10 Sneaky Hidden Costs of Home Remodeling

Even though most homeowners set a budget before they start a remodeling project, the final cost of renovations can end up being thousands more. Why? Well, one big culprit is the fact that when you break down walls, you can uncover all sorts of surprising problems, from shoddy fix-ups by the previous owner to unexpected plumbing and wiring issues—and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Be prepared! Review these 10 sneaky costs of home remodeling that you could encounter in your next renovation.

  1. Obtaining Permits

    How Much is a Building Permit

    When it's time for a renovation project, homeowners can’t just whip out their power tools and start construction. If the job involves anything beyond surface changes, you'll probably have to secure some permits first. Depending on the extent of the renovations, the cost of permits can range from the low hundreds to thousands of dollars.

    Related: Worth It: 8 Renovations That Pay You Back


  2. Hiring a Professional

    How Much is a Contractor?

    Some renovation projects are simply too big for a homeowner to tackle with a sledgehammer and a few household tools. If you plan on demolishing walls around appliances or removing cabinets and flooring, or if you're uncertain about the location of your wiring and plumbing, you'll probably need to call in a professional. Hiring a contractor can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on the scope of the job.

    Related: 10 Things Your Contractor May Not Be Telling You


  3. Disposing of Debris

    How to Remove Construction Debris

    Once you’ve ripped everything out, you've got to trash your construction debris. This task is easier said than done, however, because municipalities regulate the types of waste acceptable for curbside disposal. Depending on where you live, you’ll incur costs if you need to hire a vehicle, rent a trash bin or dumpster, or recruit a company to remove the debris for you.

    Related: 9 Little Tricks to Make Trash Day Less of a Chore


  4. Figuring Out Property Lines

    Land Survey to Determine Property Lines

    If you’re planning to erect a fence, wall, or landscape feature near the edge of your property, first make sure that the land you think is yours doesn't actually belong to someone else. For a variety of reasons, property lines can get blurred over time, so if you haven’t completed a land survey recently, you’ll want to order one to ensure you don’t build on your neighbor's lot. This service typically runs a couple of hundred dollars.

    Related: Sell High: Top 7 Value-Boosting Home Renovations


  5. Fixing Old Workarounds

    Fixing a Botched Repair Job

    Maybe the previous owner of your home put a new roof on top of a patchy old one, or did some clever DIY rejiggering to channel water into the laundry room. These cheap workarounds won’t fly with your new permit. If the previous homeowner was a slipshod handyman, you may have to correct dozens of botched or illegal repair jobs.

    Related: 13 Home Improvements That Are Illegal to DIY


  6. Getting Your Home Up to Code

    Outdated Building Codes

    If your home hasn’t been renovated in decades, be aware that building codes have probably changed since that last upgrade. You may need to make alterations beyond your original plan to, say, move appliances or carve out a basement bedroom—especially if you’re renovating for resale purposes.

    Related: Rescued from Ruin: 9 Extreme Makeovers You Need to See


  7. Fixing Water Issues

    Water Issues When Renovating Home

    Keeping your home dry doesn’t come cheap. Expect to uncover some sort of water issue when renovating, whether it involves water-sealing the basement, adding sump pumps, fixing leaky gutters, or grading your property to keep water away from your home’s foundation. Also, if you’re planning to add a bathroom to your home, get ready to pay thousands to have the plumbing rerouted.

    Related: 12 Things Your Plumber Wishes You Knew


  8. Remediating Pest Damage

    Fixing Damage from Pests

    When you open up walls and reveal rafters, you may uncover damage caused by termites, mice, squirrels, and other pests. Insects and critters can find their way through teeny-tiny openings and then travel all over a home, so fixing the damage they inflict can be anything from a nuisance to a several-thousand-dollar surprise.

    Related: 10 Bugs That Are Living in Your House—and How to Get Them Out!


  9. Updating Home Features

    What to Update in Home Renovation

    If you’re planning to open up walls for renovations, consider biting the bullet and updating Wi-Fi boosters, in-wall speakers, cable, and other practical and appealing built-in features. While you may not have originally planned these updates, they're useful upgrades that you may want in the future—and that will be more expensive to do after you’ve sealed up the walls.

    Related: The 7 Essential Tools of Deconstruction


  10. Adding Finishing Touches

    Finishing Touches for Home

    You may have budgeted for paint, tile, and cabinetry—but did you remember that you’ll need art for your new walls, drapes and blinds for your updated windows, and knobs for your freshly faced doors? People often don’t budget for decorative “extras,” but those items can add up quickly, especially if you’ve completely changed the layout or style of your home.

    Related: 14 Easy DIY Living Room Updates Anyone Can Do in a Day


  11. Remodel Reconsiderations

    Remodel Reconsiderations

    Even with a budget in mind it is very easy to go over. Once you add these new costs to your calculations consider which areas you’re comfortable splurging on and which ones you’re okay scaling back on. Compromise is key during a renovation.


  12. Don't Miss!


    There's no shame in asking for (or hiring) help. In fact, with some humdrum home maintenance tasks, doing it yourself doesn't do you any good. Read on!