Beware These 10 Hidden Costs During Your Home Remodel

Whether you’ve decided to add value to your home or need to turn your study into a nursery, you’ve finally decided it’s time to remodel. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you plan, you’re destined to hit some roadblocks.

At Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel, we understand how some renovation costs can sneak up on you and ruin your budget. Here are 10 of the most common hidden home remodeling costs we’ve encountered, and the best ways we’ve found to avoid them.

1. Demolition

When planning major structural changes to your home, it’s inevitable that you’re going to need to throw some stuff away. As you tear down sheetrock, rip up carpet or take off countertops, you end up with a lot of debris.

Before work can begin, you may need to hire a demolition crew, and as they remove more and more, you should factor in dumpster rental and removal. Since curbside pickup will likely ignore large trash you leave at the side of the road, finding alternative methods of disposal is imperative.

2. Literally Hidden Costs

As you start tearing into your walls and floor, you might come face to face with some of the worst problems that can occur. These problems are truly hidden, as they don’t become apparent until work begins. Some of these issues include:

  • Mold
  • Water damage
  • Rot
  • Insect destruction
  • Lead contamination
  • Asbestos

When these problems crop up, they can be especially harmful due to exposure issues and may even add to costs if your house requires fumigation or expensive waste removal. To top it off, once those issues are addressed, you still have to finish construction!

3. Homes Away From Home

One cost of a home remodel that is often overlooked involves where you’ll be staying. If your house is made uninhabitable, you’ll need to make arrangements to stay elsewhere. This usually means spending a good portion of your nights at a hotel.

Even if you don’t need to find other arrangements, your pets will need to since they’ll most likely be getting in the way as construction ensues. Even if they can sleep at home, you’ll need to find a place for them during the day, which could mean boarding them or paying someone to pet-sit.

4. Your Stuff

It’s not just a matter of finding a place to put those who live in your house. Depending on the scope of your project, you may find it necessary to empty entire rooms of furniture and decorations, leaving you with little room to keep everything secure.

If there isn’t a place to put all of your belongings, you may need to consider storage facilities. If they still need to be accessible, you can rent an on-site container to keep everything locked up for the duration of construction.

5. Permits and Planning

Whenever you are doing any remodeling, it’s a good idea to check out what permits you might need. Permits aren’t free, but neglecting to get them could mean removing all of those new cabinets and restarting from scratch.

Another necessity owners often overlook when planning home remodeling costs is zoning and property lines. While you might assume your neighbor’s fence is positioned at the edge of the property, it can be a costly mistake to start construction without checking property lines.

6. Old Work, New Laws

The older your home is, the more likely that someone in the past has used a shortcut or two in order to make things fit well. These workarounds might be effective, but they probably aren’t legal and may require expensive and drastic changes to get them up to code.

Also, if there has been no major construction in decades, there’s a good chance that your current setup doesn’t meet today’s regulations. You could have a lot of additional work on your hands just to meet current building-code requirements.

7. Time Costs

No matter how much you plan, there are going to be problems that you need to personally address. Because contractors usually have the same work schedule as you do, it means taking time off from your job at regular intervals to discuss how to proceed.

Whether it’s a trip to the showroom to look at new materials or a run to town hall to apply for another permit, that is time you aren’t getting back. Make sure your work schedule can handle the conflicts and you take into account the inevitable loss of productivity.

8. Utility Futility

With batteries charging and power tools running, your home is going to be drawing a lot more power than normal. During renovations, expect your bill to go up some, though electricity probably won’t be the primary concern.

Unless you’ve planned exceedingly well, you’re going to have to come to terms with the weather. With doors constantly opening and closing, your heating or cooling bills are going to increase. It’s worth considering postponing renovations until more temperate months during spring and autumn.

9. Post-Construction

You may be looking at additional costs even after your project is completed. No matter how careful you or your contractors are, it’s certain that your lawn is going to need an overhaul after construction is complete. Having workers constantly walking to and from their vehicles is bound to cause some mess.

You may also have to face an increase in homeowners insurance. Having that great new pool comes with extra costs, and adding value to your home means there’s more to insure. Updating your plan is a must after all of the work is done.

10. Bad Estimates

You might think you’re getting a great deal when you find a contractor who drastically underbids. Even if the person has the best intentions, there may be factors such as material costs and time that he or she didn’t initially take into account.

Take the time to shop around for reliable contractors and ask a lot of questions. You need to make sure that the contractor will be able to follow your budget and provide input throughout the building process, including identifying some of the hidden costs that appear on this list.

When it comes to home remodeling costs, knowing that there may be some hidden fees can help you prepare your budget. Since 1975, our team has been helping San Diego homeowners account for and navigate the various costs that come during during home renovation projects. Contact us to learn how our design-build approach helps to minimize surprises and avoid cost overruns.

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