Renovation Going Over Budget? Here’s What to Do


You’re a week into your renovation with at least another week to go when disaster strikes: you run out of money.

It can happen to anyone, although amateur DIYers are at the highest risk. You can easily underestimate how much something will cost if you’ve never done it before. But even experienced contractors can go over budget when they unearth unexpected structural issues while renovating a home.

So, how do the DIYers and contractors of the world deal with this financing problem? Let’s look at some of your options.

Borrow a Personal Loan Online

You go into your bathroom renovation thinking it’s going to be quick and easy. But once you tear out the old bathtub, the black mold and water damage you find tell you otherwise. Now you have to find the leak, repair rotten wood, and remove dangerous mold on top of your expected chores.

The unexpected happens more often than you think. Most renovators recommend saving an additional 10 – 15% of your budget to cover expenses you can’t think to anticipate, like black mold.

When this advice comes too late, you can consider an online personal loan. Personal loans may be available in minor emergencies when you can’t put work on hold.

You can figure out how much of a personal loan to take out by crunching the numbers. Get a quote from mold removal experts to see how much it will cost to restore your home.

Take out a Home Equity Line of Credit

Let’s say your specialist follows the leak all the way to the basement, and they tell you your foundation has been damaged. Now you have to call in foundation experts and decide between a patch job or an outright replacement.

According to renovation site Bob Vila, significant repairs that require hydraulic piers can cost north of $15,000.

If you have equity in your home, a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) may provide this large amount of financing at relatively favorable terms.

The hitch? You need equity in your home to access a HELOC, so it might not be an option if you are a new homeowner or have already remortgaged your house.

Prioritize the Most Important Work

So far, this article has discussed your borrowing options when faced with unexpected repairs you could not have anticipated. Personal loans and lines of credit are backups in emergencies.

But what about when you accidentally mismanage your budget, and you can’t blame mold?

If you run out of money because you didn’t cost out your materials or labor properly, you shouldn’t borrow money. Instead, prioritize important work over cosmetic upgrades, ensuring the essentials get your remaining money.

Sit down and review your plans, cutting non-essential or decorative flourishes. Sometimes, by streamlining your renovation, you can finish it without going over budget.

Put Your Renovation on Hold

When there are no emergencies, you have the luxury of time. You can hit pause on your renovation without any real consequences. While you may have to live in the chaos of an unfinished reno, you won’t have to worry about your safety with mold growth or water damage.

If you can delay your renovation, you can spend time-saving up what you need to finish. Take as much time as you need to come up with the cash without borrowing a personal loan.

Bottom Line

Going over budget during home improvement projects is stressful, but you have options — four of them! Choose the one that best fits your needs, and remember to plan better next time.