitchen, the projects start to take on custom finishes. A high-end budget would likely include custom cabinets, high-end countertops like stone or granite, and expensive appliances. Other projects might include new lighting, hardwood flooring, and new faucet fixtures.

Because a kitchen can be so customizable and include so many levels of finishes, the budget could fluctuate greatly.

Bathroom remodel

Bathrooms take on a similar budgeting structure. The typical range for the cost of a bathroom remodel is between $5,989-$14,964, but that includes a range of projects and features.

For example, new cabinets in a bathroom can account for up to 30% of the budget. Other big-ticket items come in a range of prices based on low-end versus high-end finishes.

On the low-end, a new bathtub might cost just $400, but if a homeowner is looking for a high-end tub, they could pay upwards of $8,000. The final cost will likely hinge on the homeowner’s decision on their budget range.

Bedroom and living room remodel

Budgeting a bedroom remodel can be a little more cut and dry since it generally doesn’t include as many costly fixtures as a person might find in the bathroom or kitchen. A homeowner can expect to tackle a bedroom for about $7,880, on average.

This typically includes new carpet, windows, door and refreshed molding. It might also include new heating, insulation and updated wiring and lighting. But this budget doesn’t account for new furnishings in the bedroom, like a bed or wardrobe.

Remodeling a master suite could cost a bit more since it typically includes a bathroom and bedroom renovation. If a homeowner wants to add or expand a closet in the master suite, they can estimate adding around $1,500 to $2,000 to the room’s budget, on top of the bathroom and bedroom.

A living room remodel can cost between $1,500-$5,500, on average. Like the bedroom, living rooms tend to lack the “wet” features like plumbing and appliances, that can drive up the cost of the bathroom and kitchen.

If a living room has a fireplace feature, homeowners can expect to spend a bit more. Looking to add a fireplace? That could add at least $2,000 to the room.

Exterior remodel

Updating roofing and refreshing the exterior of a home is commonly part of a renovation. A new roof could cost $20,000, on average, but will vary depending on materials.

Adding new siding to a home will typically cost around $14,000, but will once again fluctuate based on the material used. Painting the exterior of a home will cost between $1,710 and $4,000.

Of course, depending on the degree to which each room is remodeled, the estimates could vary. DIY-ing projects in various rooms could also help bring down the budget.

Other remodel considerations

A remodel isn’t just financial spreadsheets. There are other considerations a homeowner may want to consider before taking a sledgehammer to a room.


A renovation could take anywhere from a few days to a few months, so a homeowner may want to plan their timeline accordingly. It might be tempting to duck out of town when big projects are underway, but staying around means the homeowner could monitor projects and provide answers if any unexpected issues arise.

Additionally, renovations can be stressful and might be best scheduled around other big life events. For example, homeowners might think twice about a full home remodel that coincides with nuptials, or a baby on the way. Of course, unexpected events could arise, but there may be no need to pile on projects when so much is going on.

Who is the renovation for?

Before diving deep into plans, homeowners may want to consider who the renovation is for. Is it for the homeowner to enjoy decades from now, or is it to make the house more marketable for a future sale? The renovation could take a different shape depending on a homeowner’s answer.

If the remodel is just for the homeowner, then they might choose fixtures based on personal taste, or might decide to splurge on high-end bathroom features that they’ll enjoy for years.

On the other hand, if the homeowner plans to sell within a few years, they may consider tackling projects that have the greatest return on investment (ROI). That could mean prioritizing projects like a kitchen update or bathroom remodel.

Not sure about a project’s resale value? SoFi’s home project value estimator can be a useful tool to help determine the approximate resale value of a home improvement project.

Delays and unforeseen expenses

Homeowners might expect the unexpected when undergoing a remodel. Unexpected delays could extend the timeline, or emergency expenses could drive a project over budget.

As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended for homeowners to pad their budget by at least 10% for emergencies or unexpected costs.

Financing a remodel

Coming up with the capital to finance a remodel can be daunting enough to make some homeowners abandon the whole process. However, there are multiple avenues homeowners can explore to start the remodel of their dreams.

Out of pocket

Homeowners who take on small renovations and have liquid savings might decide to pay for everything out of pocket. This means no debt or interest rates to contend with.

However, paying cash for a large project can be challenging for some, and might lead to cutting corners on important elements in an effort to keep costs down. Plus, unexpected emergency costs could drive the homeowner into unexpected debt.

Out of pocket is possible for some homeowners, but it’s not the only way to pay for a remodel.

From friends or family

Another alternative is to borrow money from family members or friends. While this saves homeowners from having to deal with loan applications and approvals, and potentially provides more flexible terms, it can come with its own share of issues, such as risking the relationship if the borrower is unable to pay back the lender (in this case, family or friends).

Homeowners may want to carefully consider the effect borrowing money for a remodel might have on a relationship, and make sure there are plans in place in case the money can’t be repaid.

Additionally, loans from family members may be considered gifts by the IRS (and may be taxable), so it’s best to discuss with a tax professional before proceeding.


HELOC, or Home Equity Line of Credit, allows homeowners to pull a certain amount of equity out of their home to finance things like renovations.

Qualifying for a HELOC depends on several factors, including the outstanding mortgage amount on the home, the market value of the home, and the owner’s financial profile.

HELOCs typically come with an initial low-interest rate, and a homeowner generally has the option to only pay interest on the amount they’ve actually withdrawn.

However, they could also have high upfront costs, and can come with a variable interest rate with annual and lifetime rate caps.

Personal loan

If a homeowner doesn’t have the cash on hand or enough equity in their home for a HELOC, then a personal loan might be a consideration.

An unsecured personal loan is generally an unsecured installment loan that isn’t attached to a person’s home equity, and typically can be funded faster than secured loans and with fewer or no upfront fees.

Personal loans might be a good option for people who recently bought their homes, need capital quickly for unexpected personal reasons, or need a loan for their home improvement project.

Learn more:

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A home stager’s 5 secrets for selling your house


It’ll likely sell a lot faster if you made some simple, but effective updates.

That doesn’t mean filling every available wall with framed art and every flat surface with knickknacks. It also doesn’t mean replacing your appliances and furniture with higher-end stuff. A few simple changes will give prospective buyers a chance to dream about their new lives.

“We want to create a product that the buyer can emotionally attach to,” said Andi Hurley, a home stager with Premier Home Staging in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

When it comes to home staging, less really is more, and it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It can cost anywhere from $500 to $600 per room, per month to use a professional stager. But the median total amount spent on home staging is only $400, according to the 2019 Profile of Staging from the National Association of Realtors.

Why staging your home can cost you

Why is this? Some homeowners hire a stager just to do a report on what needs to be done, rather than have the stager rent them furniture and accessories. This service typically costs between $300 to $600. Basic staging tactics are also fairly simple and can often be done using what the homeowners already have, plus a little sweat equity.

Here are a couple of examples.

When Hurley first started working as a stager in 2012, almost all her work came from realtor referrals. But now, she hears from quite a few homeowners, some of whom call her before they even think about listing their houses. The popularity of TV shows like “Staged to Perfection” and “Property Brothers” have made people realize how a few changes to your home can result in faster and more profitable sales, Hurley said.

But the staging process doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can be summed up in five “D”s …


Deposit Photos


It’s tough to look at our own homes objectively. We no longer notice little drywall divots, dated kitchen cabinets or the faint odors our pets have left in the carpet. We may love overstuffed, brightly colored furniture and bold paint choices – but not everyone does.

“We’re staging for the unknown buyer,” Hurley said. “We want to open the market, not narrow it down.”

If you hire a home stager to do a report, do not take the suggestions personally. The home will sell faster if you make it visually accessible to the broadest possible market.

If you’re planning on doing the inspection yourself? Have a couple of friends come over and walk through the place and point out small imperfections (like those drywall divots) or larger issues (like those teal ceilings).

After you have your report, fix them. After all, potential buyers can better imagine their own stuff in your minimalist space – but they can’t unsee that family room with its crimson walls and trio of sofas.

Two tips for neutralizing the space:

  • Paint. A couple of coats can do wonders toward making rooms feel larger and cleaner (as well as less jarring).
  • Judicious use of color. A too-bare place can look sterile, so focus on what Hurley calls “movable color” – art, accessories, accent pillows that provide a little pop of color without overwhelming the eye.

Here are the paint colors that can help you sell your house.


Remove family photos, trophies, framed diplomas and other personal items. The goal is to let a potential buyer imagine themselves in their new home, rather than to feel like a guest in yours.

Hurley also suggests packing away religious or political items. A political sign in front of your home or a religious shrine inside it can feel off-putting to some buyers, she said.

Here’s the best time to sell your home.


Rawpixel / istockphoto


You’re moving, so you need to pack anyway. Get started now. Personal items can get boxed up along with collectibles, knickknacks and hobby items.

Unless you’re a minimalist, it’s likely that some of your furniture also needs to be packed away. Rearrange what’s left so that there’s as much room as possible to move around a space. This lets potential buyers think about where they could put their own stuff.

If at all possible, don’t store your furniture in the garage. Potential buyers need to get an idea of how they’d use that space, too, which they can’t do if it’s full of chairs and boxes. You’ll also need to declutter your pantry, cabinets and all closets. Aim to take out at least one-third of your dishes, cookware, linens and clothing.

“Storage is very important to buyers,” Hurley said. “If it’s wall-to-wall clothes and shoes, it looks like there’s no space.”

Tips for decluttering a space:

  • Use this as your chance to finally deal with all the junk you’ve accumulated. Get ruthless about donating or tossing. Here are some tips on tidying up your space.
  • Invite friends over to claim things you don’t want to take with you. One man’s trash…
  • Rent a storage space until it’s time to move.


trekandshoot / istockphoto


Selling a house and packing to move are very stressful. It’s tempting to skimp on (or skip out on) cleaning and minor repairs. But don’t do this — the more items you move out of the space, the more issues could come to light.

“Buyers only know what they see,” Hurley said. Someone who walks into a house with noticeable carpet stains might turn right around and walk back out.

Your home likely needs a seriously deep cleaning, not just a vacuuming and dusting. Pay special attention to appliances, because buyers sometimes open refrigerator and oven doors.

Aim to make the place look brand-new. If you can’t do that level of cleaning, hire a service. Your real estate agent can likely recommend one.

The outside of your home might need some help, too. Power-wash the deck or pavers, weed the flowerbeds and prune the shrubs.


fizkes / istockphoto


Attention to certain details can turn a dated look into a more modern one. Replace those light fixtures. Paint the cabinetry.

“Little things make a difference,” Hurley said.

While a clean, minimalist look has broad appeal, choose a few careful accent pieces. A staged house doesn’t necessarily mean everything off the walls and all surfaces. But the place shouldn’t look like a furniture store, either.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of money. We want you to invest your dollars where they’ll do the most good,” Hurley said.

Want more tips? Here’s a guide to selling your home.

This article originally appeared on Policygenius and was syndicated by


KatarzynaBialasiewicz / istockphoto


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