I’m big into budgeting these days as we work to get our own budget back on track after construction overages and extra spending. So I’m outlining the categories I wish I had budgeted for pre-2020 because the cost of a house renovation is a whole lot more than labor and materials. Let’s keep this short and sweet, shall we? We’ve all got work to do!
In any construction project, always assume there will be a delay. So prepare for a delay, but not just mentally. Financially too. If your renovation means you have to rent a place to live during construction, then make sure your project budget includes that rent, but don’t forget the EXTRA rent and utilities for the months that could likely tack on at the end. Based on my one-time personal experience, a safety net of 2-3 months should suffice.
I naively assumed that once construction started, all of the house’s utilities would be turned off. Well, builders need water and power to work, duh! The power was a temporary connection, but the minimum monthly operation almost cost as much as a fully-powered home. This meant for the duration of the build, we were paying TWO water bills and TWO power bills. My advice is to call the power company to ask about anticipated costs of a temporary power account and budget accordingly.
Our car fuel spending increased unexpectedly over the course of the build, but when I thought about it, it shouldn’t have surprised me. Our rental was only about a mile from our house, but our normal, daily destinations didn’t change, so our car trips became a just a little bit longer every day. Over the month those extra miles and extra in-town trips added up, and our spending at the tank increased about 50%. I’ll caveat here that I haven’t take gas prices into account, but it’s definitely something to consider if you are looking for the full picture.
Moving x 2
Hopefully this isn’t a surprise to most, but it costs a pretty penny to move out of a house and then back into said house after the renovation is finished. And, as was the case with us, the rental house was smaller so we needed to put a few bigger pieces of furniture in a monthly storage unit. Again, these expenses shouldn’t be unexpected, but make sure you are planning and budgeting for them ahead of the project start.
The moral of this story: as best you can, find all the hidden costs of a home renovation beyond what’s in the builder’s estimate. Plan and budget for them ahead of the construction start date. You’ll feel so much better having prepared for the full project cost and be ready to roll with the punches!