How to Set the Budget for the Remodel of Your Dreams

You’ve decided to break ground on your dream San Diego home remodel. Maybe you have visions of a grand master bathroom built around a freestanding marble tub, worthy of a long soak. Maybe you’re yearning for granite kitchen countertops or a stainless steel double sink, sure to be the envy of your whole neighborhood. You’ve got your vision, you’ve found your inspiration, the house of your dreams feels well within reach, now what?

Before you take it beyond scheming and dreaming, picking a reasonable budget for your remodel is key. The budget conversation doesn’t have to be negative – while it certainly can be challenging to prioritize one thing over another due to price constraints, often budget can make such priorities even clearer. Setting a max cap on cash you’re willing or able to spend will help you and your remodel team focus on what’s really important, editing down the endless choices you face when redoing a home or space. When it comes to a remodel, it’s easy to set unrealistic expectations and feel absolutely crushed by sticker shock. Don’t let budget worries and one too many zeros ruin what should be a wonderfully exciting and fun experience! While setting a firm, reasonable and realistic budget that both you and your remodel team are comfortable with is imperative, you should never lose sight of the fact that your home improvement is fun.

What you ultimately spend on your San Diego home remodel will require consideration of numerous things, including: the condition of your home, the size of the desired renovation area, and your priorities for the home (think must have upgrades or furnishings). Determining a budget early and exploring the potential limiting factors is important to any home remodel project. We know that sounds about as fun as watching paint dry, but hammering out budget specifics now will help you avoid major build-out burnout, total sticker shock and ensure that you have a realistic idea of how far your budget will go.

Identify the scope of your remodel

While we’d love to say the sky’s the limit when it comes to your remodel, ultimately your bank account is. Before you can assess a job cost and land on a budget, you’ll need to prioritize what exactly needs the TLC (and investment) that comes with a remodel. What are the changes you most hope to see in your home? Do you yearn to mix and mash in a bigger, more updated kitchen?  Does your growing family require a larger living room? Are you converting your office into a mancave? Whether you’re living in the home, preparing to move in or getting ready to sell, a great majority of homeowners choose to renovate the ‘bigger ticket’ items first (the kitchen, bathrooms, master bedroom) though ultimately that decision is completely up to you!

Some of the most popular remodels are:

While the options are endless when it comes to a home remodel, nailing down a specific scope of work is the first time in finding your budget, keeping in mind that each remodel must take into consideration a range of complexities and corresponding prices. For example,  a major kitchen remodel comes in at close to $69,380 with a complete high end kitchen remodel costing close to $131, 921. According to The National Kitchen and Bath Association, the top expenses in kitchen remodels include: cabinetry/hardware (29%), installation (17%), appliances (14%), countertops (10%) and flooring (7%). It will be helpful for you to keep in mind that in general, major upgrades such as bathroom remodel or family-room addition will run you about $100 to $200 more per square foot.

Having a clear idea of not only how you want your finished product to look (and feel!) but the scope of work at hand will make deciding on a reasonable budget much easier. Once you and your family have narrowed down your fantasy remodel into a room or area specific, you’ll be able to best begin budgeting!

Calculate How Much You Have to Spend (And Gain!)

You’ve narrowed down your must-haves, you’ve identified your ‘can’t live withouts’, you’ve even zeroed in on a particular room or space. Now what? First, ask: Do you have the money?  Another hard question that will ultimately lead to remodel magic, but we know, it’s not a particularly fun one. Do you have the majority of your budget in savings? Do you want to consider a loan? If you’re paying in cold hard cash, that’s easy to answer but if you are like the vast majority of homeworkers that chose to borrow from the bank, identifying the ideal home loan for you is the next step.

There are three basic types of home loan options:

Most often, homeowners choose to borrow for a home improvement project with a home equity line of credit. It’s a loan that is secured by your home’s equity, meaning that it qualifies for a lower rate than most other types of loans, and its interest is tax deductible. This loan is specifically ideal for those who need access to money over a period of time to fund an ongoing home improvement project and expenses.

If your remodel is a one-time project, a home equity loan might make the most sense. This specific loan is best for those who know exactly how much they’ll need to borrow.

It’s important to remember that with the big checks you write for home improvement projects, come big return on investments should you ever decide to sell your home. Did you know that a typical kitchen remodel yields around 75.3% ROI? That’s a pretty great bonus to consider, when thinking remodel.

Taking a hard look at your finances, assessing how much the bank will lend you (be sure to shop around!) and determining what type of loan would work best sounds daunting but once you do, you’re on your way!

Run Your Budget Past the Pros

You’ve tackled some serious remodeling homework and you’re ready to run your budget past some professionals to see if they’d be a solid remodel fit. Round up some strong recommendations from friends, family and neighbors that had positive, in-budget, on-time experiences with contractors. Pull suggestions from your social media network or check out your neighbor’s new room addition to see the quality first hand. Once you have your list of pro’s that you’d like to price out, keep in mind that you want to make sure they can work well with your budget. A great contractor can work within a wide net of budgets but clear spend parameters early and upfront are key for both parties!

The professionals should be prepared to reassure you that you’ve selected a safe, comfortable number for your project or give you a bit of a reality check when it comes to budgeting. The right contractor for the job should understand that your home remodel is so much more than a project or financial decision, and work with you accordingly. These trained experts can give you crucial feedback on what is or isn’t possible within your named budget before you break ground, so rest assured that this step will save you further discomfort down the road. Don’t shy away from being firm on your budget. You want to avoid any post-remodel financial regret, so establishing and maintaining it  early in conversation with your potential remodel team is imperative. This is a great way to make sure that your budget isn’t wildly unrealistic for the work you are hoping to receive, and that you find the right contractor for the job! Remember that any reputable remodeling company should confidently be able to assess your project and give you honest feedback on the scope of work, timeframe, and cost.

When talking with the experts, don’t be afraid to bring up things like: what materials are best for which areas of your home, concerns around durability and upkeep, and other options they think you should consider. If you’ve already fallen in love with types of materials or finish items, make sure each contractor is aware of your love-list and can provide you an estimate for each. By calling out these details up front, you can guarantee that any prospective contractors price out the same items so you can make the best decision for your home

Questions to Consider Asking Your Contractor Candidates

Don’t Let Sticker-Shock Steal Your Fun

When coming up with a realistic list of features, fixtures and finish touches that your remodel wouldn’t be complete without, it is easy to work up quite an impressive ‘must have’ list. Double sinks, granite everywhere, dual dishwashers, the works. Unfortunately, until you start pricing out these items, it’s impossible to really know what is realistic. You may fall head over heels with the idea of custom cabinetry, then face total heartache when it comes to that $2,000 per linear foot price tag! You may have dreams of that Sub-Zero, stainless steel, stunning refrigerator, and understandably so! You can hardly wait to have it, you can practically picture the endless opportunities for food storage and then…you hear the price. You can barely pick your jaw up off the showroom floor and yet, you do, just enough to spit out: “How?!” That’s sticker shock. Unfortunately, it can be a gigantic stealer of all remodel fun, if you let it. Fear not, there are a couple of ways to avoid the disappointment and shock of a steep price tag when it comes to your San Diego remodel.

Be Realistic In Your Needs

Ask yourself if your cooking needs require that pro-style range, complete with high speed cooking time (and one too many zeros.) You and your family will cook up meals and memories in this room for years to come, so it’s understandable you want to splurge! If so, there is your bigger ticket item, but if it doesn’t, consider opting for a high performing mid-priced range to better suit the budget.  A kitchen remodel, for example, requires you to take into consideration appliances, cabinetry, and countertops. When it comes to battling sticker shock, researching the cost of your must-haves early is key. Consider that you’ll use appliances more than other features in your kitchen, and look for energy-efficient appliances with solid warranties, or be prepared to bring home less of a brand-name product but save a few thousand dollars. A refrigerator may need to be replaced sooner than a cooktop, but a quality dishwasher may make your life easier. If a showpiece countertop will be the focal point for your kitchen, this may be where you want to spend more. Again, it comes down to realistically identifying the needs your home should fill for you and your family.

Swap for Budget

Say you simply can’t live without granite but your wallet doesn’t seem to understand that – there are beautiful alternatives for your budget. Granite has assorted grades ranging from 1-5 or on various scales depending on the manufacturer. Consider opting for a grade 2 rather than 5, for the look you want without all the cost. When it comes to a bathroom remodel in San Diego, the average mid-range price tag falls around $21,676 with an upscale remodel cost of $65,847. If you’ve got your sight set on a revamped bathroom but cost is a concern, consider avoiding moving sinks, toilets and shower plumbing in your renovation plans, you can save upwards of $1,000.


By researching material, fixture and appliance costs early and upfront in the process, you and your family can avoid the reeling sticker shock down the road. If you specify what you want, need and can spend on appliance or upgrade, you can save yourself the price-tag panic. Depending on the type of remodel your investing in, there are plenty of ways to get you the look and feel of your dreams, without blowing your budget.

Keep in mind that remodeling your home is more often than not, an incredible luxury that is hard-earned! You and your family have worked hard to call your home your own, and upgrading or adding to it is a wonderful investment for both present and future. Between budgets and pricing, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that what you’re doing is improving upon a place you hold so near and dear. Setting a reasonable budget, researching your must-haves, and finding the perfect team to make it happen will set you and your home up for total remodel success.  At Kaminskiy, we understand that the pressures of remodeling the most important piece of real estate can feel overwhelming. That’s why our focus has always and will always be to provide you and your home with the very best in San Diego.. We deliver beautiful remodels on-time, in-budget and strive to go above and beyond every step of the way.