How Much Does it Cost to Renovate a House?

Kitchen Renovation

A typical range for a kitchen remodel is between $12,000 and $33,000. The national average is about $21,000. So many things go into these renovation numbers that its hard to trust them until you look at your own kitchen. Establish the basic floor plan, including square footage, number of lower and upper cabinets, appliances and the location of utilities and windows. To gut and replace existing items with home improvement box store cabinetry and low-end appliances yourself is much less expensive than moving water or gas lines, taking a wall down and buying high-end appliances.

Stock cabinets cost anywhere from $60 to $200 per linear foot, while custom cabinets range between $500 and $1,200 per linear foot or more. Appliance packages start around $1800 and go all the way up to $20,000 for top-end units.

Permits are required for moving gas, water or electric lines. Pulling down a load bearing wall requires beam installation with all pertinent permits and building inspections. These are all costs that add up in the renovation of a kitchen.

Office After

 Money Spent Since 2013: Both rooms just got the p

  • Money Spent Since 2013: Both rooms just got the paint treatment. It cost me $250 to give the sun porch a makeover, and about $100 and give-or-take two years of my life to finally get all of the office trim painted. Ha. The furniture in here are all hand-me-downs.

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Gifts

It’s nice if your parents want to pitch in to help financially. If given the choice between using the money for a down payment on a home or for renovations, choose the latter. When you use cash to help finance a home purchase, the bank will want to see documentation for the money, and that can be a hassle.

I also like to say that using gifts for home renovations instead of the actual purchase helps buyers get into a home they can actually afford.

Home Renovation Costs: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

A plethora of home improvement shows have convinced many homeowners that home renovation is a reasonably straightforward operation that any reasonable person could complete. In some cases, that’s true. Not every renovation includes major structural work. If the renovation is more cosmetic, you might be comfortable painting, installing a medicine cabinet, putting up a kitchen backsplash, or replacing a faucet. These projects don’t require permitting or structural considerations, and they can usually be done in a short time frame.

Sadly, up to 63 percent of DIYers regret large renovation projects that took excessive time to complete or were done improperly due to lack of knowledge. Any renovation that includes changes to floor plans, structures, or mechanical systems will likely require a building permit from local authorities. In many states, significant renovations that touch structures, roofs, electrical or gas, or foundations require a contractor’s oversight to ensure all building codes are followed. Home additions can be nearly as complex as building a home.

Beyond legal restrictions regarding DIY renovations, the biggest reason you’ll want to hire a pro is peace of mind. An architect and contractor have the know-how to bring your dream to life. You won’t have to stress about scheduling multiple subcontractors, organizing deliveries, or solving problems. A contractor should have warranties against future issues as well. Contractors can also identify ways to save money by sourcing materials through wholesale dealers or offering alternate suggestions. Home renovation costs are well invested in a qualified contractor.

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The Bottom Line

Home renovation costs will vary based on structural or mechanical repairs, square footage, underlying issues, location and materials used. Start by using the home renovation cost estimator spreadsheet above, then talk with contractors to understand the exact estimates in your area.

Home renovation and remodeling aren’t easy. However, a happy home can help improve your well-being. Before you begin your project, consider the value of your time into your budget – the planning and remodeling processes aren’t quick.

If you’re thinking about any home improvements, consider refinancing your house to help you budget for the costs of remodeling. You can also give us a call at (833) 326-6018.

Ways to Save Money on Home Renovation

While you can’t control the supply chain, you can find ways to save money on your home renovation. Karp recommends working with people who will share costs with you upfront. 

“I think the number one thing is to have the right team, a team that you trust,” she says. “As much as possible, homeowners should try to get an idea of the cost of the project, meaning architectural fees, compliance fees, and build costs at the schematic design, development, and construction stage.”

Allow space in your timeline for unexpected delays, Weiss says.  

“Make a sort of renovation calendar that has enough space for any sort of interruptions,” she says. “Even [prepare for] things like your contractors have to be out because they may have been exposed to COVID. There’s nothing worse than expecting a renovation to be done months and months before it’s actually done, so make sure you can dedicate ample time to the project to account for the hiccups you may face.”

Finally, Lavinder reminds homeowners to solidify their renovation plans before they get started. 

“People may have a plan for the remodel, but then they change their mind in the middle,” he says. “That has a ripple effect that affects all these different costs. Going into a project and sticking with it and not changing your mind is one of the most important parts of doing a successful remodel.”

Is a Remodel Right For Me?

One of the most common barriers to beginning a home remodeling project that homeowners report is not knowing fully whether or not remodeling is right for them or if they should move instead. If this seems to describe you best, here are a few things to consider when deciding which route to take:

Is the budget best or even realistic for your family?

Once you’ve secured at least three quality quotes from different contractors, you should have an idea of whether or not the cost of a remodel fits within your budget. Even if it does, it’s then time to consider if it’s worth it. This fully depends on what makes the most sense for you and your family.

Is your home more special to you than the cost?

Remodeling is a no-brainer if you’re very attached to your home. Unless facing economic hardship, homeowners who find themselves in love with their home, but instead sell and move for money eventually regret it.

If remodeling is more expensive but enhances your quality of life, you know that remodeling is the answer for you.

How Much Should I Spend on a Home Renovation?

To get an approximate idea of what your remodeling budget should be, consider the value of your home as a whole. You don’t want to spend more than 10 to 15 percent of your home’s value on a single room. If you spend more, the value of the renovation will not proportionally add to the value of your home.

For example, if your home is worth $100,000, the maximum you should spend on a kitchen or bathroom renovation is $15,000. If your house is worth more, the spend on a renovation could be higher.

“Most of the time, it’s really hard for a homeowner to know where to start. I recommend bringing in a design build contractor early on in the process. In their initial consultation they can talk about your needs and priorities and help guide you through a project that is realistic for your budget.”

Danny Niemela | ArDan LLC

Determine Financing Before Finalizing Your Budget

Before setting the budget for your home renovation, you need to determine how you are financing it. If you are paying in cash, taking out a loan or applying for credit, the budget of your renovation will need to fit within the limit of your available funds.

Once you know how much you can afford to spend, set aside 10 to 20 percent of your available funds for unexpected expenses. This is important. Something will go wrong or cost more than originally projected. By setting aside a percentage before beginning, you know you will have the funds available to finish your project no matter what happens.

“I recommend setting aside between 10 to 20 percent for a cushion. If you hire the right contractor to do some exploratory demolition or investigative work early on there should be very little unforeseen work that needs to happen. However, in our experience once a project starts many of our clients pull out the ‘While you are here, can you also do…’ list and if client has the money set aside, we can easily accommodate it in duration of the project.”

Danny Niemela | ArDan LLC

Once you’ve decided how much to spend, use the following steps to create a detailed plan and budget.

How Much Does a Detached Garage Conversion Cost?

$90,000-$125,000

In most cases, a standard two-car garage (approximately 360sf) conversion will average $90-110k.  Because the structure already exists, turning this space into an ADU (with a living space, a bathroom, and a kitchen) is an efficient way to go. Generally, you’re saving on remodeling costs because you already have a foundation, framing, stucco, and a roof. However, if any of these need to be repaired, replaced, or brought up to code, that will obviously increase your budget.  The soft costs involved in this project are reasonably small, ideally between $5,000 – $8,000 for your plans and permits.


If you think of a garage conversion to an ADU as building a small house, it can help you understand the number of details and materials that go into a project like this. All the same elements that are in your existing house are required like plumbing, a water heater, electrical systems, appliances, air conditioning, heat, and the list goes on. A good ADU contractor with pertinent experience can help you understand all the details involved, but to give you an idea of the list of elements involved, check out my blog Construction Checklist For Building An ADU.

With a project like this, it’s extremely important to document in detail which materials are paid for by the contractor and which are paid for by the client. Finally, make sure to include in your total budget both the contractor’s bid and the price of materials you’re buying directly. This will help you better evaluate the full remodel cost of the project.          

Tips for Saving on Home Renovation Costs

When creating your remodeling budget, use these tips to further reduce your costs:

  • Complete demolition yourself: If you’re removing cabinets or pulling up tile as part of your renovation, consider doing the work yourself. As long as there is no expertise required, this is a good way to reduce labor costs and save a few dollars.
  • Order fixtures and finishes yourself: Your contractor will probably charge you an hourly fee to do your shopping for you and may even charge a markup. Be clear about your plans so your contractor knows you’re taking on that responsibility yourself.
  • Be your own project manager: If you need to hire additional subcontractors for your project, interview and select them yourself instead of having your general contractor do it.
  • Do your own painting: Having a room painted by a professional can cost $300 or more. Plan to complete any required painting yourself and you can remove that cost from your remodeling budget.
  • Shop used: Instead of purchasing everything brand-new, pick up used or refurbished items when possible. This can greatly reduce your spend on appliances and finishes.

Additional Costs and Considerations

A home renovation project can be complex or straightforward, and sometimes it can turn into a full-blown house remodeling adventure. It’s not uncommon for unexpected costs to pop up while planning a renovation. You may need to hire an architect to assist with planning a structural adjustment, or you could discover a problem with the foundation that must be addressed. Here are several other considerations for home renovation costs to help guide your planning process.

Home renovations need an expert hand Get free, no-commitment project estimates from contractors, builders, painters, and more near you. Find a Pro ++

Home Age

It’s no secret that older homes tend to hide structural or mechanical issues that must be addressed when they’re discovered. An old house might have great bones, but updating electrical wiring to current safety standards is a good (and sometimes necessary) idea that could save you money in the long run. Add approximately 20 percent to your total budget for unforeseen costs.

Structural Changes

If structural changes are planned, consult with an engineer to ensure load-bearing walls are appropriately handled. Expect to pay $300 to $700 for a consultation and plan review. On average, removing walls will cost between $300 and $10,000. Non-load-bearing walls cost less to remove.

Hiring an Architect

You might find the planning process much easier for more complex renovation projects if you hire an architect early on. Your ideas can come to life with the help of an architect who can recommend current trends, upgrades, structural needs, and more. An architect is also helpful as a cost estimator who can determine a rough estimate on expected costs. Architects usually charge between $125 and $250 per hour.

Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC Systems

Some renovation projects begin with an intention to upgrade mechanical systems for better efficiency or reliability. Updating plumbing, wiring, and HVAC systems improve home value in the long run. A typical plumbing job costs $300, electrical work costs $350, and installing a new HVAC system runs between $500 and $7,200.

Foundation

“Foundation problems” is likely the most dreaded phrase to hear during any home construction project. Any issues with a foundation will push the renovation costs to the high end of the estimate, which is why a budget cushion is helpful. If major foundation problems exist—along with roof and mechanical issues—it’s sometimes cheaper to demolish and rebuild. Consult with your contractor to determine the best solution for you.

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Changing the Floor Plan of the Home

The cost to adjust the floor plan can range from between $750 and $3,000 and up. Since floor plans affect the foundation and structural components, you’ll need to consult a structural engineer. Additions usually require a building permit from your city, and some cities may require an architect, too. A floor plan change will require an update to nearly every system from wiring to HVAC and finishing work to make it suitable.

Appliances

Upgrading appliances is another common reason to begin a home renovation. New appliances can cost between $200 and $10,000. An array of options are available, and it’s easy to get carried away, especially with kitchen appliances. From six-burner stoves to smart fridges, consider what meets your needs and expectations to stay within your budget.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Cost to remodel other buildings

Building refurbishment costs $25 per square foot to remodel multiple rooms in a house or apartment, and between $100 and $250 per square foot for completely gutting a building and making structural changes.

Apartment renovation cost

Apartment renovation costs $25 to $60 per square foot on average or up to $200 in large cities like New York. Renovating a 1-bedroom apartment costs $18,000 to $45,000, depending on the location and whether it’s major structural changes or minor alterations.

 Apartment renovation cost   Size Average cost

Apartment renovation cost
Size Average cost
Studio apartment $10,000 – $30,000
1 bedroom apartment $18,000 – $45,000
2 bedroom apartment $25,000 – $60,000

Mobile home remodel cost

Completely remodeling a mobile home costs $10,000 to $30,000, depending on if it’s a single wide or double wide. Individual projects cost $2,000 to $5,000 each, such as kitchen remodeling or roof replacement.

Mobile home remodel cost
Project Average cost
Replacing windows $2,500 – $5,000
Roof replacement $2,100 – $4,700
Kitchen remodel $3,000 – $5,000
Bathroom remodel $2,000 – $8,000
Replacing HVAC $1,800 – $2,500
Painting $1,200 – $2,400
Rewiring electrical $1,600 – $3,800
Plumbing $2,000 – $4,000

Cost of renovating a 100-year-old house

The average cost of renovating a 100-year-old home is $100,000 to $250,000 or between $100 and $200 per square foot. Prices depend on it’s historical value and the electrical, plumbing and HVAC updates needed to meet code requirements. Heritage landmark buildings cost up to $400 per square foot to remodel.

Old house renovation price list
Renovation Average cost
Replace windows $4,500 – $20,000
Electrical work $3,500 – $8,000
Electrical panel replacement $800 – $2,000
Replace plumbing $2,000 – $15,000
New foundation costs $20,000 – $40,000
Install central air conditioning $660 – $4,600
Foundation repair costs $2,318 – $6,750
Insulate walls $874 – $2,926
Install furnace $2,150 – $5,900
Install HVAC (includes AC, furnace) $4,820 – $9,350

Old homes often have hidden problems, such as lead paint, asbestos, rotting wood, or outdated plaster, which are more labor-intensive. Contractors often end up gutting all the walls, repairing the foundation and structural damages, and replacing the subflooring.

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Remodeling Cost Per Square Foot

Typically, renovating a home costs $15 – 75 per square foot. However, this price can go up to as much as $120-200 per square foot depending on the project and scope of work.

Lets take a look how much you might end up spending per square foot for each room in the house:

Room Type Remodel Cost Per Sq.Ft.
Living room $18-50
Bedroom $15-45
Kitchen $45-180+
Bathroom $35-100+
Basement $25-90
Multiple rooms $15-25 per square foot
Attic $60-190
Addition $80-200
Complete gut renovation $75-185

8 Key Factors in Building a Gut Remodel Budget

  1. Location: Remodeling costs can fluctuate by up to 40% more than the national average depending on the construction market in your city. Just as it’s more expensive to live in the Big Apple, it’s more expensive to gut and remodel there too.
  2. Age: The age of a house will also impact costs. Old homes often mean old problems that may have never been addressed. The condition of the home will be a major factor in your budget. Be prepared for hidden costs like lead paint, asbestos, and rotting wood. Updates will be needed to ensure the home meets newer building codes. 
  3. Layout: Throwing out the floorplan completely? You’ll definitely be increasing the cost of your project. Structural changes like moving walls will add to your budget. 
  4. Size: In most cases, the cost per square foot goes up as the house size increases. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of renovating a 1,000 square-foot house is $19,000. Compare that to $100,000 for a 4,000 square-foot home. 
  5. Labor: Are you planning to DIY your gut remodel or hire the pros? The latter can inflate your cost anywhere from 18.6% to 50.8%.
  6. Permits: Permits are par for the course with a gut remodel. Any major structural change or electrical and plumbing work means you will need a permit. Going with a contractor normally takes that burden off of the investor as these pros know the laws and code and can handle the permit application process.
  7. Materials: Are you envisioning marble and Miele appliances for your kitchen? Then plan on beefing up your budget. Savvy investors shop around for quality materials that stand out and stand the test of time—for less.
  8. Additions: Adding any kind of new structure or square footage to a property will also add to the bottom line. Extending the house means foundation, framing, insulation, drywall and roofing—in addition to what goes inside.

Removing Popcorn Ceilings

Many homeowners want smooth ceilings so they remove popcorn ceilings with other remodeling projects. While it is possible to do this yourself, be aware that the ceiling might contain asbestos materials. Homes built prior to 1977 used building materials containing asbestos – including the popcorn ceilings. If you suspect this is the case, hire a remediation company to safely and legally remove the toxic chemicals and dispose of them. This might cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 for an average size home.

10 Steps to Gut Remodel a House

1. Find a Property: This may be easier said than done in 2021. Unless you already own the property that you want to rehab, you may need to factor in extra time to find a good one given the severe shortage of homes on the market.

2. Make a Master Plan: First things first, do your homework. Research costs, contractors and legal requirements. Talk to investors who have successfully executed a major gut and remodel to learn what’s worked and what hasn’t. Determine your objectives, priorities, aesthetic and level of finish. 

3. Set a Budget: Establish a firm number that you can comfortably invest on the project. Take a look at Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report to see where you will get the most bang for your buck by market. Think about padding your budget by 10-20% to cover unanticipated costs.

4. Hire a Contractor: Unless you are one or are able to serve in this capacity, now’s the time to identify a pro that you can trust. Ask for recommendations from friends and family and go out and see the work of any potential contractors. Prepare interview questions. Take a look at our top ones below.

The Contractor Interview:

  • Are you licensed, insured, and bonded?
  • Can I see or visit some examples of your past gut and remodel jobs?
  • Who is your project manager?
  • Do you subcontract? 
  • What is your damage policy?
  • What permits will I need – do you secure them?
  • What does your warranty policy include?
  • What are your payment terms?
  • What hours does your crew work?
  • Once you’ve lined up a pro, clearly map out the scope of work and deliverables. 

5. Line Up Permits and Materials: Make sure you an

5. Line Up Permits and Materials: Make sure you and your contractor review your city’s specific rules and regulations. Start ordering all of the materials like lumber, windows, doors, etc. Be realistic about both the price and availability of lumber in building out your timeline and plan.  

6. Demolition Time: After you’ve received and inspected materials, it’s time for the gut to begin in earnest. The interior is demolished and framing happens. 

7. Install Infrastructure: This is where the critical work is done above, below and behind walls, floors, and ceiling: electrical, plumbing, HVAC, subfloor, and insulation. Then it’s time for drywall and sanding.

8. Painting and Flooring: Which comes first may depend on your contractor’s preference

9. Cabinetry: Now that the rooms are rooms, cabinets are installed with the upper ones going in before the lower ones.

10. The Last Yard: Take a deep breath. You’ve made it to the final stretch for all the final touches: appliances, light fixtures and hardware.

Home renovation cost estimator

When estimating home renovation costs, the main factors are the square footage, age, location, property’s condition, which rooms are being remodeled, structural changes, and the quality of materials and appliances.

Home renovation cost estimator
Type Average cost Renovations
Low-end $15,000 – $40,000 Cosmetic work like painting, landscaping, trim, molding, and flooring, stock cabinetry, inexpensive appliances and countertops.
Mid-range $40,000 – $75,000 Low-end options + above-average materials and appliances, full bathroom and kitchen remodel, new light fixtures, exterior siding, hardwood flooring.
High-end $75,000 – $200,000 Mid-range options + high-end materials and appliances, custom cabinetry with built-ins, custom closets, structural and foundation repair, layout changes, HVAC and roof replacement, basement or attic conversion to living space, professional interior design.

Average remodel cost per square foot

The average remodel costs $15 to $60 per square foot, depending on which rooms need renovating. Kitchen and bathroom renovation costs $100 to $250 per square foot based on the size and quality of materials. A complete gut renovation costs $60 to $150 per square foot.

 Remodel cost per square foot   Type Cost per squa

Remodel cost per square foot
Type Cost per square foot
Whole house remodel $15 – $60
Full house gut to studs & remodel $60 – $150
Tear down house and rebuild $104 – $165
Remodel kitchen and bathrooms $100 – $250

Dry rooms such as living rooms and bedrooms typically fall on the lower-end of the range. Costs increase significantly for urban areas with higher costs of living and historic homes more than 100 years old.

Get free estimates from home remodelers near you. View Pros

Whole house renovation cost

The average cost to renovate a whole 1,200 sq. ft. house is $18,000 to $72,000, while remodeling a 2,000 sq. ft. home ranges between $28,000 and $115,000. Prices depend on the extent of the remodel, quality of materials, and if structural changes are made to the layout.

 Whole house renovation cost by size   Square feet

Whole house renovation cost by size
Square feet Typical range Average cost
1,000 $15,000 – $60,000 $20,000
1,200 $18,000 – $72,000 $24,000
1,500 $20,000 – $85,000 $30,000
1,800 $25,000 – $100,000 $45,000
2,000 $28,000 – $115,000 $50,000
2,500 $35,000 – $135,000 $62,000
3,000 $40,000 – $160,000 $75,000
3,500 $45,000 – $180,000 $87,000
4,000 $50,000 – $210,000 $100,000

If the home is beyond repair, the average cost to tear down and rebuild a house is $125,000 to $450,000 or $104 to $165 per square foot.

House refurbishment cost by bedrooms

The average cost to fully renovate a 3-bedroom house is $25,000 to $100,000, and between $40,000 to $180,000 to remodel a 4-bedroom home. These renovation costs range from standard upgrades up to a complete gut and remodel.

 Cost to renovate a house by bedrooms   Type Cost

Cost to renovate a house by bedrooms
Type Cost range
2 bedroom house $15,000 – $75,000
3 bedroom house $20,000 – $100,000
4 bedroom house $40,000 – $180,000

Full house renovation costs by home type

Homeowners typically spend between $20 to $200 per square foot on a full house remodel, depending on the type of property. However, the largest factors are the scope of the renovation, location, and quality of materials used.

Renovation cost calculator by home type
Home type Cost per square foot
Condo $40 – $125
Apartment $25 – $60
Row house $25 – $75
Bungalow $35 – $80
Farmhouse $20 – $100
Townhouse $25 – $150
Victorian $50 – $200
Historical $100 – $400

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