How to Budget For Remodeling Projects When Buying A Home 




When you buy a home, chances are you’ll want to put your own special touches on it with updates and improvements. But how will you pay for your remodeling wish list? 


This article will show you how to budget for various remodeling projects for your Minneapolis-area home, whether it’s a new house, a fixer-upper, or a property you plan to flip a few years down the line. 


Prioritize Your List of Remodeling Projects 

You are about to plunk down a lot of money to buy a home, but you also have — or should have — already earmarked some funds for those renovations and improvements you want to make. 


What is your remodeling budget? That’s the starting point. Then look at the list of remodeling projects and renovations you want to make and prioritize that work. What projects do you need or want to do first? Which projects can wait? 


For example, you might want to prioritize home improvements that will increase your property value, such as new windows, a patio, a fire pit … (to create an outdoor space that’s enjoyable on those chilly Minneapolis nights), and an outdoor screened porch. 


Here are some remodeling projects that typically bring a good return on investment (ROI). We’ll cover some ways to pay for or budget for these projects a bit later.  


Project 3378-1 Basement Laundry Room Remodel Minneapolis LR 31

Basement remodel: If you want to turn your basement into a family room, bedroom, or entertainment center, that will typically cost between $40,000 and $90,000. If you add a bathroom downstairs, that will increase your costs.  




Kitchen makeover: Adding new appliances, countertops, backsplashes, sink and faucet, flooring, trim, and the like can get rather pricey. Updating your kitchen can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $34,000, but bringing the kitchen up to date increases your home value and your own personal enjoyment if you love to cook and entertain.  


Home improvement prices will vary based on the materials used, vendors, labor, and the time involved. For example, high-end, brand-name kitchen appliances and fixtures from designer showrooms tend to cost more than those found in big-box home retailers.  


Pro Tip: Get at least three estimates before you contract for any home improvement and add 10% to your budget to cover any incidentals.  


Building permits add costs. Room additions, swimming pools, retaining walls, decks, and other elaborate projects require a Minneapolis building permit. Different communities have different rules, but your contractor often can handle getting the required permits and includes this in the project price.   


Once you’ve landed on the price of the remodeling project, subtract that from your home improvement budget. Do this for each project on your home improvement wish list. This will keep your home remodeling budget out of the red.  

How to Budget for Your Home Projects 

If your remodeling wish list is loaded with projects and you want to try to get as much done as quickly as possible, there are some fancy financial tools to help you turn your fixer-upper into your dream home.  

Cash: The best way to pay for a home remodeling project is cash. Tap that money you set aside for home remodeling when you closed on your home. Paying for a remodeling project upfront is usually easy if you’re talking about painting a room, staining a deck, or adding some low-cost solar lighting around the property.  

Earmarked savings account: Banks make it easy now to save for a goal, whether it’s a big vacation, the arrival of a baby, or a big-ticket home improvement. Some banks let you sweep money from your checking to your earmarked savings account every pay period. When you have enough in the account, tackle that home improvement project. 

For larger remodeling projects, you may need a bigger financial plan. 

Credit cards can tide you over until you get paid, but don’t put any remodeling project on plastic that you won’t be able to pay off when the statement comes. Why? Credit cards have high-interest rates if you can’t pay your bill.  

But if you play your cards right, the rewards points you earned paying to renovate your home office could pay for your next Florida vacation.  

Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) – Placing a second mortgage on your house may not be wise to pay for a home remodeling project unless you’re sure to recoup the costs when it’s time to sell the property.  

Here’s why: Home equity loan fees are like an original mortgage and may include (but are not limited to) property appraisal, application, closing costs, title search, mortgage preparation, title insurance, and taxes.  

The Best Advice? 

Pay as you go: Work down your remodeling wish list like Santa checks off the kids’ gifts on his list.  

If you have a big sack of money to tap for renovations after closing, go for it. Get as much done as you want — as long as you have enough money for furniture in your home, food on the table, and keeping the lights and heat on, of course.  

Keeping the heat on is especially important in our Minneapolis winters.  

If your home improvement wish list is longer than you have funds to pay for now, tackle those projects only when you can afford them. Why? You don’t want your new home to become a money pit you dug yourself by tackling too much renovating too soon. 



Cindy Mitchell is a home stager and lifestyle and landscape design writer. She is a social butterfly and loves to entertain guests at home with beautifully decorated spaces for any occasion. 


Should You Buy a Fixer-Upper in 2021?

Buying a house is a very personal decision, no matter the year. If you and your family are looking for the next place that feels like home, you likely have several options, which can feel overwhelming. Especially this year, not only do you have to make common decisions about homeownership, but you also need to think about the implications of buying a house during a pandemic.


Purchasing a fixer-upper is a dream to many, but it isn’t ideal for some. Many buyers would prefer to move into a home they don’t have to change before they get to living. However, you could be one of those people on the fence. You might like the idea of a fixer-upper but aren’t sure if it would be right for you currently. In 2021, every person has their priorities, and you can find what works for you, whether that happens to be a fixer-upper or a move-in-ready renovation.


Here are a few things to consider if you’re asking yourself about buying a fixer-upper in 2021.

1. The Market

ext_front_web-1One of the most significant factors to consider when buying a home is the market. Right now, many cities are experiencing a seller’s market, which means that the market is better for those selling their homes and looking for more return on their investment. Because people are looking to buy houses right now, the competition is driving prices up. With more competition for new houses, you may find yourself leaning more towards a fixer-upper, which might leave a bit more room in your budget.


2. Your Budget


Speaking of your budget, taking a look at what money you have saved and where you stand with your finances in relation to the current market could help you make your choice. While some years can encourage you to go a bit bigger, the competition in the market could mean that your precious savings could make more use of themselves in a renovation, not in the buy itself.


3. Your Time












Money isn’t the only thing you need to include in a budget. For some people, the most precious resource they need to consider is time. If you don’t have time to make big changes to a house and conduct renovations, finding a move-in-ready home might be the best direction for you.


Instead of finding a brand new place to live, you can even find a middle ground. For example, you can find renovated fixer-uppers with the work already finished before you walk through the door. The before and after photos of these homes prove that the work doesn’t have to fall on you.



4. Thinking Long Term


Another aspect to think about when buying any new house is the long-term investments you’re making as a part of your next move. While putting your money towards cheap fixes and renovations might seem like a good idea at the time, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your home is to invest in quality fixtures that will last and pay off in the long run.


5. Creativity






How much creative freedom and liberty do you want to take with your new home? While getting a fixer-upper is a great way to save money, it can also be a fantastic way to build the dream home you’ve always wanted if you have a specific vision. Working with those around you and having a plan can make it all worthwhile, especially if you have ideas that only you can execute.


6. Your Skills


Always consider the skills in your wheelhouse when deciding whether to buy a fixer-upper. When you look into each home, taking your skills into account is vital to determine what small projects you can reasonably do yourself. While DIY is a great way to save money, you should also be cautious. Taking on large projects that require a professional’s expertise can end up costing you more money and time than you bargained for, and could even be dangerous.


7. Finding Trusted Professionals








To avoid any risky situations, consider the team you’ll work with to renovate. Especially if you happen to fall in love with a home with structural damage, safety hazards or large projects in need of rebuilding, finding a contractor or builder you trust will be integral to the process. Unless you happen to be a professional yourself, you probably don’t want to take on a whole remodel alone. Finding someone who can do the job right is almost as important as finding a house with the bones to make it happen.




8. A Spectrum of Remodeling


Whether you have a “move-in-ready” home or a “fixer-upper” isn’t a binary black and white system. It’s more of a spectrum. The term “fixer-upper” can describe anything from a home with a few projects here and there and a fresh coat of paint to put up, all the way to a crumbling foundation and a mold issue. Each home is different, and you can find a fixer-upper that feels appropriate for your situation, no matter where that sits on the spectrum.


Should You Buy a Fixer-Upper in 2021?

The kind of house you buy is all about what your family needs and how you see yourself living. Whether that means you find a fixer-upper with a few projects to complete, a move-in-ready beauty or a place with some serious work to do, the most crucial part is that it’ll be yours. That’s something to celebrate.


Rose writes on home improvement and renovation projects. She is also the managing editor for Renovated. To read more of her work, check out her site.

How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Going green means changing your lifestyle to minimize your carbon footprint. Personal habits like using plastic straws have quick fixes, but what can you do about your house? The hours spent bonding with family members at home shouldn’t go against your green standards. This guide will show you how to make your residence more energy-efficient to align it with your sustainable efforts. 

1. Start With New Curtains 

When you walk up to a window during the summer, you’ll likely feel the air temperature increase. In the winter, that temperature plummets. Extreme heat and cold air permeate window panes because of the thin glass, but the simple act of changing your curtains can help. 


Double-layered, sun-blocking curtains form a barrier between the glass and your home. They regulate temperature more reliably than thinner curtains that don’t insulate anything. 

2. Adjust Your Thermostat 

 Turning your thermostat down by 7-10 degrees will save 10% of your annual electricity bill by matching the outdoor temperature. If your home doesn’t have to battle extreme heat with air conditioning or vice versa, it won’t need energy to turn the fans on frequently. Staying a little colder in the winter and warmer in the summer makes an immediate difference in your home’s energy consumption. 

3. Check Your Windows 

 Every window has caulking around the edges to finish the installation with an airtight seal. However, time and weathering will chip it away. Your home may use more energy to cool or heat itself because outdoor air slips in through cracks around your windows. 

Hold a flame up to your window edges to see if it flickers. If it does, you’ll know where to re apply sealant. It’s best to do this when your HVAC unit shuts down and your ceiling fans turn off. The flame needs a still environment to reveal sealant leaks more accurately. 

Older windows may have extensive sealant or weathering damage. In that case, replacing them will make your home safer and prevent ongoing expensive repair fees. Marvin teams are ready to assist with quick and easy window replacements. Our recent partnership with Marvin as Authorized Replacement Contractors guarantees unmatched performance and durability, so your investment results in long-lasting windows that also make your home more energy-efficient. 


4. Change Your Lightbulbs 


The next time you need to replace a lightbulb, buy a pack that’s more sustainable. Many people reach for traditional incandescent bulbs, but CFLs use 75% less energy. LEDs also last longer than incandescents by using less electricity. Stick with the recommended wattage for your lamps, and you’ll find a replacement that lights your home without relying heavily on power plants. 

5. Upgrade Your Appliances 

Appliances should last a good decade or even longer. They’re an expensive purchase that homeowners dread replacing, but you can use that replacement to your advantage. Switch old models with smart appliances that monitor their energy usage with the latest technology. 

This would make a significant difference for appliances that continuously need electricity, like refrigerators and freezers. The fixtures would know when to go into sleep mode without spoiling your food. 


6. Find New Air Filters 

Homeowners should replace traditional air filters every two to three months, but paying a bit more for high-quality filters would make your home more energy-efficient. Better filters last longer, which allows your HVAC unit to function efficiently. When it doesn’t have to work twice as long to circulate air through clogged filters, it will use less energy. 


Upgrading your air filters may mean paying more, but only for a few times each year. You’ll save money, reduce your energy consumption and breathe cleaner air by going green. 


7. Get an Energy Audit 


If you’re not sure where to start with your house’s carbon footprint, you can audit its energy usage. Anyone can do this at home by forming a checklist. Record places to check and tips to remember, like: 


  • Locating air leaks 
  • Checking your insulation 
  • Inspecting your HVAC system 


You can also hire an expert to inspect your home more closely. With or without their help, you’ll investigate how your house consumes electricity and figure out ways to reduce your levels. 

8. Install Solar Panels 


Solar panels remove the issue of electricity altogether. While it is estimated that polluted air is the cause behind 7 million deaths each year, using a renewable energy like solar power is one way to help curb the pollution crisis and create a sustainable home/ 


Your home could function solely on sunlight, but no one should do this kind of installation on their own. Hire a team of professionals to add solar panels to your roof and disconnect you from the electricity grid. They’ll do it right the first time and avoid dangerous situations. 


Some homeowners may shy away from this idea because they don’t like the price tag. It’s understandable, but you’ll also benefit from a federal tax credit that rewards people for using solar energy. You’ll get part of that installation cost back in your pocket when you file your annual return.  

9. Update Your HVAC Unit  

Older homes often use outdated HVAC units. They’re supposed to last at least 15 years, but that means your system likely uses technology from over a decade ago. It might consume more electricity than you’d like just because of its design.  


Updating your HVAC unit comes with multiple benefits. You won’t need to worry about it breaking down during extreme cold or hot weather because it’s brand new. It will also make your home more energy-efficient because newer models include green technology. Find one with a planet-friendly guarantee to minimize your carbon footprint. 

10. Replace Your Desktop Computer  

Desktop computers are an affordable way to connect your family to the internet without buying individual laptops, but they also need a massive power supply. Replacing your desktop computer with a laptop will reduce energy usage by 80%, depending on which model you buy. 


Compare different laptop models and inquire about how much electricity they’d need. You’ll find a new computer that meets your needs without drawing on energy like older desktops do. 


While you take note of how much electricity each laptop needs, compare battery models as well. If you only need to charge your laptop once a day, the battery will utilize that electricity without wasting it. Extended life is just one way to make better use of the energy that even the greenest laptop needs. 

Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient 


You can make your home more energy-efficient with these simple tips. Make a quick change by switching your curtains or schedule a bigger renovation with a professional team. No matter how you decide to go green, the environment will be better off because you made energy-conscious lifestyle changes. 


Rose writes on home improvement and renovation projects. She is also the managing editor for Renovated. To read more of her work, check out her site.

Everything You Need to Know:














Whether we like to admit it or not, the bathroom is one of the most important rooms in our home. The necessity of various biological functions — not to mention hygiene — means we visit this room at least a few times every day.

If you live in an older home, your bathroom probably hasn’t enjoyed a facelift in decades. If you have a bathroom renovation planned in the future, here’s everything you need to know before you start breaking out the tools.

Have a Plan
This should be step one before you jump into any renovation project, regardless of the targeted room. Make sure you have a plan before you start knocking down walls or tearing out fixtures. Diving into any project without a firm plan in mind will end in tears. Work with a design firm to create a detailed plan so you know exactly what will need to go into the remodeling project to create the bathroom of your dreams.

This is where you can really customize your space. Choose your flooring and tile color. Pick a soft colored grout that blends with the tile or something bold that provides a brilliant contrast. Design your countertops and choose your fixtures to match, compliment or contrast. You’re only limited by your imagination — and your budget.


Write a Budget
This is the other step you need to complete before you start construction. Write a detailed budget for all the expected expenses — and then include some extra padding for unexpected expenses that might sneak up on you. You will have to go through all the steps to acquire any necessary permits as well as an additional cost. Thankfully, when working with Castle Building & Remodeling, you’ll know exactly how much your bathroom renovation will cost before you get started. Our upfront pricing is a pillar to our business foundation and we do everything we can to avoid change orders. You can even get an idea of what your project will cost before speaking with our sales team by checking out our project costs page.

Once you’ve written your budget, stick to it. It’s easy to go over your budget and unnecessarily spend way too much money on your remodeling project. Plan everything out and stick to that strategy. If you’ve got some money left over afterward, you can treat yourself to a nice bottle of champagne or a steak dinner.


Don’t Be Afraid to Dream Big








We talked about creating a budget and sticking to it, and that is important. But within that budget, don’t be afraid to splurge to create the bathroom you’ve always dreamed of. If you love long and luxurious baths, invest in a large bathtub that is big enough to accommodate your entire body. If you don’t take baths at all, you can replace your bathtub with a shower stall.

You’re going to be spending a portion of each day in this room. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra money where it really matters.


Understand the Dimensions
When you’re remodeling a bathroom, you are still working with a limited amount of space. It’s essential to understand the dimensions of both the room and the things you’ll be installing. You need to make the most of the space without cluttering it up.

Think about who will be using the bathroom and whether you need any sort of special accomodations for them. Will you be sitting in front of the mirror doing your hair or makeup every morning? Maybe you’ll be bathing children or pets in the tub, where you’ll need more space to work.

Whatever the case, make sure you’re incorporating all these things into your design. You’ve got a limited amount of space to work with, so use it wisely.


Hide Your Toilet
Project 3373-1 Saint Paul 2nd Story Addition Attic Bathroom Remodel 55116 LR 3






Bathroom doors tend to get left open when they’re not in use, and even if the bathroom is clean, no one really wants to look in and have a toilet be the first thing they see. If you’re remodeling the bathroom from the ground up, consider moving things around so the toilet isn’t as obvious to the casual observer.

You don’t even need to move the toilet if messing with plumbing is beyond your DIY skills. Simply rearrange the rest of the bathroom — storage solutions, sinks and other things — to keep the toilet from being the first thing you see when you look through the bathroom door.

Invest in Fans and Ventilation

The bathroom is the wettest room in the house. This isn’t a bad thing, but without sufficient ventilation, that accumulated moisture can encourage mold growth and create multiple different problems. If you don’t already have fans and sufficient ventilation in your bathroom, now is the time to start installing them.

This might be a task where you’ll need to employ the aid of a professional contractor, especially if adding vents or fans requires cutting holes in the walls or roofing. Regardless, ventilation is an essential part of any bathroom remodel and is not something you should overlook.

Design Your Lighting









Finally, you’ll want to design your lighting to make the most of your space without cluttering it up with bulky light fixtures. Recessed fixtures or low-profile LEDs are both fantastic options. You can even forgo vanity fixtures by installing a lighted mirror instead, which keeps you from having to add more lighting while still helping you make the most of your vanity.

The bathroom is where you want to avoid skipping opportunities for high-quality lighting. If you want a nice relaxing bath in dim light, install a dimmer switch. In most cases, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got plenty of light in the bathroom. Try to use natural lighting whenever possible, but don’t compromise your privacy to accomplish this.


Enjoy Your New Bathroom








Once all the dust has settled and everything works the way it’s supposed to, all that’s left to do is enjoy your new bathroom. If a bathroom renovation is on your schedule soon, don’t settle for anything less than your dream bathroom. You spend time in this room every single day. It should be an oasis and refuge where you can shed the stress of the day, relax and forget about the worries of the world for a few minutes.

Turn your bathroom renovation into something you’ll be proud to show off, even if it’s not a room you’d generally include on your grand tour. Renovations should add something to your house, even if it’s just comfort and functionality over aesthetics. With proper planning, you’ll have a space where you’ll enjoy spending much of your time.

Rose writes on home improvement and renovation projects. She is also the managing editor for Renovated. To read more of her work, check out her site.


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Bathroom Remodeling 101

Choosing the right fixtures is essential for pulling off a successful bathroom remodeling project. Both functionality and style will play a role in fixture selections, but the extent to which they are prioritized will depend on the homeowner.


Some property owners, including those who provide a commercial service, like spa or massage rooms, may want to create a certain heightened aesthetic so that their bathroom feels luxurious and mesmerizing. For others, practicality and ease of cleaning will be a much greater priority. Defining the goals for the bathroom remodeling project will be key when it comes to picking out the right fixtures.


Guide To Choosing The Right Bathroom Fixtures


Consistency and complementary designs are key when it comes to selecting bathroom fixtures, and the final fixture selections should blend well with one another. But there is more to consider than just style — take a look at a few other aspects of bathroom fixture selection.


Bathtub and Shower














This is an area of the bathroom in which fixture selection can directly impact enjoyment and shower capacity. Homeowners who prefer a sleek, minimalist look may want a fixed shower head, while those who prefer convenient and varied accessibility may prefer a detachable, handheld showerhead. In addition, shower heads can offer a range of water pressure options, which should be considered during the selection process.


























Readers may be surprised to hear that they have so many options when it comes to picking out a new toilet. Homeowners will need to decide if they have a preference for elongated or round toilet bowls, or whether they would like bidet attachments. High-efficiency toilets are also available for those who prefer a more environmentally friendly, water-saving option.




























One of the biggest factors for selecting a sink is how much counter space is needed. Whether selecting a pedestal, drop-in, basin, or wall mount sink, accounting for the surrounding area is key so that it isn’t a struggle to find space for soap, hand towels, lotion, tissues, or other items needed within reach.















By far one of the design components that provides the most fun during bathroom remodeling projects, faucets are usually selected for their stylistic and aesthetic qualities. Brass and stainless steel finishes are popular, but size and shape will also play a role in faucet selection.

According to Greg Scott, a home remodeling contractor in Houston, Texas, one of the key considerations here is whether the faucet will be a single handle design, which allows regulating the temperature from one grip, or a double handle design, which allows one grip for hot water and one for cold. Faucet height will also be very important and should be coordinated with the sink selection.


When it comes to design, the options are limitless. There are various faucet designs available to suit your every need. From industrial faucets to unique faucets that have a luxurious appeal. For aesthetic purposes, just make sure it fits with your bathroom’s design theme.


















In addition to size and shape, there are a variety of additional mirror features that can be considered when designing a bathroom remodel. For example, vanity mirrors, anti-fog mirrors, and mirrors with built-in LED lighting are all great options for the bathroom. Homeowners looking for a little extra storage space may also benefit from a cabinet/mirror combo, commonly called a medicine cabinet, which offers a great place to stash toothbrushes and other toiletries out of sight.


Bathroom Cabinets














In addition to medicine cabinets, there are other storage solutions designed specifically for bathroom spaces. For example, over-the-toilet cabinets offer an excellent solution for small bathrooms with limited cabinet capacities. Floating shelves are another great idea for displaying small decor items and keeping necessary toiletries closeby, especially if there is limited space on the vanity. Keep in mind that style, material, and finish should appear natural and coordinate with other bathroom fixtures.


By reflecting on the priorities for the bathroom right away, you can make the remodeling project a success — without hitting any major roadblocks or detours. Take functionality and style into account at the start of the design process, and you’ll be better equipped to select the perfect fixtures for the new bathroom space.


Skylar Ross is a freelance writer with Houston Home Remodeling Pros