Remodeling an old house on a budget

5 actionable tips to prepare your home for remodeling on a tight budget

backyard makeover before and after

After I purchased my first house, I had only 20,000 USD in my pocket. I recalled my house was in a messy state. The paint was falling off the wall, water closet was leaking and there was mold near to the bathroom where the previous older hanged her clothes. The garden was unkept i.e weeds were everywhere. Therefore, remodeling an old house on a budget requires stringent planning and preparation.

With my limited budget  of 20,000 USD at that time, I need to be creative to keep the project on a budget. However, of course you could get a lump sum service from the professionals to remodel your home and you’d know that the job is going to be done properly. Unfortunately, it is also likely to be messy and very noisy. This is why it is important to prepare properly for your remodeling.

So here are my first tips to ensure you are prepped for remodeling, whether a diy project or a professional help.

backyard makeover before and after
Beautiful backyard makeover before and after


This may seem like a silly step to mention but it is actually crucial. There can be a big gap between what you would like to achieve when you remodel and what is actually possible. This is so true when you want to remodel on the cheap! You will avoid the costly mistake I made in late 2000s when I had already ordered a large pile of building material before I obtained the permit from the local mayor. As such, this research step before your renovation project is important!

bathroom renovations before and after
This is my bathroom renovations before and after image. Cool feeling, no?

Pick A Professional

It is unlikely that you will want to complete the remodeling project yourself. This means that you need to find a professional firm, like (if you are living in Australia) to assist you. Choose your renovation company by talking to family and friends; you should also take a look at the reviews on their site and social media. This will ensure you have a professional who can complete the job for you on time.

When I bought my first ever house, I had to do a whole house remodel due to its bad state. In order to keep the cost low, I had to do the project mostly on a diy style. Instead of asking a single contractor to do everything, I had to engage different contractor and the good news is that for some works, I had asked my friend whom I paid for the labor. This has helped to keep the project goes on with a slight increased of my initial budget of 20k.

home renovation on the cheap


You probably need to consider how much you can afford to spend on your remodeling project. The more rooms you are doing the bigger the budget! It is important to set aside a little extra when doing your budget; this will help you to be ready for any unexpected expenditure. It is highly likely that there will be some. You can even use your budget as a bargaining tool; a contractor will know that you have a finite amount to spend and can tailor their work and the project to meet the budget.

Living Arrangements

As mentioned, remodeling can be extremely dusty and dirty work. You’ll need to consider all the members of your family and how they will cope with the disruption.You can opt to stay in your home, take a vacation or simply stay with relatives. There is no right or wrong answer at this stage; you simply need to do what is best for you.

This was not necessary my case as I was living in a rental apartment while I remodel the old house I bought. If this is not possible, of course, you would want to redo part of your home step by step instead of all at one go.

before and after garden makeover photos
before and after garden makeover photos

Move / Protect Furniture

Finally it is important that you move furniture out of the space where re-modeling is going on. This will save it from being damaged or in the way while the professionals do their job.

If it is not possible to move the furniture then you’ll need to cover it all with good quality dust sheets. You can also talk to the remodeling firm regarding the best place to put the furniture in each room they’re doing.

Depending on the state of the rest of your home you may also want to protect your carpets or windows, etc.

Once you have chosen a firm to remodel; you need to make sure you are updated at every step of the way. This will help to ensure you don’t run over budget or time.

old house renovation before and after
This is a very old house renovation before and after photo. what do you think is the best method to remodel an old home on a budget?

Final Thought

Redoing an old house on a budget requires proper planning and creativity. Planning here means you need to know what is feasible and what is your budget. Creativity refers to do part of the renovation by yourself or consult your contractor friends instead of outsourcing all the work to a single Contractor. And finally, take your time and no need to rush to get all the work done all at once.

toilet renovation before and after
toilet renovation before and after

And obviously, here are some tweets on how to renovate a house on a budget. These are extra resource for you to source for additional ideas to keep your budget low when remodel your residents.


Leave a Reply
  1. We bought our home from a former hoarder (that left us with the hoard) and our budget was small, also. We DIY’d most of it and also paid a family friend! We completed it slowly over the course of a several years, learning along the way! Planning and research is EVERYTHING!

  2. This exit what we are doing right now. Lucky we can stay at my Hubby’s duplex while we wait on our house to be finished. Our budget is $29,000, your post is giving my hope that we Won’t go too far over budget.

  3. Wow, I love the before and afters! My house isn’t terribly old but old enough that I’m looking into doing some renovations. These are great tips!

  4. My house too needs some renovation. We are planning to get it done during summers! I hope it doesn’t exceed the budget. Thanks for the wonderful tips.

  5. I liked your article. Renovating an old house is a tough job that requires proper planning and budget. Along with the things like choosing furniture, wall colors, wooden work etc. you should also pay attention to damaged or old wiring of your home. To maintain the safety is also very important and should not be taken as granted.

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