5 Reasons Why Remodels Go Over Budget

We have all heard the horror stories of remodels going over time but even scarier, over budget. Approximately 4 out of 10 remodels go over budget according to a 2015 report from home improvement site Houzz. Here are a few tips to make sure your renovation doesn’t make any costly mistakes:

Hiring the right experts. 

This might seem obvious but many people forget that just because a Contractor did great tile work on the neighbor’s house, doesn’t mean they would be the best contractor to take on an entire bathroom remodel. People also fall into the trap of hiring the cheapest guy. That cheap bid is then inflated by numerous change orders, and suddenly you are over budget, and worse, feeling like you were taken advantage of.
Pro tip: If you are on a budget and cannot afford the most experienced contractor, offer a subcontractor a chance instead.  Have them add a clause stating that there will not be changes made to orders such as tiles or fixtures over a set amount of dollars and the budget is not to exceed a set price PERIOD. That will either make the sub run the other way (which is great for you) or, if he/she agrees, will save you the trouble and heartbreak of getting in with the wrong sub.


Delays. Not all delays like weather can be helped but some delays are avoidable. Not making decisions in time or refusing to budge on a sold-out variation of wooden flooring can cause backorders. Additionally, unforeseen structural issues can cause major time delays. It is important you give your contractor all plans, past renovations and blueprints you have of your home.
Pro Tip: The planning starts as soon as the city approved plans. DO NOT give contractors old versions of plans that have been or are in the process of being amended. This will lead to confusion that will be unmanageable and your project will quickly turn into your worst nightmare. Be patient, wait until the designer and architect have addressed every detail, want and need, and have finalized plans. You can then start the bidding process with peace of mind that everyone is working off of the same plan. If you make changes throughout the construction process, always make sure that a set of plans are on site. Make sure those plans have all the red-lined changes. Make sure that after you redline the plan, the subcontractor, whom the change corresponds to, initials next to the red line and for safe measure, snap a picture and send it to him. That way, no one can say “you never told me” or “it wasn’t in the plans”!

Fancy Appliances

Yes. It is nice to have all the bells and whistles after a new renovation, but that does not mean you have to have the top of the line everything! As discussed in our blog post, Renovations When Selling Your Home, you need to think about your home’s value and whether a $10,000 stove top is really a good decision. If cooking is your passion and you don’t plan on moving, go for it, but appliances can really eat up your budget.
Pro Tip: Many clients and general contractors alike make the mistake of factoring appliances in the construction budget. This is a big no-no! Appliances are just like a T.V. unless the contractor is responsible for building an enclosure, or hard-wiring/plumbing the appliance, it should always be an “allowance item.” This saves the consumer tons of money. We do not mark up allowance items for the simple fact that it is not fair to our clients for us to make a profit on items the client is taking the time to find, test, and approve. If our clients ask us to do so, then we will list it as an itemized option in the contract. Otherwise, let your client be a part of choosing what they want! But always be clear, if listed as an allowance, it should not be listed in the scope of work or in the construction budget.

Rental Equipment

When thinking about your remodel, speak in detail with your contractor about what storage space they will need as well as garbage containers. Renting outdoor storage containers and trash receptacles might be necessary and pre-ordering is a must!
Pro Tip: Always make sure that there is a port-a-can on site if there is no working plumbing. The worst is having your contractors leave the job every time they need to use the restroom. Make sure they have all of the equipment they need. For example, if they are not responsible for supplying lifts or medium to heavy equipment, make sure it is in the contract, and make sure they tell you exactly what they need and when they need it! It is an absolute time waster to be sitting at a job, unable to get anything done because you forgot to order a piece of machinery.

Buying in small quantities

Some people prefer to buy piece by piece as needed for their home. By doing this, however, you are running the risk of spending more down the line. You can take advantage of factory discounts if you buy in bulk. Having extra flooring or tiles in case of damage is never a bad thing. You can generally sell them to someone else remodeling as well.
Pro Tip: If you are acting as the general contractor, designer, or just generally making the purchasing decisions, look into websites like Alibaba or Aliexpress. You can order substantially cheaper products directly from China. Prices can be as low as 60% cheaper than retail or discount pricing at your local hardware store. However, you should always be prepared to wait 2-6 weeks for your products to arrive. Although it is tough pin down what exactly causes projects to go over budget, we hope by keeping these things in mind it helps you stay within your allotted amount!




Chesley is the head of marketing at Rise. She loves Campbell's soup, her daughter, and playing gin rummy while drinking tea. Despite how old she sounds, she is still in her twenties. You can usually find her in Austin killing it at game night.
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