Always Start with a Home Renovation Budget Checklist

The three major parts of renovation success often boil down to having clear goals, preparing properly, and carefully selecting the professionals who will complete your renovation. A successful home remodel is based on knowing your desired outcome, being clear about each step, and then following through on them. You get that clarity by starting with a comprehensive and detailed renovation budget checklist. 

A renovation budget checklist and plans on a work table surrounded by tools.

Here at GreatBuildz, we speak with clients every day who are planning a home remodel in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura & San Diego Counties. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, pre-screened remodel contractors, then provides ongoing project support to ensure a stress-free experience.

Our renovation checklist helps you put together a plan for your project, so you can then develop a reasonable budget and plan of action. 

What Is a Home Renovation Budget Checklist?

Our free Renovation Checklist is an Excel spreadsheet that works for any major remodel project. It enables homeowners to customize its contents to suit their particular needs. The main checklist headers include:

  • Demolition and debris removal
  • Utilities (new electricity, gas, water, sewer lines, etc)
  • Structural work (foundation repairs/earthquake retrofit work, additional support for a second floor remodel, etc)
  • Systems (installation, replacement, or alterations to plumbing, electrical, and HVAC.)
  • Each individual room (labor, fittings, finishings, appliances, doors, windows, etc)
  • Exterior work (roof, gutters, siding, paint, etc)
  • Interior work (attic, walls, flooring, decorating, etc)
  • Site and miscellaneous tasks 
  • All fixtures and finishes (not always included in some contractors’ bids)

Home renovation budget checklist

Each project will differ in some way. An older couple, for example, is likely to have priorities that will differ from a younger couple where child safety has a higher priority. The budget checklist enables homeowners to include their own priorities and focus points line-by-line as needed.

Why Is the Remodel Checklist So Important?

By using the checklist, you include everything that is a component of your renovation project in a sensible order. This enables the renovation budget to be fully understood and, if necessary, more easily modified. In addition, when the remodel items are listed in section order (demolition, structural, systems, etc.), your discussions with contractors can be more focused and organized. They will be clear about all the details when they prepare their proposal for your review.

kitchen remodel checklist kitchen and doors

Being able to check off specific line items also helps when it comes time to pull permits. Using the template to plan, and then to follow progress, helps you monitor remodel costs, actions, and progress. If problems do arise, it is easier to make changes by modifying specific checklist lines than it is if you have to look at the project outline as a whole and then begin making changes.

How to Complete the Home Renovation Budget Checklist

Begin with a clear idea of the finished result you are aiming for. Knowing how everything will look and feel when it is complete is a powerful starting point. Every item to be permitted, designed, built, purchased, installed, fitted, and finished will be on the checklist. Start with our remodel checklist and add or delete as needed from this template. 

Home remodel budget checklist

Major projects can be a little daunting. That is why breaking everything down into specific items and tasks matters so much. How you complete the checklist depends on how big the project is, and how experienced you are. This is one reason why the budget checklist is so important. Use the section headings as your overall guide. It helps you to choose the aspect of the project you want to work on, then go through each of the subheadings, and enter your scope step-by-step.

Building a Plan

Home Remodel Checklist Pg. 2Home Remodel Checklist Garage & site

As you complete the checklist, you build your plan. As you review it, you can easily go back and add line items you decide should be there. The more you add, the clearer the plan. After you have done as much as you can under one heading, begin the next. Continue, review, and add or remove until you have your completed list.

To help you make a start and take that first step, you may decide to search the internet, visit show homes, watch home improvement shows, listen to podcasts, and read magazines. Capture ideas on Pinterest, tear out magazine pages, copy website URLs to revisit, and take photographs. Build a picture of what you want, so you can more easily break everything down into items and actions on your checklist.

You will finish up with your list of items to purchase, demolish, remove, build, or install, and the actions needed to complete each step. It will also help you to think about alternatives and options if time or cost becomes a problem.

Finding Resources to Help Prepare your Home Remodel Budget Checklist

There are many resources out there to help. An obvious place to start is to get an overall view of the particular project you are considering. Our blog on the cost of renovating an LA home provides a broad overview of several projects. If you check out our other blogs, you will see some are aimed specifically at certain rooms and others at renovation costs or design.

If you’re looking online for general budgetary and cost guidance, please be aware that costs will vary greatly in different parts of the country. And these differences can be very substantial. Some areas can cost double or even triple what is paid in other parts of the U.S. So, if you see blogs or resources that are quoting average costs, they are probably taking an average of all geographies. If you live in a high cost-of-living area like Los Angeles or Southern California, you will need to find resources that are specific to these areas. Otherwise, you’ll be shocked by the fact local costs are much higher than the national averages.

A construction crew working within a home renovation budget checklist

For general renovation tips and ideas for your projects, search online for reputable sources discussing projects like yours. For materials and images of rooms to help visualize finished projects, visit some store and supplier websites. You may also call us at (818) 317-3567, and chat about other resources GreatBuildz can suggest.


Why It Matters to Have a Renovation Budget Checklist When Meeting With Contractors

Your renovation checklist worksheet makes it much easier to discuss your plans with contractors. Talking generally and leaving the ‘technical stuff’ to the professional puts the contractor more in charge of deciding what the finished result will look like, which materials to use, and what the ultimate cost may be. High-quality contractors, no matter how hard they work to understand what you mean, will still be left having to interpret things. The more you have on paper, the easier it is for everyone and the more accurate their proposals will be.

Always Start with a Home Renovation Budget Checklist 1

Another reason for using a step-by-step Excel renovation budget checklist is that many professionals are already familiar with it. They will know how best to review it, ask for clarification, and to use it as a firm base on which to prepare their proposal. You, the homeowner, want to make sure the three or more proposals you receive include every line of detail. Also, you want it to be easy for you to compare the proposals against each other. You will have questions about some details, so your checklist will make it easier for both parties to be clear, accurate, and to ensure nothing has been left out.

Remodel or renovation project success comes down to intention, understanding, careful follow-through, and step-by-step clarity. The best place to start working on your project is to download our free renovation budget checklist.

Not sure how to find a remodeling contractor in Southern California? Let GreatBuildz help streamline your renovation experience—we’ll connect you with screened and dependable bathroom remodel contractors in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, and San Diego. We’ll also give you project support so you can turn your inspiration into reality.


Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information:

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

How can we help with your project?

Explore More Remodeling Topics

Remodeling Cost Guides

Cost Guides

design ideas

Design Ideas

Finding a Contractor

Finding a Contractor

Picking Materials

Selecting Materials

remodeling advice

Remodeling Advice