New Study Shows Americans Overestimate Cost of Professional Remodels

May 14, 2019

Spring and summer are the busiest times of year when it comes to remodeling and renovating homes. Many Americans opt to DIY and tackle a big project themselves for fear of spending too much money hiring professionals. But a new study revealed that Americans may be worrying for nothing, as many overestimate the average cost of a professional remodel.

The experts at ImproveNet, a home improvement resource that matches homeowners with renovation calculators, budgets and professionals, teamed up with renovation and design team Resist the Boring to test 1,000 people about the cost of room renovations.

Each respondent was shown before and after pictures of 11 different room transformations. They were then asked to estimate the total cost of the renovation, the cost of labor alone and the cost of the materials.

The study revealed that people, on average, overestimate the total cost of home renovations by about 15 percent.

The one area where people seem to be fairly accurate in predicting expense is materials. Respondents were, on average, within 2 percent of the actual cost of the building materials needed to complete the room renovations. But when it came to the cost of professional labor, people were way off.

Respondents estimated the cost of labor was 36 percent higher, on average, than the actual cost.

The most overestimated room to renovate is a bedroom. The actual cost for both labor and materials for a bedroom renovation is 42 percent lower than people estimated. The second most overestimated room renovation is the living room, with people overestimating the cost by 17 percent.

Methodology: In March 2019, 1,000 people were surveyed by showing them before and after pictures of home renovations completed in two separate homes by Resist the Boring, a renovation and design team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Survey respondents were asked to guess the costs of labor and materials, based on the transformations depicted in the pictures.

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