5 Big Factors That Affect The Costs Of Renovating Your Home

By on August 16, 2015

You breathed a sigh of relief the moment you signed off the closing papers for your new home. Surely the buck stops there… or does it?

For most people, especially first time home owners, the costs of remodelling a house can be very tricky to estimate. You have to know what you want, what you need, and what you can actually do.

What you might feel only takes a thousand dollars to renovate could take tens of thousands to rehab. What you have already signed up for can become irrelevant when the conditions of the house do not allow it. And even problems in the supply chain can affect how much you eventually pay to renovate the house.

Saying that, you must really think very highly yourself if you want to manage your own renovations.

The construction market is one of the wildest jungles out there for home owners to navigate. Ultimately, you want to get what you want in a timely manner, at a fair price. Think that sexy kitchen you want to build is affordable? Think again. Here are 5 key factors that affect the price you have to pay. And no. They have little to do with the amount of renovation you are planning.

1) Geography

When your real estate agent told you in no uncertain terms that location will affect the value of a house, he must have left out that it will affect your renovation costs as well.

Different locations present different challenges in logistical issues. And these issues affect the level of operating costs for a contractor to transport supplies like tiles, fragile table tops, wallpapers, etc. This is why it is not uncommon to find prices for the same category of work costing twice as much as it does on a different location. Surely you don’t expect your contractor to play charity and absorb those expenses do you?

A different location can also have a huge variance on the most expensive cost item – labor. If your state or country has relaxed rules on hiring cheaper foreign labor, you can expect to pay less for workers compared to a place who has tight restrictions. Labor cost is usually something you can’t get away from. Ask your contractor to use less manpower and you will still end up paying the same after factoring in an extended completion date.

2) Builders

In every market, there is always the low-end and high end products and service providers. The same with the renovation industry. Different contractors charge different prices even though we might think that what they do is exactly the same on the surface.

But hiring a cheaper one can mean that you have to be receptive to a final product that does not look exemplary. While a more expensive one usually brings with it a crew with better experience and workmanship. They might even call themselves interior designers or architects. In most cases, you get the same practicality and durability from hiring a cheap or premium contractor. And if meticulous detailing is what you want, go for a more professional firm. You can’t really expect a 6-course meal under cozy warm lighting when all you did was pay for a burger and fries over the counter.

Don’t think that workmanship is that much of a problem? Hire you nephew to paint your living room with a bright color and take a look at the end result. That’s not all. managing contractors can also be a big headache when they are inefficient. Hire a one-man-show and you will know what I’m talking about.

There is also a niche market of contractors with lesser licenses and insurance. If your project is going for low-end, they might be able to offer you what you need at a very affordable cost.

3) Materials

A more beautiful granite tile can look pretty affordable at just an extra $1 per tile. But when you factor in all the tiles you actually need, you might not be able to bring yourself to pull out the credit card at the cashier.

When we buy a new house, we often visualize how aesthetically beautiful we would make the rooms become. And we imagine that they will be easily affordable even when we know in our hearts that they would come with above-average pricing. It is only when you take on the project will you realise how expensive your luxurious taste buds really are.

While we can argue all we want about why finishing and material should not have such a huge price difference, the fact is that some items costs much more to harvest, produce, and transport. They could have more complex processing, need more man-hours to fabricate, and even limited in supply. What’s more a delicate material can eat up more man-hours to handle and finally fix up into your house.

So before you decide on going with a premium level of finishing, please do a budget check before signing on the dotted line. Other items that cost a lot more for premium quality include curtains, wallpaper, tiling, table tops, sofa set fabric, veneers, etc.

4) Layout

It can probably be easily understood that the most cost efficient shape of a house for remodelling is a square one or one with all corners in 90 degree angles. But most people don’t think about how strange angles can make your contractor’s life more difficult. Houses with modern fancy shapes like half-circles and weird angles can cause chaos at the factory manufacturing your furnishing. Even if there is ample space.

You won’t be able to find furniture at the store to fit perfectly into your fancy layouts. The only option is to custom make them. And you don’t have to be reminded of how custom made furniture and fitting can burn a hole in your pocket.

Even when you have found a house with an old-fashioned squarish layout, don’t count your chickens yet. Because old houses might have special requirements for preservation purposes. You might need special permits to do your stuff. You will have to pay for the more meticulous work your contractors have to undertake too.

Since we are on this topic, don’t forget that the building code your are under could also require more planning and more work to be done to meet statutory requirements.

5) Seasonal factors

There are many seasonal factors that affect most businesses. For example, the Chinese tend to go on holiday or return to their home country for Chinese New Year (CNY). It is an annual event that traditionally last up to 15 days. So if the company you are hiring is very dependent on Chinese employees, you would be facing a labor crunch should your renovation run through CNY. You will then have to pay more in order to entice workers to work during this period.

More factors

There are surely more than just 5 factors that can affect the cost of renovating your home. But these 5 pretty much cover an overview of everything. You will only really know how much you have to set aside of renovations once you provide your contractors with the specifics of what you want. And be smart and gather at least 3 quotes from 3 different companies to compare who offers the best value.



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