If you’ve ever watched a home renovation reality TV show – and let’s face it, we all have – you know that every episode always has the dramatic moment where the contractor gives the homeowners the bad news – unforeseen problems have pushed the renovation’s cost over the estimated budget. The homeowners gasp and bury their faces in their hands. The music pounds dangerously and the show cuts to commercial.

Is this drama an honest reflection of how real-life renovations deviate from the estimate?  Does every project go over budget? The breakdown usually comes long before work actually begins – it occurs when the estimate fails to account for the variables involved, and those variables themselves can vary greatly depending on the room you’re renovating, and the extent of the work involved.

The art of estimation – a keen eye, an experienced mind and an honest opinion
Aleto has been around a long time and we’ve done just about every kind and size of renovation you can imagine. We’ve seen the variables that exist in every room, and through years of hard experience, we’re able to account for them in the estimate as well as in the work itself. We depend on the satisfaction of every client to keep our business thriving, and we can’t do that by selling you in with a low estimate and then blindsiding you with gasp-and-face-buried-in-hands invoice moment. In the photo above you can see just a sampling of the many variables in a renovation.

Take online estimation guides with a serious grain of salt
Okay, suppose you’re looking to finish your basement. One of the first things you do is Google “basement renovation cost” and see a list of eager sites and published articles giving likely ranges of what a redone basement will cost you, and it’s not as bad as you feared. That sets your expectations for your first contractor visit and estimate.  Chances are, it’ll come in higher than Google said it would. Expectations dashed.

Why? The online guide or article doesn’t see your actual basement or hear your vision for it. The variables are many and huge, from local code to materials choice.

It also goes without saying that a site with a simple, low estimated renovation cost is going to get more visits than one with a complex but thoughtful analysis with a higher price tag.

Here’s what you’ll find from popular publications on the low and high end costs of redoing bathrooms and kitchens – and what Aleto uses to calculate our estimates for these projects – AFTER we’ve visited the site, talked to you personally and walked you through the design process.

Unknown unknowns
Of course, no estimate is an ironclad guarantee. The unexpected happens sometimes and Aleto keeps you posted every step of the way if it does. But by accounting for the known variables, we keep the surprises few and small. Better insight can reduce the likelihood that you’ll feel like cutting to commercial when the final invoice comes in.

It may not make for good reality TV, but it does deliver beautiful spaces with less stress.