5 Tips for Setting a Budget for Your Historic Home Remodel

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Setting Historic Home Remodel Budget

You love your historic home. From its location to its layout all the way down to its historical and architectural significance, you want to keep it in the best shape possible.

Unfortunately, your home has seen better days. Now it’s time for a remodel.

But where do you even start with your historic home remodel? It’s a huge undertaking that requires some careful considerations, not the least of which is your budget for the project. To get you started, here are 5 tips for setting a budget for your historic home remodel:

Decide What You Want to Do

Are you going for a full-scale home remodel, or just redoing some of the rooms? Do you want to renovate in an historically accurate manner, or are you looking to create a modern interior?

The specific projects you’re planning to tackle and how in-depth you want the renovation to go are going to greatly determine how much money you’ll need to put aside. Larger, more extensive projects are going to cost more, of course, than smaller projects.

If your budget is tight, consider scaling back your initial project plans to tackle what’s most impactful or most important right now, and saving some of the other items for another time when you can save up more money.

Determine What’s Allowed

Your historic home may come with historic designation. Because of this, you may be limited on what you can and cannot do with your remodel.

If your home has historic designation, you likely have stipulations on what you can and can’t renovate, what types of materials and fixtures you can use when replacing things, and even what colors you may be able to use when repainting.

Check with the body that issued your home’s historic designation to find out their requirements for renovations before you begin making any plans. The stipulations could greatly impact your budget, depending on how stringent they are, so be prepared to change your plans based on what you find out from the historic commission.

Determine How Much You Can Spend

Now is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, on your historic home remodel.

Think very carefully about how much you can spend on your project, not just how much you want to spend. Whether you’ve got money set aside for this renovation or you’re planning to take out a loan to pay for it, don’t put yourself in a tight financial spot for your renovation. 

And always plan that at least 10 percent of your budget will need to be set aside for contingencies. Accidents happen, materials prices increase, and the weather gets in the way; don’t leave yourself scrambling at the end because you forgot to plan for unforeseen circumstances.

Call Specialty Contractors

Once you’ve got a high dollar amount in your head, it’s time to start seeing what the real costs of work might be.

The best way to do this is call up contractors who specialize in historic home renovations and ask for quotes on your project. While it can be tempting to go with a general renovation contractor to save some money, contractors experienced in historic home renovations understand the unique challenges that your project may present and can overcome them with less time and money.

In the end, hiring a standard contractor may actually end up costing you more than if you’d hired someone experienced with historic home renovations up front.

A specialty contractor will take a look at your home and listen to the plans you’ve got for the space, giving you a realistic idea of what everything will cost. This may be an enlightening process, as you may learn that you’ve got to cut your expectations in order to be able to afford your project, or that you may be able to add some extra upgrades.

Set Priorities

Armed with your budget and quotes from a few specialty contractors, it’s time to set priorities for your project.

While it would be great to be able to tackle everything at once, the reality is that your wants may far exceed your budget. Because of this, you need to set priorities for your project.

If you really need to replace a fixture, but your desired replacement is way out of budget, you need to make a decision whether to find another option or to cut something else out of your plans. And just because something’s cut from the plans now doesn’t mean it will never get done, so your prioritizing may mean you save some items for another time.

Start by listing out the things that absolutely must get done. If, for example, your countertops are cracked or your floor is in bad shape, these need to be at the top of your list. Next, add in those items you want to have done but aren’t necessary, in order of importance to you.

Keep a running tally based on the estimates you’ve gotten from contractors so you can know if adding those great sconces will be possible or not.

There really are no right or wrong answers with this process; you get to choose what’s a priority for you and what isn’t.

Historic Home Renovation in MD & VA

Your historic home renovation presents its own unique set of challenges. Whether it’s navigating your historic council’s regulations or finding out just what’s behind that scary-looking wall panel, our team of experienced historic home renovation contractors have what it takes to complete your project on time, on budget, and to your specifications. With more than 30 years working on historic homes in Maryland and Virginia, you’re sure to get what you’re looking for when you hire Irvine Construction. Schedule a free consultation today!

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