Our Instagram and HGTV-loving world has put dreaming of the perfect home renovation on the minds of many homeowners. The still climbing costs of real estate (and land!) and limited inventory in the Boston suburbs lend support to a booming market for home renovations, especially those that add value through updated expansive kitchens and baths and more square footage.

While made-for-marketing images (think professional lighting, staging and special lenses) of home renovations look stunning, the cost of what it takes to renovate a home (or simply a kitchen) is often more than a first-timer thinks.

And, more often than not, renovation sticker shock occurs when a homeowner has already gone too far in the planning process. Often thousands of dollars have been spent drawing and revising plans with an architect, only to discover building limitations on the property or design dreams are bigger than wallet.

How can homeowners get a clear sense of the cost of their home project as early as possible, thereby not wasting time and money planning for a renovation that exceeds budget?

Here are some ways homeowners can avoid sticker shock for renovation costs:

1.) Understand the true scope of the project. Is the goal more space, additional bedrooms or bathrooms, a new floorpan, an upgraded kitchen? Be very specific with needs vs. glamor. Most importantly, avoid thinking about the lipstick before considering the basics. While plumbing and insulation aren’t sexy, it’s better to invest in them before putting in a brand new kitchen, only to have to re-invest later when systems start to fail.

2.) Bring in an architect and builder simultaneously during early discussions. Drawings cost money and revisions get expensive. Don’t have an architect design a dream home without consulting a builder and defining costs. If both parties have a clear sense of goals and budget at the get-go, you can ensure there will be no surprises later on.

3.) If design and build costs exceed the current budget, consider a staged renovation vs. shopping for the cheapest quote. Skilled architects and builders can work together to create a master plan that can be executed over several years. Being super frugal doesn’t result in a proper renovation. Yes, there are ways you can save money and manage your budget, but in my experience, hiring the cheapest resource gets you what you pay for: cheap results.

Investing in a home renovation is a massive undertaking with many moving parts. Understanding the cadence of residential construction is a must for any homeowner. Contact me and I will give you the guidance you need on how to get started.


Blueprint Advisors helps homeowners hire the perfect skilled team from the start, guaranteeing a smoother building process and avoiding costly mistakes. Connect with us for a free consultation.