10 costly problems that can arise during home renovations


According to Redfin, homes were selling for an average price of nearly $425,000 in April 2022, up 15.6% year over year. With costs soaring, you may have decided that it’s better to stay put and repair your home than to buy a new one.

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No matter how small or large you are doing a home renovation, plan for cost overruns. During your remodel, you might encounter a variety of issues that throw your budget off balance. Here are 10 potentially costly problems to prepare for.

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Permission/Planning Fees

Building permits are required by your local government any time you undertake a home project that involves building something new or remodeling a building already on your property. The permits are designed to ensure you comply with the law; Depending on the size of the project, a building inspector may make an on-site visit to sign off the work.

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Before you begin work, or before a contractor drives the first nail, check with your city or county to see if a permit is required. Not having one could cause problems later on and you should make sure you have a reasonable budget for this. The Family Handyman website estimates that a building permit can cost $50 for a very small project, or as much as $2,000 for a large project.

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underestimate the budget

The National Association of Home Builders said the price of materials used in home construction rose 4.9% in the first four months of 2022, up 19.2% year-on-year and 35.6% since the pandemic began. Even if you’re completing what you would otherwise consider a simple DIY project, don’t underestimate the cost. If you do this, you could end up with interior walls that are only two-thirds painted, or a floor that is three-quarters hardwood and one-quarter grungy vinyl.

Trying to do a job for professionals

Have you ever heard the saying “cheap is expensive”? That’s what can happen when you try a DIY project meant for professionals, and you could be doing more harm than good. Attempting to fix a stove, removing asbestos, fixing a roof, doing plumbing or electrical repairs, removing trees or doing carpentry work are among the tasks a professional should be better off doing, the family handyman said. The do-it-yourself approach could lead to larger problems that are more costly to fix than the original problem and, worse, can prove dangerous.

waste disposal

If your project involves demolition—say, tearing down a kitchen wall and all of its cabinets—don’t forget to factor in waste disposal costs. HomeAdvisor estimates that renting a dumpster costs between $200 and $800 a week, or $1,000 to $3,000 a month. The fee depends on the size of the dumpster and your location.

Change your mind

The cost of changing your mind about your project depends on the magnitude of your perceived boo-boo. If you’ve painted your bedroom Cotton Candy Pink and decided that Boring Beige really suits you better, the price will be a few gallons of paint. If you regret your choice of granite countertops and decide they have to go – even if you paid $3,000 for them – then consider that you will have to pay at least that amount to replace them.

Structural and other “hidden” surprises

You’ve no doubt seen home renovation shows where the project schedule and budget take massive hits as problems are uncovered, as carpets are pulled up or walls come down. Problems you might encounter include water damage, foundation cracks or damage, lead paint and asbestos, or old wiring or pipes. The cost can be significant depending on what you or your contractor discover. Better Homes & Gardens determined that your budget should include 10% of the total project cost as a reserve for project overruns and emergencies.


Supply chain delays and labor shortages, as well as the time it takes to obtain planning permission, are causing project delays in 2022, according to US News and World Report. Because of this, it’s best to wait to start your project until every floorboard, backsplash tile and door is in stock to ensure you can complete it. As you wait weeks for your supplies, inflation is also driving up costs, which says you need “vision, patience and budget” if you want to renovate today, according to the report.

Bad contractor estimates

Renovating your home is expensive, so don’t pay more than you have to by working with a contractor who will quote you a price that’s more than the value of the work. HomeGuide recommends that you invite at least three contractors to bid on the job by visiting your home and discussing the scope of the work. Get recommendations from family and friends, read reviews, and check the contractor’s track record with the Better Business Bureau. Request a detailed estimate in writing and create a payment plan when certain project benchmarks are met.

material costs

As we know, material costs are going up, but you can save money by shopping around and comparing prices. HGTV recommends cutting costs in specific areas and focusing on those that are your highest priority. One area where you can go the budget route in your kitchen renovation, for example, is the floor. Choose a porcelain stoneware look instead of a natural stone tile. Porcelain costs less and lasts longer because it’s resistant to breakage and chipping, says HGTV.

Another area to save? cupboard door handles and pulls. A 4-inch door handle adorned with a Swarovski crystal on each side costs nearly $46 at Wayfair. A 10-pack of crystal glass rhinestone cabinet pulls is about $25 on Amazon.

Eating out/hotels/boarding kennels

Depending on the scope of your renovation, you and your family may have to vacate your home during construction. Or, if your kitchen is down for a while, make a living on takeout. Ask your contractor for a realistic estimate of how many days your home will be a construction site, and check out local hotels to see if they have discounted rates for longer-term stays. You need to add housing, food and pet boarding costs to your building budget.

The finished product of your home renovation should be delightful. get there? Not as much. The key is to create a budget that gives you wiggle room to withstand any financial surprises that might crop up.

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About the author

Jami Farkas has a degree in Communications from California State University, Fullerton, and has worked as a reporter or editor for newspapers in all four corners of the United States. She brings experiences as a sports editor, business editor, religion editor, digital editor and more to GOBankingRates. With a passion for real estate, she passed the real estate license exam in her state and is still debating whether to take the plunge into selling houses — or just writing about selling houses.


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