For two years, you’ve been squirreling away a chunk of each paycheck — saving up to replace those yellowing laminate countertops with Calacatta quartz. But do you have a specific savings goal in mind or are you working towards an imaginary sum?
According to a new survey by Discover Personal Loans, homeowners underestimate the cost of home improvement projects by an average of 34 percent. The direct bank and payments services company polled 969 people, flagging the most common misestimated costs. Do you know how much money it takes to overhaul a kitchen or replace a wood deck? Keep scrolling to find out if your expectations are on par with reality.
1. Kitchen remodel
Expected cost: $10,388
Actual average cost: $19,920
Photo: James Bombales, design by Karin Bennett
A whopping 78% of those surveyed underestimated the average cost of a kitchen remodel, based on data from HomeAdvisor. Consider this: A four-piece appliance package alone can set you back $10,000. The figure listed above is actually quite conservative when compared to upscale kitchen remodels, which range from $75,000 to $100,000-plus.
2. Bathroom remodel
Expected cost: $6,371
Actual average cost: $9,274
Photo: James Bombales, design by Cynthia Soda
It’s relatively easy to calculate the total price of all the materials and fixtures that will be used in your dream bathroom, but the cost of labor can vary widely. “Labor can account for over one-third of your total cost,” reads the report. “In recent months, a labor shortage appears to be driving labor costs up.”
3. Deck construction
Expected cost: $4,499
Actual average cost: $6,919
While your new construction home may come with a washer and dryer, it might not come with a deck or patio. If you’re looking to hire a contractor to build a new deck, be prepared to shell out some serious cash. Respondents to the survey underestimated this cost by about 35 percent.
4. Cabinet refacing
Expected cost: $1,766
Actual average cost: $6,692
Photo: James Bombales, design by Sara Bederman
While it’s true that refacing kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them will save homeowners thousands of dollars, the project is significantly more expensive than what most are lead to believe. According to the report, “Cabinet refacing is thought to cost 74 percent less by survey respondents than the actual average cost.” Consider these DIY methods if you’re looking to makeover your kitchen cabinets for less.
5. AC installation
Expected cost: $3,047
Actual average cost: $5,233
Photo: James Bombales
Americans are addicted to air conditioning — one survey from 2015 found that 90 percent of households have some sort of air conditioning, whether it be a window unit or a central air system. While the installation will set you back more than $5,000, the unit may cost nearly as much. ImproveNet says a 2.5 ton air conditioner (suitable for a 1,600-square-foot home) costs between $3,000 and $4,000 — that’s a home service bill with absolutely no chill.