How Much It Costs to Renovate a House

Frances Lawson

Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as “Credible.” With so many popular […]

Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as “Credible.”

With so many popular home renovation shows on TV, you might be feeling inspired to take on a remodeling project of your own. It’ll take much longer than 30 minutes in real life, and it’ll be a lot more stressful when you’re the one hiring the contractors and making the design choices. But the results will — hopefully — be a house that looks exactly the way you want it to.

Before you get started, though, you’ll need to figure out how much your desired projects will cost and how to pay for them.

Here’s what you need to know about funding your next home renovation:

How much does it cost to renovate a house?

Your final cost will ultimately depend on a number of different factors, including the type of project you want to take on, the materials and labor you use, and your location.

The following estimated remodeling costs are based on a city with an average cost of living (we used Atlanta for this example) and actual project cost data from home renovation websites Houzz and HomeAdvisor.

  Low-end budget Mid-range budget High-end budget
Kitchen $6,000 $23,000 $76,000
Bathroom $3,000 $10,000 $41,000
Living room $1,000 $6,000 $28,000
Bedroom $600 $4,000 $35,000
Home office $700 $3,000 $12,000
Basement $4,000 $27,000 $50,000
Patio and landscaping $1,000 $5,000 $40,000
Roofing $4,000 $9,000 $19,000
Exterior painting $800 $3,800 $6,700

Check Out: 18 Home Improvement Projects You Can Wrap Up in a Day

How to pay for a home renovation

The least expensive way to fund a home renovation is to build up your savings and pay cash. However, many people find it difficult to amass the savings required for a major renovation because they’re trying to accomplish other goals, like saving for retirement or their kids’ college tuition.

On top of that, you’ll always want to have plenty of cash savings on hand for an emergency.

Instead, people often borrow money to pay for home renovations. Borrowing can be quite affordable when you have good credit and enough home equity to borrow against.

Cash-out refinance

A cash-out refinance replaces your existing mortgage with a larger mortgage that has a lower interest rate. Your new lender will pay off your existing mortgage, then give you the difference between your existing mortgage balance and your new loan amount in cash. You can spend this cash on anything.

Pros

  • Get a lower rate on your first mortgage
  • Can be one of the least expensive ways to borrow

Cons

  • Your home is the loan collateral, meaning you could lose your home if you fail to make payments
  • Closing costs can be high since you’re borrowing so much

It’s smart to compare rates with multiple lenders if you decide to go with a cash-out refinance for your next home improvement. You can do this easily with Credible — you’ll be able to see your prequalified refinance rates in only three minutes and you don’t even have to leave our platform.

Get the cash you need and the rate you deserve

  • Compare lenders
  • Get cash out to pay off high-interest debt
  • Prequalify in just 3 minutes

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Also See: Should You Refinance to Pay for Home Improvements?

HELOC

A HELOC allows you to borrow against your home equity and establish a line of credit that you can borrow against as needed. While these loans usually have variable interest rates, sometimes you have the option to lock in a fixed rate on your HELOC.

Pros

  • Payments may be interest only at first, keeping your short-term costs low
  • Closing costs are usually low, and sometimes the lender will pay them

Cons

  • Payments can grow substantially once you start repaying principal, especially if your variable rate has gone up
  • A HELOC is secured by your home, so falling behind on payments could mean losing your home

Home equity loan

A home equity loan lets you borrow against your home’s value to receive a lump sum with a fixed interest rate. Just like a HELOC, it’s a type of second mortgage.

Pros

  • Closing costs are usually low, and sometimes the lender will pay them
  • A fixed interest rate means your monthly payments never change

Cons

  • The interest rate may be higher than what you’d pay on a cash-out refinance
  • You’re at risk of foreclosure if you can’t repay the loan

Personal loan

A personal loan is another way to borrow money for any purpose. You might take out a personal loan instead of doing a cash-out refinance or taking out a second mortgage if you want to borrow a smaller sum or prefer not to use your home as collateral.

Pros

  • A personal loan can be unsecured, so your home is not at risk
  • These loans usually close in a matter of days, compared to weeks for any type of home loan

Cons

  • You may not be able to borrow as much
  • The interest rate may be higher than what you’d find for a secured loan

Learn More About Another Option: Renovation Mortgage: One Loan to Buy and Repair a Home

Home renovation cost by room

The complexity of your renovation project is a big factor in its cost. Here are the changes homeowners often make when renovating a particular area of their house.

Kitchen

A complete kitchen remodel will give you all-new cabinets, counters, floors, appliances, lighting, paint, a new sink, and more. Complex kitchen renovation projects may involve reconfiguring the space to make the layout more functional. These changes are costly, though — any project that requires extensive plumbing and electrical work will increase the final price substantially.

On the other hand, you may be able to give your kitchen a noticeable facelift for less money by keeping your cabinet boxes and only replacing the doors instead of splurging on custom cabinetry. Skipping the tile backsplash and sticking with paint can also save you a few bucks.

Bathroom

To fully renovate a bathroom, you’ll typically get new flooring, paint, lighting, cabinetry, countertops, mirrors, fixtures, a shower and/or bathtub, and a toilet. Similar to a kitchen remodel, layout changes can quickly increase the cost of a bathroom remodel and may require you to gut the entire room.

Other significant expenses include the labor associated with tile work and the cost to hire a plumber. If you don’t hate your shower or you can preserve your existing cabinets, you’ll reduce your costs.

Living room

Removing a non-load-bearing wall between the living room and kitchen to create a more open space is a popular first step in many fixer-upper shows. Besides demolition, completing this project will require drywalling, texturing, and painting work, all of which can be quite affordable.

With a larger budget, you can replace or add windows to increase natural light and improve energy efficiency. Other changes that can make a big difference include adding built-in shelving, building or refacing a fireplace, and installing hardwood flooring.

Bedroom

A bedroom can be on the less-expensive side of renovation projects. You’ll typically be painting the walls, replacing the floors, and getting new light fixtures. You might add built-in shelves or cabinets, crown molding, a closet organization system, or new closet doors.

If you have more to spend, you may want to hire an interior decorator who can help you pick out new furniture, bedding, window coverings, and accessories.

Home office

To maximize your workspace, a home office remodel may involve ditching your standalone furniture in favor of custom built-ins. With the right shelving and cabinetry, you can better organize and hide the clutter of papers, books, computers, printers, and cables. Consider hiring an electrician to add more electrical outlets and charging stations for your devices.

Task lighting can help you work more effectively and minimize eye strain, and an ergonomic desk chair can prevent back pain from becoming a distraction. New paint, flooring, and window treatments are also important to refresh your space.

Basement

If you’re starting with an unfinished basement, you may need to pay for waterproofing, framing, drywall, insulation, electrical, and plumbing. Budget for permits and inspections too. You may want to hire a designer for this larger project.

Creating a large, open space will cost a lot less than a remodel, which essentially adds an entire functional floor to your home complete with separate rooms and a bathroom. In any case, as with most projects, paint and new flooring will be involved.

Patio and landscaping

The scope to remodel a patio will often involve removing the existing material (for example, breaking up concrete) and replacing it with something nicer (like pavers, flagstone, or stamped concrete). A high-end patio may incorporate a pergola, fire pit, or outdoor kitchen.

Landscaping can involve adding pathways, building planters, installing lighting, re-sodding, replacing grass with drought-tolerant plants, or adding new hedges, trees, bushes, and flowers.

Roof

Since a sturdy, weather-proof roof is a necessity, you may not consider a new one to be a remodeling project. But you might be surprised by how much it can increase your curb appeal, especially if you’re replacing old three-tab asphalt shingles with new three-dimensional ones. This newer style costs more, but looks better and lasts longer.

Your costs will include labor to remove the old roof and install the new one. For materials, you’ll pay for shingles, nails, a moisture barrier, underlayment, drip edge, flashing, and venting. Decking or fascia that has rotted or otherwise been damaged will need to be repaired or replaced too. Replaced fascia will need to be painted.

Exterior painting

The scope of work to get your house repainted is largely about the labor-intensive preparation. Anything that’s not getting painted needs to be protected with sheets of plastic and painter’s tape. The home’s exterior has to be cleaned, and any damage must be repaired.

The type of material being painted (for example, stucco, metal siding, concrete siding) and the quality of paint you choose, as well as the surface area, affect how much primer and paint you’ll need. In addition, some homes have lots of trim, shutters, gutters, or other items that require detailed painting.

Cost to renovate a house per square foot

Since so many factors go into the final cost, it’s challenging to provide a realistic estimate of what you might spend per square foot to renovate a house. Consider the prices below to be very rough. You’ll need to get quotes from several general contractors to set your own budget for your home remodel.

These prices assume that you’re renovating the entire home, which means they average out the highs from renovating kitchens and bathrooms with the lows from renovating bedrooms and living rooms:

  • Low-end: $15 per square foot
  • Mid-range: $38 per square foot
  • High-end: $60 per square foot

Main factors affecting the price of the home renovation

No matter what type of renovation you’re doing, the price can fall within a wide range. How much it costs to renovate a house per square foot or per room depends on factors like these:

  • Contractor’s labor charges: This cost will depend a lot on your location, current demand, and the contractor’s experience and reputation. Don’t choose a contractor who is unlicensed and uninsured; this choice could prove costly if they make a mistake or get injured on your job.
  • Quality of materials: The least expensive materials will get the job done, but you may have to sacrifice quality, durability, and originality. You could go with laminated particle board cabinets off the shelf from a home improvement store if you’re on a tight budget, or hire a carpenter to build cabinets from scratch out of solid maple if higher-end choices are an option for you.
  • Unexpected costs: Homes often have problems that aren’t visible until projects are underway. If an unforeseen problem comes up, like termite damage, mold, or corroded pipes, you’ll have to spend more to get the job done right. Always budget for cost overruns when you’re planning a renovation.
  • Architect/engineer/building permit fees: Structural changes can add significant costs to a remodeling project. On top of the materials and labor, you might pay additional costs related to ensuring safety and complying with local building codes.
  • Project scope creep: You thought you wanted to do one thing, but once the project is underway, you get a better idea that’s more expensive. This is another cost you can budget for if you think you might change your mind in the middle of a job.

Consider the main purpose of the renovation

Before you start a renovation, it’s important to understand why you’re doing it in the first place.

  • Remodeling for yourself: If you plan to be in the home for many years to come, make whatever changes you desire to increase your comfort and enjoyment. If you anticipate selling within a few years, avoid changes that could make your home less appealing, like eliminating a bedroom.
  • Remodeling as an investment: If you’re flipping a home or plan to move in a few years, choose popular — not trendy — designs and materials that will help with resale. The quality of materials you choose should reflect what similar homes in the neighborhood use to maximize your returns.

How do I increase my home’s value?

To increase your home’s value, think about what you would want out of a new home if you were buying today. Maybe you’d prefer a home with a new roof or fresh coat of paint. Central air conditioning and more storage space are also important features. Think of items with broad appeal.

Tip: Keep all the receipts for your renovation projects. You may be able to add some of them to your home’s cost basis as capital improvements. If you one day sell your home for a profit, these improvements can increase your cost basis and reduce how much tax you owe on the sale.

Is it cheaper to remodel or build?

In general, it’s cheaper to remodel. You’ll typically be able to reuse many of the home’s existing features, like its foundation, framing, and plumbing.

However, if the house is in terrible condition, it may be cheaper to build. In particular, if the home is in a historic preservation district, the cost of specialized labor and materials to comply with design ordinances could drive the cost up considerably.

Can you renovate a house for $50k?

Yes, you can renovate a house for $50,000. You’ll need to be careful with your budget, though, and you may have to make sacrifices on the quality of materials or the number of rooms you renovate.

The size of your home and the going rate for labor in your area will affect how far your money goes. You should not expect to completely renovate both the exterior and interior of your home with a budget of $50,000.

Can you renovate a house for $100k?

Yes, you can renovate a house for $100,000. The smaller the home, the further your budget will go. If you’re making structural changes or need to redo any of the home’s systems, like electric, plumbing, or HVAC, you won’t have as much money available for cosmetic renovations. A larger or older home may require a larger renovation budget.

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