Is a Whole House Renovation Right for You?

whole house renovation nh lakes region

Home buying in the current real estate market can leave you stressed, watching like it’s reality tv and thinking you might never find your dream home. Currently the Lakes Region has a variety of activity happening in the market. Buyers from out of state are purchasing first and/or second homes in the area. Local families are outgrowing their current home and looking to upgrade. Retirees are deciding to stay in their homes and everyone is spending more time working and living at home.

It is a great time to sell or to purchase a house that needs a little extra TLC. In both situations, a whole house renovation could be right for you!

“Currently the highest demand for buyers in a home is having it be turn-key and updated. Many are from out of state and unfamiliar with NH prices and contractors and don’t want to take on the time and/or cost and look at it as an unknown value. The value is there for a buyer who wants to assume the project and find the right person for the job. Doing what the majority of others aren’t willing to do, such as hire a contractor to renovate a bathroom, will be great for resale value down the road.”

Brie Stephens
Founder & Agent / Lake Life Realty

For those looking to sell your home, you can get top dollar if it is shiny and new for prospective buyers. On the other hand, if you are shopping around, you know it’s slim pickings out there with high dollar prices. Reconsider your search and take a second look at a home with renovation potential.

Whichever party you belong to, Lighthouse Contracting Group (LCG) is here to help you wade through the plethora of home improvement articles on the subject. As an award-winning Lakes Region remodeler, we know the homes in this area. We are skilled in planning, designing, budgeting and building that home you’ve been pinning on Pinterest for months or even years. Enough about us, below are 6 Tips on How to Know if a Whole House Renovation is Right for You.

  1. Know Your Budget and Financing Options
  2. Calculate Your Home Renovation Costs
  3. What Makes A Perfect Fixer-Upper Investment Home
  4. Factor In These Money Saving Home Renovation Suggestions
  5. Get Out That Tool Belt And DIY
  6. Projects To Get Started Before Unloading That U-HAUL

1. Know Your Budget and Financing Options

Money is the toughest talking point when discussing a home remodel project. If we are honest with ourselves, our expectations of typical project costs, are usually set via an HGTV show we recently watched. We suggest talking to a professional contractor first to gauge how much you could be spending.

Afterwards, investigate your loan and financing options. Keep in mind, the industry suggests you should plan for a 20% buffer in case of hidden costs. We find our Lighthouse customers only need a 10%-12% buffer.

The most common funding options are Home Equity Loans, Refinancing your current property or a 203K Loan. The right choice depends on your individual situation. We suggest you speak with a local lender about your options to see which is best for your home renovation.

2. Calculate Your Home Renovation Costs

If you were to hire Lighthouse Contracting Group for your partial or whole house renovation, here are industry average home project costs to help you see what your investment might look like. These numbers include an interior designer and the current NH Lakes Region market. The final whole house renovation costs depend on the scope of work and existing conditions.

Average Bathroom Remodel Cost


Average Kitchen Remodel Cost


Average 350SF Deck Cost


Typical deck with composite or PVC decking and composite or aluminum railings.

Average Finished Basement Cost


Average Window Replacement Cost


Don’t be scared off by these numbers. Sometimes, they can overwhelm to the point of despair. Working with a remodeler that understands your budget and can suggest areas to save money is worth their weight in gold! Not real gold, but dollar bills.

3. What Makes A Perfect Fixer-Upper Investment Home

Number one, good bones and structure. Look for a fresh roof, siding and windows. While everything on a house is replaceable, most home buyers would rather spend their money on the interior remodel and finishes.

modern farmhouse front porch

What you can’t see can hurt you financially. If the property has a private well and septic system, which most in the Lakes Region do, it is important to make sure these are in good working order. If not, budget accordingly as these are big ticket items.

Don’t be put off by a home’s poor floor plan. The interior layout and flow of a house is relatively easy to change. If the exterior shell of the home will work for your family, then it is typically more cost effective to renovate within the existing footprint of the home.

It goes without saying, kitchens and bathrooms are THE most expensive rooms to renovate. If the current homeowner recently updated one or all of these for you, this will help your budget tremendously.

4. Factor In These Money Saving Home Renovation Suggestions

Finishes and materials have the most impact on the cost of your whole house renovation. For example, tile, cabinetry, and countertops. Say you have a $3,000 budget for countertops. However, the material and color you love is $6,000.

Finding a happy medium between the look you are after accompanied by a matching price tag can be difficult. When shopping for home remodel products, we suggest only looking at options within your budget. It will ensure you don’t overspend or become disappointed by unmet expectations.

K.I.S.S. Keep it simple silly. Complexity and customization always result in more costs.

Keep fixtures where they are. It is not cost effective to move toilets, showers, sinks, windows or doors. Updating the space and finding ways to make it work for your lifestyle within the current configuration will save you headaches and cash.

Re-use and re-purpose. It’s not only good for the environment, it’s great for your wallet. For example, if the kitchen cabinets are in great shape, consider painting the boxes and replacing the drawer fronts and doors.

Be open to alternatives. Work with your remodeler to find similar products and building solutions that meet your remodel goals AND stay within your budget. For instance, we recently renovated Lauren Milligan Design’s kitchen. We painted the cabinet boxes, built a new island, and installed new cabinet doors and drawer front rather than gutting the entire kitchen. For a large kitchen renovation like that, this equates to $25,000+ of savings!

5. Get Out That Tool Belt and DIY

We don’t recommend grabbing that sledgehammer and knocking down walls for that open concept you’ve been dreaming of. However, we do encourage you to get your hands dirty and do it yourself. For instance, painting is a great project for homeowners. It is easily worked into the contractor’s schedule and doesn’t require loads of experience.

Flooring is a second project that homeowners can tackle themselves. The industry has luxury vinyl planks and floating floors that are easy to install with the right tools. If your tool box is lacking, rent tools at your local Home Depot or Lowes. We recommend this Karndean wood effect vinyl, this Karndean realistic stone effect flooring and Coretec Luxury Vinyl Planks and Engineered Wood and Stone Floors.

Don’t wait and ask for forgiveness from your remodeler after you get in over your head. They are professionals that know what you can handle. It can be more expensive to put your house back together or to fix costly damages.

6. Projects To Get Started Before Unloading That U-HAUL

We suggest scheduling any disruptive home renovation projects before moving in. For instance, the removal of popcorn ceilings is a messy job and one that requires no furniture in the space.

Before your move in date, the second best project is a kitchen remodel. When properly planned and coordinated, the LCG work crew can turn around a kitchen project in 3 weeks.

Flooring and paint are the easiest and most rewarding projects you can do before moving in. However, it is best to complete major renovations before painting or installation floors.

Unless you are one of those lucky few who have their whole house configuration and design planned, it might be best to move in and see what does and doesn’t work for you in the home. That way, you don’t make unnecessary costly changes or upgrades.

Why Choose Lighthouse For Your Whole House Renovation

The Lighthouse team is well suited for large scale renovations. Remodeling is much different than new construction and presents unique challenges. We are accustomed to navigating those challenges since we focus primarily on interior and exterior remodeling.

Just like a physical lighthouse, we guide you through the entire home renovation process, from concept to completion via our Design Build Process. We are here to help you identify your goals and objectives, determine an acceptable investment amount, and work together to make your dream a reality.

Lighthouse Contracting Group services the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Specifically, Meredith, Center Harbor, Alton, Gilford and Laconia and Belmont, Tilton and Sanbornton. While you will find us primarily in Laconia or Gilford, we do travel up to 40 minutes from our business office.

If you would like references or reviews of our work, check out our Google Reviews or our Testimonials Page!

Contact us to discuss your whole house renovation project!

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