Vacation Home Budget Renovation Tips for Retirees

Kyle Souza
Kyle Souza
Published on June 19, 2018

You’ve worked hard all your life, invested wisely and saved for the type of vacation home you’ve read about in fancy brochures – the ones where you see yourself relaxing at the beach or fishing off your own dock.  Before you begin searching or contacting your realtor, think about setting a budget for your vacation home with renovations in mind.   Even your perfect bungalow with an ocean view may need some rehab. Those costs can really add up and leave you working hard and running out of money in the very place you expected to relax and unwind.

As you plan, consider that bathrooms and kitchens often need the most updating in vacation homes.  According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to remodel a kitchen can range from $21,731 – $45,436.  The experts at the National Kitchen and Bath Association say bathroom remodels cost about $11,364 in 2016, with about 20 percent of that ticket price going to labor cost. 

Save money on your bathroom remodel

Don’t panic, you may still be able to have your massive walk-in shower, beautiful tub and double vanity.  Consumer Reports offer several guidelines for trimming costs while still enjoying a luxurious retreat.  For example, avoid relocating central fixtures like toilets, sinks and showers that will require your contractor to tear out subfloors to get to plumbing.  Also, make sure you get the right type of tile when you start working on the floor – types and grades vary based on what you’ll need to sustain water absorption. 

Think about reglazing the surface of a worn-out tub.  It will look great without the sticker shock associated with the cost and installation of a soaker tub.  Go ahead and get that double vanity, it’s not much more expensive than a single and both would need to be installed anyway.  After all, wouldn’t you like to brush your teeth without competing for space?

Cook up savings on your kitchen remodel

Even though you and everyone else on your street raised their families in a kitchen outfitted with “Harvest Gold” or “Avocado Green” appliances, those days are in your rearview, along with your radar range and leisure suit.  You’ve spent hours watching HGTV and poring over decorating magazines.  While you may not be able to have a “triple oven” with chef-like bells and whistles, you can give your kitchen a great look without breaking the bank.

Think about painting existing kitchen cabinets and adding new hardware – it can save you thousands of dollars.  If you do decide to add cabinets, instead of covering all the walls, think about using some of that space for an office or play area for the grandchildren.  Also, while granite is always nice, consider high quality laminate as a low-cost alternative. 

According to, you can save by using salvaged materials. Your contractor may know about builders’ surplus stores that carry used or scratch-and-dent pieces that may only need a little elbow grease and a bit of imagination. Don’t forget to stop by your local flea market for accent pieces that you may be able refurbish yourself.

 Working with Contractors


If the thought of a “DIY” project sends you reeling, working with a contractor is for you.  When selecting someone to work in your home, experts at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) say to be sure the company has some longevity and that they can show you a portfolio of projects like your proposed remodel.  In addition, check out the BBB in your area for a list of reputable vendors.

Keep in mind that while the average kitchen or bathroom remodel takes five to six weeks, in some instances, the project can go on for months.  So be sure your contractor is someone you feel comfortable with, especially when discussing timelines and budgets.

Time to Enjoy

After months of careful planning and as much time with contractors and their equipment and layers of dust, matched only by the noise of a drill, your renovations are complete.  Maybe it’s time to host a gathering for family and friends, or perhaps you’ll order in after a tough day on the golf course and wind things down in your beautiful tub? Whatever you choose, you’ll finally be able to sit back and relax, enjoying the new reality of a vacation home dream come true.

Article Courtesy of Jim Vogel –

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