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How to Keep a Lid On Your Remodeling Budget—So It Doesn’t Creep Out of Control

Posted by Ryann Minkler on Nov 2, 2015 7:00:00 AM

When you decide to remodel your Naples-area home one of the first things you’ll want to do—even before deciding on plans and materials—is to create a budget for the project. You’ll want to decide what you’re comfortable spending. At the same time, it’s important to have a realistic budget—one that’s adequate for what you want to accomplish.

Just setting your budget, however, doesn’t mean you can forget about it. You still have to maintain that budget. Everyone has heard horror stories about remodeling projects that got out of control and ended up costing way more than planned. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Let’s take a brief look at how you can keep a lid on your remodeling budget so that it doesn’t creep out of control. I’m using the word “creep” very deliberately, because most remodeling budgets don’t explode—they slowly and almost imperceptibly creep out of control. It’s called scope creep and it happens when a homeowner keeps making small changes that weren’t in the original plan. Here are some of the most common culprits.

Change in Size

Let’s say you wanted to remodel your kitchen. You want all new cabinets, counters, flooring, and lighting. You and your designer/builder work up a plan that accomplishes that goal. As you begin construction you think it would be nice to make the kitchen a little larger and open it up to the adjoining family room. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it involves moving a wall. It also means more material and more labor. It could even involve some re-wiring. All of a sudden, it’s not a small change that can blow your budget.

Change in Location

We’ll stick with the kitchen again. You like your plan, but as things progress you decide you’d really like to move the sink to the left a few feet. It’s more visually appealing and it will be more convenient to have it next to the refrigerator. It’s only a few feet, so it shouldn’t matter that much, right? That small change, however, may require the builder to replumb the water line and drain. Again, it’s more material and labor. And it may even impact the cabinets that you ordered.

Change in Materials

Maybe part of your remodeling includes new flooring for the family room or Great Room. You’ve selected a nice hardwood floor material, but then you see a really stunning floor at your neighbors, or online—and you just have to have it. It only costs a few more dollars per square foot, so you go for it. Then you realize that your new choice in flooring really clashes with the countertop material you chose for the kitchen. So you change that, but the only countertop material that goes with the new flooring is also an upgraded material. And then you have to change the backsplash as well! And on and on it goes.

First of all, none of those choices are bad choices. They just don’t fit your original budget. None of them seem huge either, but sometimes small changes (particularly once construction has begun) can have a significant.

Part of the solution is to take your time going over your initial plan with your designer/builder. Don’t rush the process. Be clear about what’s important to you and be specific (and realistic) about your budget. Do the hard work of thinking and planning up front so that you can enjoy the outcome. If you want to make changes, talk about them with your builder first so that you have a clear idea of how the changes you want will affect the budget and the schedule.

Remember, it’s generally not one big item that blows your budget; it’s one little thing that leads to another that slowly causes it to creep out of control.


Topics: Naples Design-Build remodeling, remodeling budget, controlling remodeling costs