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The best method to estimate the cost of a home renovation

One hard and fast rule in home renovation is, "Don’t start a remodeling or renovation project without a realistic budget."

But getting to a realistic budget requires a detailed plan that can be accurately estimated. Many homeowners fall prey to their own sense of excitement or urgency, and will trust a contractor who gives them a rough ballpark figure based on a brief conversation or two.

What follows is typically a journey of frustration, delay, and rising costs as the reality of the project unfolds and unforeseen change order expenses mount up as the contractor desperately tries to complete the project without losing his or her shirt.

An accurate budget based on a detailed plan eliminates these variables and reduces the renovation project risk and timeline.

The Risks of Relying on Online Content for Estimating Your Home Renovation Cost

Some homeowners depend upon websites to provide realistic insights and information about home renovation costs, but the sad reality is that often the information obtained online is wildly inaccurate.

Well-intentioned websites such as HomeAdvisor are simply incapable of providing accurate renovation project estimates, because every project is different and the answers to a few basic questions are not enough to produce a solid estimate.

Others might decide to embark upon a renovation project based on what family or friends might have paid for something similar. This, too, will be inaccurate because every project is unique and specific and require different resources, resulting in different costs.

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Compounding the problem even more is the false peace-of-mind some people get from following the commonsense advice of getting three quotes for a project. This would appear to put pricing in context, enabling the homeowner to feel confident in choosing what appears to be the most reasonable deal.

But, again, if there is no detailed design upon which to base those estimates, each one is just as inaccurate as the next, so none of them may be a good choice. Any estimate without a plan is a guesstimate.

None of this is to say that the contractors in our example above intentionally misled their client – they simply did not plan the work in enough detail and an inaccurate estimate was the result.

Sometimes financial insecurity drives contractors to provide the optimistic quote the client wants to hear, not necessarily one that is accurate. They’re just desperate to close the deal and get the job. The result? A “great price” that got the homeowner a new bathroom or kitchen that was not-so-great.

How to Accurately Estimate a Home Renovation Cost

The homeowner above would have been much better off hearing a price that might not have made them very happy at first, but resulted in a successful project that left them absolutely thrilled.

The lesson here is that it is important to work with an experienced contractor who will give you the unvarnished truth based on the upfront effort to create a detailed design first before quoting. What’s more, the best firms provide multiple renovation options and price points that best accomplish their clients’ needs, wants, and wishes. 

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The right construction firm will have the staff on hand to work closely with the homeowner on every phase of the renovation project planning down to every detail, including design, materials, labor, appliances, and fixtures, to obtain a complete picture of all expenses. This approach is the only way to get a reliable, accurate quote that you can take to the bank.

You may not initially like the number you hear, but you can rest assured it is accurate. If you’re willing to invest in it, you will surely get a successfully completed project that is even better than you dreamed it would be. 

To learn more about the home renovation process, please read our eBook, “The Homeowner’s Guide to Creating the Dream Home You’ll Love.” And if you are ready to speak about your next renovation, please schedule a home renovation discovery session

homeowners renovation guide to creating the dream home you'll love

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