How Much Does It Cost to Renovate a House? The Numbers You Should Know!

HOME_RENOSource: REALTOR.com

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Whether you bought a fixer-upper or moved into your home ages ago, eventually the time may come when you start itching to make some updates. And that will get you wondering: How much does it cost to renovate a house? Knowing your numbers ahead of time is crucial, lest you end up with plans that are bigger than your budget. So before you so much as eye a tile sample, check out this detailed breakdown on how much your dream upgrades will set you back.

The cost to renovate a house

The exact cost of revamping your living space will depend on its size, the region you live in, and just how much of a face-lift it needs. To get a rough idea, Than Merrill, founder of FortuneBuilders.com, says the general costs associated with a remodel look like this:

  • Low ($25,000 to $45,000): Interior and exterior painting, small repairs (like refinishing cabinets) and new landscaping.
  • Medium ($46,000 to $75,000): The low-cost upgrades above, plus a total kitchen renovation and minor bathroom upgrade.
  • High ($76,000 and up): Low- and medium-cost upgrades, plus fixing any foundation issues, roof and sewer line problems.

The largest renovation expenses

Sure, paint can play a big part in a remodel, but gallons of semi-gloss will be a drop in the bucket compared with big-ticket items for certain rooms (we’re looking at you, kitchen and bathroom). Remember, it’s the appliances and cabinets in those rooms that eat up the biggest chunk of money. Here’s what you can expect to pay for an average-sized house (about 2,500 square feet).

  • Kitchen: The national average cost of a kitchen remodel is $20,474. If a kitchen only needs minor upgrades, renovations should start at around $10,000. A full gut can reach more than $50,000, depending on the quality of materials and appliances installed, says Merrill.
  • Bathroom: A bathroom upgrade typically costs about $9,000 and tops out at $20,000. (Of course, you could spend more by adding such spalike touches as a steam shower.)
  • New roof: The cost of protecting all your upgrades from the elements will run you around $20,000.
  • New floors: Installing new wood floors will cost about $4,400, while laminate, which is less expensive, will set you back about $2,800.
  • Electrical updates: If you’re replacing an old panel and a home’s worth of outdated wiring, expect to spend $3,000 to $5,000.
  • Replacement siding: Putting new exterior siding on your home runs an average of $14,000.
  • Replacement windows: If you plan to replace 10 windows and frames to save on your energy bill, the cost will range between $8,500 (vinyl) and $20,000 (wood).
  • The contractor: Unless you plan to oversee the renovation yourself, a budget should include the cost of a general contractor. They usually charge 10% to 15% of the project’s total budget. So for a $50,000 renovation, expect to pay a contractor $5,000 to $7,500.

 

One easy way to save money on renovations is to negotiate to pay actual builder costs on finish materials, says Jesse Fowler, president of Tellus Build, a green custom-build firm in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties.

The contractor you choose should be getting a discount on retail prices, and Fowler says that this can benefit you, too, in that you can “capture some or all of those savings.”

Return on investment (ROI)

Ah, the magic words that make the pain of parting with thousands of dollars more palatable, as those big checks you write for renovations today may pay dividends if you ever sell your home.

A typical kitchen remodel typically yields an 83.1% return on investment. That means for every $1,000 you spend on those cabinets and countertops, you’ll get back $831.

Meanwhile, a bathroom renovation boasts an ROI of 65.7%, and if you go for those pricey wood-framed windows, you’ll enjoy a high ROI of 72.1%. Check here for the renovations that offer the best return on investment.

Margaret Heidenry is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Boston Magazine.