House renovation costs: How much does it cost to renovate a house?

house renovation costs - 1930s house

I get a lot of emails from fellow UK home renovators and people about to complete on a property trying to work out house renovation costs.

'How much does is cost to renovate a house?' is one of the most frequently asked questions Neil and I get, so in today's post I want to address what I think would be a healthy budget for a house renovation on an average UK property, plus an offer that will help you work out what is a realistic cost for the house you’re about to work on...

house renovation costs - 1930s house

House renovation costs for an average UK 1930s semi detached


We own and have just renovated an average sized 3 bed 1930s semi detached in Brighton, UK. See the step-by-step work we've done over on our House Renovation page. The property needed everything doing to it – before shots are all here.

Before we got an offer accepted on the house we started researching house renovation costs to see if we could actually afford to renovate this place.

Having no friends or family in the building / trades industry we didn't have anyone we could rely on to give us accurate quotes for work - nor did we fully know what we wanted to do to the house before we moved in (it's always better to live inside the house before deciding).

Neither of us were DIY savvy (and still aren't) so we knew we'd have to pay for labour costs but had no idea what these would be.

All we had was Google and Neil's budgeting skills to make safe estimates of each probable work we'd like to do, plus contingency.

We did a great deal of ‘safe bet’ calculations which gave us confidence it could be done and we were on an OK track financially.

house renovation costs - 1930s house

How much should you budget for your House Renovation?

Every house is different, everyone’s taste and needs are different and labour costs are different across the country. These are just a few factors at play when trying to work out costs for a house renovation, making it difficult to come to a single figure.

Having now renovated our 1930s semi detached property which needed some elements of structural work flagged in the survey, I would probably say anything between 50K - 150K is entirely possible for this style of house depending on the scale of the work. (See how much we paid below.)

We initially wanted to do an extension on the back of our house which rocketed the costs, in the end we settled with a remodel of the inside.

We also spent a fair amount on structural problems flagged in the structural survey which may not be something you experience with a property you are renovating.

How much did our house renovation cost?

We’ve itemised all of our house renovation costs in our Home Renovation Budget Planner example spreadsheet. In there you’ll see what our original budgets were and what our overall actual costs were, as well as get a tool to use to work out your budgets.

Remember we’re based in the South of England which sees higher costs for labour.

Our costs shouldn’t be used as a set-in-stone figure for your house as there are so many variables, however I hope this and the tool itself gives you a hand in working out safe-bet budgets for your house renovation.

Trying to budget for a renovation?

We've itemised our whole renovation costs (well over 150 items) in our Home Renovation Budget Planner ››