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Remodeling your house can give you additional living space, make your home more comfortable and attractive, and add to your home’s value when it’s time to sell. If you’re thinking about renovating your house, you might have a long wish list. You may also encounter some unanticipated problems after the renovations begin. Both of these factors can make it easy to go over your budget. Before you start your next remodeling project, think carefully about what you want, and be prepared for the unexpected.

Get Detailed Estimates
When planning a remodeling project, get quotes from several experienced local contractors. It’s important to be clear about what you want the end result to look like when finished. Be specific about the types of materials you want to use—and anything you don’t want—as this will allow contractors to provide estimates that reflect what you actually want, rather than their guesses and assumptions. When you look at all the estimates, you’ll be comparing apples to apples, making it easier to choose the one with the best price.

Be Prepared for Surprises
Home remodeling projects often uncover additional problems, especially in older houses, so you need to be realistic. The contractor may discover dry rot, damaged insulation, mold or other issues that’ll need to be fixed before proceeding with the renovation. Be sure to tack 15 to 20 percent onto your budget just in case something unexpected comes up.

Stick to the Plan
Once the remodeling process begins, you may be so excited about the changes you’re seeing that you think of other things you’d like to do. You might even start to think about remodeling another room since the contractor is already present and you could get both projects done at once. While it may be fun to think about the possibilities, this is a surefire way to go over your budget. Once you make a plan and set a budget, stick to it as much as possible.

Can You Afford It Now?
Be realistic about what you can afford. Don’t take the lowest estimate and assume that everything will go according to plan, as there’s a very real possibility that it won’t. No matter the project, it’s important to be prepared for unforeseen expenses.

If you don’t have enough money to complete your remodeling project the way you want while factoring in enough to cover problems that might arise, consider postponing the project until you can save more money. It might be inconvenient to continue living with an outdated kitchen or bathroom for a few more months, but you could avoid major financial problems by putting off the remodel until you’re sure you can afford it.