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What Will Rehabbing a House Really Cost You?

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If you’re considering listing your Birmingham house, the condition of the house matters and has a big impact on both the list price and the amount of time it takes for the home to sell. For sellers concerned about the condition of their home, it can be tempting to rehab the house before listing.

While this might be necessary, a home renovation can be incredibly costly and stressful. As a result, it’s important that homeowners understand the cost of a project before undertaking it. Doing so will let you make an informed decision about what you can or want to do to your home before listing. It will also help avoid every homeowner’s nightmare of starting a project but not being able to complete it.

Average Renovation Costs

A number of factors impact the cost of rehabbing your home including the size of the home, the extent of the renovation, the cost of materials, and the location. That said, national renovation averages can help give homeowners a range of what their renovation might cost.

In 2020, the national average for home renovations was $46,000, and the majority of renovation projects fell in the range of $15,000 to $75,000.

As you’d likely expect, kitchens account for a high percentage of renovation costs. The average renovation cost for kitchens in 2020 was $25,000. Bathrooms are the next most expensive and average around $10,000.

If you want to think about renovation costs by square footage, you should plan for around $20 per square foot, with kitchens costing around $100 per square foot and bedrooms costly only about $10 per square foot. Last year, the average cost for the renovation of a 1,000 square foot home was $19,000, for 2,000 square feet it was $50,000, and for 3,000 square feet it was $75,000.

Calculating Your Rehab Expenses

While averages will give you a sense of the range of your home renovation, before taking on a project you’ll want to get a more exact estimate of what your project will cost. To do this, you’ll need to consider the cost of materials, labor, permits, and unexpected expenses.

Cost of Materials

If you’re working with a contractor, they’ll likely give you a detailed bid that includes the cost of all materials. If you’re not, you’ll need to create this estimate on your own. To do so, you’ll need to know exactly what your project will include. Once you know this, you can make a list of materials.

When you do so, you’ll want to be as specific as possible, including things like the number of doors, windows, fixtures, and appliances. Once you know the materials you’ll need, you can take your list to a home improvement store to price each item and get a sense of your overall cost of materials.

Labor Costs

Next, you’ll need to calculate labor costs. A contractor will add a labor cost of around 5-25% on top of the cost of your project, but even if you’re planning to do some of the work on your own, you’ll likely need to bring in professionals for things like plumbing and electrical work.

The easiest way to estimate these labor costs is to start with an hourly rate and then estimate the number of hours you’ll need. For example, licensed plumbers generally charge between $80 and $130 per hour and electricians average $50 to $100 per hour. Calculate these costs for all professionals you’ll need to get an estimate of your overall cost of labor.


If you’re doing a renovation, you’ll also need to factor in the time and expense of pulling permits. Getting all of the right permits is important for avoiding fines and is especially important if you’re renovating your home to sell.

While this is a step that you don’t want to skip, it’s one that can slow the process down and add to your project budget. Last year, the national average for building permits was $908, so it’s important to consider this expense when budgeting for your home rehab.

Unexpected Costs

Unfortunately, unexpected costs are part of every renovation. Rather than having to try to figure out how to address these during a project, it’s a good idea to anticipate some added expenses from the outset.

Once you’ve come up with a budget for your project, plan to add an additional 20% to the budget for unexpected issues that arise. This is especially important when renovating an older house or one that has lots of deferred maintenance.

Alternatives to Rehabbing Your Home

If you’re concerned about the condition of your home but don’t want to spend the time and money it takes to rehab it, there are other options. Selling to an as-is cash buyer can be the perfect way to avoid the stress, time, and expense of selling an outdated home.

At Home Buyers Birmingham, we buy houses as-is no matter the condition. This means that we’ll give you a cash offer for your home even if it needs repairs, updates, and upgrades. It’s an easy way for you to sell your home without having to put any more time or money into it.

To learn more or to get a cash offer for your Birmingham home, call Home Buyers Birmingham today at (205) 687-0604 or complete our online form.

Home Buyers Birmingham
1821 11th Avenue South Suite #55331
Birmingham, Alabama 35205

What Will Rehabbing a House Really Cost You?

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