When budgeting for any renovation project, there are certain remodeling guidelines that it is advisable to follow. Remodeling ideas can become grandiose and extend beyond your budget. It is wise to add a contingency amount of at least 15%, if not more, in case of unexpected issues. House remodeling is stressful enough without panicking at the end when the final bills have to be paid. You can be pretty sure that your job will go past the scheduled finish date, but you may not have anticipated these nasty surprises: 


Once you start demolishing you may discover Bug-ville! I don’t like creepy crawlies at the best of times and am lucky to live in Southern California, which is amazingly bug free. But living in a warm climate means living in termite land. The little terrors inflict millions of dollars worth of damage to homes each year. Termites may be the lesser of two weevils as I would rather deal with them than rats or roaches! Either way, creepies will cost you money. If you discover unwanted guests, you will have to call pest control to evict them before your remodeling plans can continue. 


Most pets don’t like change to their regular routine. Drills, hammers, saws and workmen traipsing in and out of their domain can be super unsettling for your furry friends. Lock them away in a quiet part of the house if possible or ask whether family or friends can take them during the most disruptive phase of construction. If this is not possible, you may want to budget for a few nights at a Pet Hotel. 


Asbestos can lurk in all sorts of hidden places. If your home was built before 1980, you may find it in old floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles, ducting or siding. The only way to deal with it permanently is to remove it. Asbestos has to be taken out by a certified abatement contractor who will eliminate the offending material and then give you a report that proves there are no fibers in the air. This is not a DIY job and many remodeling contractors do not have the necessary certification to remove asbestos safely. Don’t mess with it. Just get rid of it. 


Lead paint is serious business. If your home was built prior to 1978, you may have lead paint on your walls. As the lead paint ages, it can chip and crumble into dust. Young children are particularly at risk for health problems if they breathe this in. The paint has to be enclosed or removed before your renovation project can continue. All states have lead abatement programs and although requirements may vary, you need a certified contractor to carry out the removal. 


If you are using a remodeling contractor, he will usually apply for the building permits and they should be covered in his quotation. If you are doing it yourself, budget on the cost of the permits and allow plenty of time for them to be approved before work begins. You don’t want to add a fine to your final invoice. 


Your beautiful new kitchen and spa like bathroom will undoubtedly add value to your home and if the assessor thinks so too, this will result in higher property taxes. 


Don’t get a shock when you get your first electricity bill after work has begun. Who did you think was paying for the power for paint sprayers, compressors and power washers? 


Add a “broom clause” to your contract that makes the remodeling contractor responsible for the removal of trash and debris. Otherwise you may find you are paying for a dumpster. 


Your stuff has to be moved out of the way before work can start. If you have a garage or an attic, you may be fine. If you live in a smaller space, you may have to rent a portable storage unit until the house remodel is completed. Portable containers can be delivered to your home so you can enjoy easy access to your belongings at a moment’s notice. 


When we were doing our last remodel, we kept the little Greek restaurant round the corner in business. We hadn’t planned on eating out that often, but by the end of each day, we were so tired and irritable that we just wanted to get out of the messy house. Add eating out to your budget and you won’t get a nasty shock on your credit card bill. And don’t forget to order an extra case of wine to preserve sanity and smiles – doctor’s orders!