How Much Does it Cost to Remodel a House?

In the world of HGTV renovation shows, remodeling a home might look like a breeze. Interior design pros tackle a home in an hour, including commercial breaks, and finish on time—not to mention, miraculously under budget. But in real life—which, let’s be honest, is rarely like reality TV—how much does it cost to remodel a house?

Home remodels can sometimes be complicated and costly. Creating a budget beforehand could help avoid the headaches and hard choices that can crop up down the line. So turn off that home renovation show, grab a pen and paper, and start planning out your home remodel.

Factors of a Home Remodel Cost

There’s no one magic number a homeowner can bank on when it comes to the cost to remodel a house. However, there are several factors to take into account when budgeting for a home remodel: high-end versus mid-range versus low-end remodels, the type of home, and the number and size of rooms to be renovated.

Recommended: Home Affordability Calculator

High-end Versus Low-end Renovation

A renovation of a 2,500-square-foot home could cost anywhere between $15,000 and $200,000 on average with the variation in price stemming mostly from the scale of the projects. According to HomeAdvisor , a homeowner generally can expect to complete the following home remodels within each budget range:

•  Low-end home remodel: A low-end renovation would include small changes such as new paint, updated hardware, and fresh landscaping. It might also include inexpensive finishes like new counters and flooring. Budget: $15,000-$45,000
•  Mid-range home remodel: In addition to the low-budget projects, a mid-range home renovation includes full-room remodels like a bathroom and kitchen, as well as a higher quality flooring than the low-end renovation.
Budget: $46,000-$70,000
•  High-end home remodel: A high-end home remodel would include the low- and middle-end projects, as well as high-quality finishes including custom cabinetry and new appliances. It might also include improvements to the foundation, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.
Budget: $71,000-$200,000

As a homeowner, you can expect to customize your home remodel budget once you identify what rooms you want to upgrade and to what extent. Only one in five homeowners finish home remodels under budget, so it’s smart to pad estimates by 10 to 15 percent in the event of unexpected renovation costs.

Type and Age of Home

Older homes will typically need more attention during the home renovation process, especially as new issues arise when existing problems are addressed. Once walls and floors are opened up, for example, a homeowner might realize the wiring and plumbing are outdated and should be brought up to code.

While a house won’t necessarily be unsellable if everything isn’t up to code, there could be issues with sellers financing because lenders generally will not close on a house where health and safety issues are identified as problems.

If your home is deemed old enough to be considered “historic”—which is generally 50 years or older, according to the National Park Service —you’ll want to check on any existing guidelines that your city’s codes office may have of if there’s a historic overlay that enforces the need for an architectural review. Designated historic properties in states like California, where owners of qualified historic buildings can receive property tax relief for maintaining their homes, could boost a home’s value up to 16 percent.

Depending upon the condition of the house and any past upgrades, its age can have an impact on the cost of a home remodel, but so too can the type of home, regardless of age. HomeAdvisor estimates that Victorian homes generally cost the most to renovate—anywhere from $20 to $200 per square foot—and that farmhouses and townhouses tend to have the lowest cost per square foot, between $10 and $50.

Recommended: Home Buyer’s Guide

Use SoFi’s Home Improvement Cost Calculator
to estimate the price of your next remodel.


Typical Renovation Costs by Room

For many homeowners, an ideal home remodel would cover every inch of the house, but for the budget-conscious, that’s not always possible.

When it comes to home-renovation expenses, generally not every room is created equal. Rooms with cabinets and appliances—think bathrooms and kitchens—tend to be the priciest and are often where a home remodel budget can go awry.

Kitchen Remodel

The typical range for the cost of remodeling a kitchen comes in between $13,289 and $37,612 with $25,449—or $150 per square foot—being average. But kitchens also can have the most variation when it comes to cost, depending on cabinetry, finishes, appliances, and other add-ons.

Here’s what a homeowner might expect to pay for a home remodel of a kitchen:

•  Low-end kitchen remodel: new lighting, faucets, coat of paint, refreshed trim, and a new but budget-friendly sink backsplash. A low-end kitchen remodel also might include knocking down walls or a counter extension project.
Budget: $10,000-$30,000
•  Mid-range kitchen remodel: new appliances, floors, and tiled backsplash to the sink and countertop. A mid-range kitchen remodel might also include new cabinets and mid-range slabs for the countertop.
Budget: $15,000-$30,000
•  High-end kitchen remodel: custom cabinets, high-end countertops like rare stone or granite, and deluxe appliances. When the budget for a kitchen is expanded, the projects start to take on custom finishes. Other projects might include new lighting, hardwood flooring, and new faucet fixtures.
Budget: $30,000 and up

Because a kitchen can be extremely customizable and include so many levels of finishes, your home remodel budget could fluctuate greatly due to the cost and availability of materials, the labor involved, and where you live.

Bathroom Remodel

Bathrooms take on a similar budgeting structure to kitchen remodels. The typical range for the cost of a bathroom remodel is between $6,122 and $15,370 with $10,740 being average, but that budget includes a range of projects, customizations, and features.

For example, new cabinets in a bathroom can account for up to 30% of the budget. Other big-ticket items come in on pricing based on whether you choose low-end or high-end finishes.

On the low-end, a new bathtub might cost around $400, but if you are looking for a high-end tub, you could pay upward of $8,000. Similarly, a sink can run anywhere from $190 to $6,500 while a toilet might cost between $130 and $800.

Bedroom Remodel

Budgeting for a bedroom remodel can be a little more cut and dry since it generally doesn’t include as many costly fixtures as you might find in the bathroom or kitchen. You can expect to remodel your bedroom for around $7,880 on average.

This typically includes installing new carpet, windows, and doors, as well as refreshing the molding or trim. A bedroom remodel might also include new heating and insulation and updated wiring and lighting.

Remodeling a master suite could cost a bit more since it typically includes a bathroom and bedroom renovation in one.
If you want to add or expand a closet in the master suite, you can estimate adding around $2,000 to the room’s budget, on top of the bathroom and bedroom, as well as $870 to $2,480 for a closet organizer.

Living Room Remodel

Similar to a bedroom remodel, a living room remodel can be more economical, costing between $1,500 to $5,500, on average. Like the bedroom, living rooms tend to lack the “wet” features, plumbing and appliances, that can drive up the cost of the bathroom and kitchen.

If you plan to add a fireplace feature to a living room, expect to spend a bit more. A fireplace could add up to $3,700 per room.

Exterior Remodel

Updating roofing and refreshing the exterior of a home is a common part of a home remodel. A new roof could cost $20,000 on average, but will vary depending on materials.

Adding new siding to a home typically costs around $14,000 but once again will fluctuate based on the material used. Painting the exterior of a home will cost between $1,737 and $4,136.

Other Home Remodel Considerations

A home remodel isn’t just financial spreadsheets. There are other considerations you as a homeowner may want to consider—like if you are planning to sell the house or make it your forever home—before taking a sledgehammer to a room.

Home Remodel Timeline

A renovation project could take anywhere from a few days to a few months, so you may want to plan your home remodel timeline accordingly. It might be tempting to duck out of town when big projects are underway, but staying around means you can monitor projects and provide answers to your contractors if any unexpected issues arise.

Additionally, home renovations can be stressful and might be best scheduled around other big life events. For example, you might think twice about a full home remodel that coincides with a wedding, the holidays, or a baby on the way. Unexpected events could arise, but there often is no need to pile on projects with other major life events going on simultaneously.

Who Is the Home Remodel for?

Before diving deep into plans, you may want to consider who your home remodel ultimately is for. Is it for you to enjoy decades from now, or is it to make the house more marketable for a future sale? The renovation could take a different shape depending on your answer to this critical question.

If the remodel is just for you as the homeowner, you might choose fixtures based on personal taste or decide to splurge on high-end bathroom features that you will enjoy for years to come.

On the other hand, if you plan to sell within a few years, you may consider tackling projects that have the greatest return on investment (ROI), which could mean prioritizing projects like a kitchen update or bathroom remodel.

Not sure about a project’s resale value? SoFi’s home project value estimator can be a useful tool to help determine the approximate resale value of a home improvement project.

Home Remodel Delays and Unforeseen Expenses

When deciding to take on a major home remodel, it’s helpful to expect the unexpected. Unforeseen delays like a shortage of materials during a global pandemic could extend your home remodel timeline, or emergency expenses could drive a project over budget. As a general rule of thumb, estimate at least 10% for emergencies or unexpected costs.

Financing a Home Remodel

Coming up with the money to finance a home remodel can be daunting enough to make some homeowners abandon the whole process entirely. However, there are multiple financing avenues you can explore.

Out-of-Pocket Home Remodel Expenses

Homeowners who take on small renovations and have liquid savings might decide to pay for everything out of pocket; this means not having to deal with debt or interest rates.

However, paying cash for a large project can be challenging for some homeowners and might lead to cutting corners on important elements in an effort to keep costs down. Plus, unexpected emergency costs could drive you into unexpected debt.

Paying for a home remodel out of pocket is possible for some homeowners, but it’s not the only way to finance your renovations.

Borrowing Money from Friends or Family

Another alternative to financing your home remodel is borrowing money from family members or friends. While this may save you from having to deal with loan applications and approvals—and potentially provide more flexible terms—it can come with its own share of issues, such as risking the personal relationship if you are unable to pay back the lender.

Additionally, loans from family members may be considered gifts by the IRS—and, thus, may be taxable—so it’s wise to discuss this method of financing a home remodel with a tax professional before proceeding.

HELOC

A HELOC, or Home Equity Line of Credit, allows homeowners to pull a certain amount of equity out of their home to finance things like renovations. Qualifying for a HELOC depends on several factors, including the outstanding mortgage amount on the home, its market value, and the owner’s financial profile.

HELOCs typically come with an initial low-interest rate, and a homeowner generally has the option to only pay interest on the amount they’ve actually withdrawn. However, HELOCs also could have high upfront costs and can come with a variable interest rate with annual and lifetime rate caps.

Personal Loan

If you don’t have the cash on hand or enough equity in your home for a HELOC, then a personal loan is another consideration. An unsecured personal loan is generally an unsecured installment loan that isn’t attached to your home equity and typically can be funded faster than secured loans and with fewer or no upfront fees.

Personal loans might be a good option for people who recently bought their homes, need capital quickly for unexpected reasons, or need a loan for their home improvement project.

SoFi’s Personal Loans are generally funded in as little as three days, with competitive rates, and no fees. Qualified borrowers may be eligible to borrow $5,000 to $100,000 for a home improvement project or other personal needs, and can apply online in a few clicks.

The Takeaway

The cost to remodel a house will depend on the number of rooms you decide to renovate, the degree to which each room is remodeled, the materials you use, and of course the area in which you live. Opting to DIY projects in various rooms could also help bring down the budget, but it can be smart to bring in a professional for more specialized projects like electrical and plumbing. Before you get started, consider mapping out a plan that prioritizes which projects you tackle first and how you intend to finance your home remodel.

Home remodels are stressful enough, but with a home improvement loan from SoFi, finding a way to pay for them doesn’t have to be.


External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
SoFi Home Loans
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. SoFi Home Loans are not available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SOPL20008

Read more
man and woman couple bills laptop kitchen mobile

How to File for a Tax Extension

This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

Depending on your financial circumstances, you might have a lot of paperwork to get in order before April 15. (3/19 Update: The IRS has extended the filing deadline to May 17.) If you feel like you just need more time, it is possible to file for an extension on your federal tax return.

But there are considerations to keep in mind. Most important, filing for an extension on your return does not mean you have more time to pay the taxes you owe. That money is still due to the government on the regular due date, and you may incur penalties if the payment is late.

Here’s what you need to know to file a tax extension for tax year 2020.

What Is a Tax Extension?

A tax extension extends the deadline for filing your federal tax return by six months, making the new due date Oct. 15. All you have to do to get an extension is file IRS Form 4868 by April 15.

You can file the form electronically or on paper, and you won’t be asked to provide the reason you need the extension. Once the form is filed, your extension is automatically applied—the IRS will not contact you unless your request has, for some reason, been denied.

Again, it’s important to note that a tax extension does not grant a filer extra time to pay any taxes that might be owed to the IRS. If you can’t afford to pay your full tax bill, you should pay as much as you can and then contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 to discuss payment options.

The IRS notes that in some cases, the agency may be able to waive penalties, but not interest charges, which accrue on unpaid tax bills.

Why File a Tax Extension?

Given how much many of us dread Tax Day, you might be wondering, “Why not file a tax extension?” But even with an extra six months to get things together, eventually, the paperwork has to get sent in … and the money is still due on time. So procrastinating for procrastination’s sake may have diminishing returns.

But there are some reasons you might really benefit from a tax extension, such as:

•  Needing extra time to track down lost or unsent tax documents, especially if you’re dealing with an extenuating circumstance (for instance, the closure of a place of employment shortly before tax documents were due to be issued)
•  A major unplanned life event that interrupts your plans and makes it hard to get things together on time
•  General life busyness that led to the deadline sneaking up on you

Steps to Filing for a Tax Extension

If you’ve decided that filing for a tax extension is the right move for you, there are a variety of ways to go about it.

First, you can simply download and print Form 4868 from the IRS website, fill it out, and mail it in, along with a check for estimated income taxes owed. The document itself includes information about where to send the document, depending on where you live.

If you’re filing electronically with a tax preparation software product or using the services of a professional accountant, they can help you file for an extension using their system.

Finally, if you use the IRS’s electronic payment system, you don’t need to file Form 4868 to request an extension. According to the form itself, “The IRS will automatically process an extension of time to file when you pay part or all of your estimated income tax electronically.” This applies to both online and telephone payments.

Can I File for a Tax Extension If I Owe Money?

Yes, you can still file for a tax return extension if you owe the government money—but the money itself is still due on the original due date.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to file for an extension of taxes owed. Rather, you should pay as much as you can of your estimated taxes when you file for the extension on the return, and then contact the IRS directly to learn about your options for complete repayment.

How to Know If You Owe Taxes

You may be wondering whether or not you owe taxes to the government at all—and if so, how to find out how much. While self-employed individuals must estimate their taxes and pay on a quarterly basis, those who file using W-2 wage reports may not often do this kind of taxation math.

The good news is, there are several easy ways to find out if you owe Uncle Sam. For one thing, you may receive a notice in the mail directly from the IRS, but be sure to look closely to ensure it’s official correspondence and not a note from a scammer. The IRS will never email, text, or reach out to individuals via social media.

The IRS has also set up an online tax account system that allows you to see how much you owe in taxes simply by logging in. This user profile also allows you to pay any owed taxes directly and takes only a few minutes to set up.

Finally, you can always call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to confirm any amount of back taxes you might owe.

The Takeaway

Filing for a tax extension isn’t difficult, it turns out—and indeed, many tax time to-dos aren’t actually that hard. It’s all about getting the knowledge you need to get things done right the first time. (And, OK, maybe a bit of Virgo-esque organization.)

That’s why SoFi put together a comprehensive resource portal for all things Tax Season 2021, from understanding how your student loans might affect your taxes to figuring out which of your retirement contributions are tax-deductible.

Ready to turn tax time into a breeze? Check out the Tax Season 2021 Guide today.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SOCO20122

Read more

The Top Home Improvements to Increase Your Home’s Value

Thinking about installing a new deck, replacing a front door, or even adding an entire master bedroom to your home to help increase its resale value? Considering that your home is one of the biggest investments you’re likely to ever make, it makes sense that you’d be interested in increasing its value through remodeling.

This is especially true if you have plans to eventually sell your home, whether immediately or further into the future. But as you probably guessed, not all remodeling projects are created equal when it comes to their anticipated return on investment (ROI).

There’s no perfect formula for increasing your home’s value through remodeling. However, you can make an effort to choose financially beneficial projects if your primary concern is getting the best return on your investment.

Using Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value 2020 report , which compares the average cost of 22 remodeling projects in 101 housing markets, we’ll cover some of the most popular home improvements, based on estimated ROI. And we’ll include a breakdown of the estimated time and costs involved in each project.

For additional information on remodeling project ROI, use this https://www.sofi.com/home-project-value-estimator/ to get an idea of what value each project could add to your home.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Home Improvement Project

Before diving in, it’s important to understand that the decision to remodel requires more consideration than relying on what national averages for remodeling ROI tell us. For one, both costs and preferences for amenities and styles vary by geographic location.

You might also want to consider hiring a general contractor, real estate agent, or an appraiser to come to your house and give an opinion on what remodels could provide the most value for your money spent.

But for most people just figuring out the average ROI isn’t the only consideration. Many folks remodel their homes because they want to upgrade or add a specific feature or amenity for their own immediate needs, with the hope that it will increase a home’s value in the long run.

If this is the case for you, you’ll want to consider the trade-off between what you want and need, how much you are willing to spend, and what the potential ROI could be.

For example, if you really need to add an additional bathroom, it could be worth the cost even though the Cost vs. Value report we’re using to estimate ROI for this article says that you’ll only recoup 54% of your expenses for your project.

Top Home Improvement Projects to Help Increase Your Home Value

Garage Door Replacement

Average Cost: $3,695

Costs Recouped: 94.5%

General Time Commitment: A few days

Removing an old garage door and replacing it with an attractive, sturdy new one could return nearly every dollar of your initial investment, according to the Cost vs. Value report. It’s an effective way to improve your home’s appearance from the outside while increasing your home’s functionality for years to come.

With an average cost of $3,695, which includes the door and the cost of labor, it’s also a relatively affordable renovation. While most folks would likely hire someone to help install the new garage door, it is something that you could potentially do on your own (with the help of a friend).

This would be a project you could do in a weekend. If you hire someone to install the door for you, they will likely come to your home twice: First, to take measurements and give you a quote, and then again to install the door.

Manufactured Stone Veneer

Average Cost: $9,357

Cost Recouped: 95.6%

General Time Commitment: One month

Removing the vinyl siding and adding a stone veneer to the bottom third of your home’s street-facing façade is an effective way to help increase the value of your home, returning 95.6% of the cost of renovation. First impressions matter when it comes to selling a home, and stone veneer is a popular look right now.

Whether you tackle this project yourself or hire a handyperson to help with the installation, this project will take several days to complete. If you hire someone, understand that the construction days might not be successive, so the exterior of your home could be under construction for several weeks to a month.

Minor Kitchen Remodel

Average Cost: $23,452

Cost Recouped: 77.6%

General Time Commitment: Four to eight months

Whereas the Cost vs. Value study reports that major kitchen remodels ($68,490-$135,547) recoup only 58.6%-53.9% of costs ($40,127-$72,993), a smaller remodel appears to do a better job at retaining the value of the dollars put into the project.

A minor remodel includes things like replacing cabinet fronts with new shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts, replacing the cooktop, oven range, and refrigerator with new models, replacing the countertops and floors, and installing a new sink and faucet. To stay on budget, consider using mid-priced appliances.

It would be very difficult to make it through a kitchen remodel without the help of experts, such as electricians, plumbers, and contractors, so you may have to put some extra effort into coordinating. You’ll also want to be realistic about how long you can devote to the project — and be without a working kitchen. Expect several months at minimum for a kitchen remodel.

Wood Deck Addition

Average Cost: $14,360

Cost Recouped: 72.1%

General Time Commitment: Three to six months

Nothing beats enjoying family and friends on a deck in your backyard on a sunny day. Potential buyers are typically rightfully happy to pay extra for a deck, and a wooden deck installation could recoup 72.1% of what you spend.

Ideally, you’ll also get the chance to enjoy the deck before you sell your home.

Understandably, a deck installation is a pretty large project, by both dollar cost and the cost of effort. You’ll likely want to hire the help of a designer or architect to map out an initial plan, and a contractor to do the building work.

You can attempt to do the project yourself, but be certain that you know how to build a deck that will pass an inspection and adhere to your city’s building codes. In considering whether this is a good investment, remember that building a deck may increase your property taxes and home insurance.

Check out this Home Improvement Cost Calculator to find out an estimate on how much each renovation project could cost.

Entry Door Replacement (steel)

Average Cost: $1,881

Cost Recouped: 68.8%

General Time Commitment: One week

A new, safe front entry door is an attractive quality to prospective homebuyers. Replacing your entry door and jambs with a steel door, “including clear dual-pane half-glass panel, jambs, and aluminum threshold with composite stop,” should get you a good bang for your buck, according to the Cost vs. Value report.

Of all the projects covered by the Cost vs. Value report, this one should take the least amount of time and effort. You can do it yourself (preferably with an extra set of hands) or hire an installation expert. If you go this route, you can have them come to your home to do the initial measurements and return for the installation, or you can measure and order the door yourself, and just get help with installation.

Remodeling Projects With the Lowest Potential ROI

Master Bedroom or Bathroom Addition

Average Cost: $136,739 for midrange, $282,062 for upscale

Cost Recouped: 58.5% for midrange, and 51.6% for upscale

General Time Commitment: Four to eight months

The Cost vs. Value report considers master bathroom and bedroom additions in both midrange and upscale homes, and neither returns much more than half of the initial investment. While not a great return, a home addition project of this size does offer a larger overall change to the value of your home.

For example, a $300,000 home that adds a master suite for $136,739 could potentially return about $80,000 on the investment. A home that sells for $380,000 instead of $300,000 is a 26% increase in the home’s value. If you were to get enough use from the addition to justify the other cost you can’t recoup, it could still be a fine investment.

Again, these figures are purely hypothetical, and the value of expanding your home can depend on a multitude of factors.

Bathroom Addition

Average Cost: $49,598 for midrange, $91,287 for upscale

Cost Recouped: 54% for midrange, 54.7% for upscale

General Time Commitment: Four to eight months

A regular bathroom remodel is not as costly as a master bathroom addition, and it boasts a slightly better potential ROI. Again, a bathroom addition or any large remodeling project should be considered in terms of both ROI and what you want to get out of your home while you are living in it.

And that’s a calculation that only you and your family can make — consider your potential usage and whether it makes the difference between staying and having to relocate to a larger home, which would also come with its own set of costs.

Making it Happen

As you can tell, determining the best home improvements for your personal situation usually requires more consideration than simply looking at current home remodeling ROI trends, though ROI numbers can definitely help inform your decision.

You also have to consider what you need and want out of your current home, and whether both the relative and absolute cost of taking on a big project is worth it.

Your time and personal efforts should be considered as well. In an ideal world, you’d settle on a project that will allow you to maximize the enjoyment you get out of your home while also adding ROI value.

Ready to go on a remodeling project for your home? With SoFi’s Home Improvement Loans, you could make your home improvement dream a reality.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
PL18148

Read more
bride and groom feet

Unexpected Wedding Expenses to Watch Out For

You’ve champagne-toasted to your engagement (a few times, because it only happens once, right?). After basking in the post-engagement bliss, you’re deep into the latest table decor trends on Pinterest.

It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of your wedding and just focus on the fun parts, like trying on dresses or sampling cakes. But before you get too far into planning, it may be worth stepping back and crunching some numbers.

In addition to being a life milestone and a joyous occasion, a wedding can also be a significant expense.

While the price tag can vary widely depending on the level of luxury you go for and where you live, the average wedding cost $38,700 in 2019.

You probably know about the basics you’ll likely have to cover, such as the dress, venue, catering, rings, and cake. But there are also tons of unexpected wedding costs, both small and large, you may run into—and they can really add up.

Being aware of the lesser-known expenditures you may encounter can help you plan ahead when it comes to financing your big day. Whether you’re paying for your own wedding, or getting help from loved ones, having a realistic budget can help ensure that your wedding doesn’t wreak havoc on your finances.

1. Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties

Since these events happen in advance of the wedding itself, it’s easy to exclude them from your initial budget. But planning for these festivities is crucial, since they can come with a hefty price tag.

Guests spend an average of $537 on these parties, according to The Knot. When it’s a three-day weekend getaway, the cost can go up to even further. According to Upgraded Points , the average cost of a bachelorette weekend in New York City (the most expensive city according to their research) was just over $1,900.

Sometimes the host and guests will opt to cover the cost of accommodations and activities for the bride and groom, but that’s far from guaranteed.

And even if your costs are partially covered, you may still need to chip in for your airfare, meals, and incidentals.

2. Marriage License

In the whirlwind of wedding planning, it can be easy to forget the actual purpose—getting legally married!

That requires you to apply for a marriage license, typically with the relevant county clerk’s office. Some states have a fixed fee, while others vary by county or city. The fees can range from $10 to $115.

3. Insurance

You probably know that you’ll need to pay for a venue, but you may not be aware that many require you to also purchase insurance. These policies typically cover damage to the venue or injuries to guests or vendors.

Sometimes they reimburse you if something goes wrong, such as a venue becoming unavailable or a vendor not showing up. Wedding insurance usually costs $200-$550 for basic coverage but can cost more for more expensive events.

4. Postage

If you’re sending paper cards to your guests, don’t forget that you’ll need stamps, too. These can add up when you consider that you may need them for Save the Date cards, invitations, RSVP envelopes, and Thank You cards.

And postage for guests based abroad is even more expensive. As of 2019 , a postcard stamp costs $0.35, and a First-Class Mail letter costs $0.55. Let’s say your Save the Date is a postcard and the rest use envelopes, mailing the above cards to 150 guests in the U.S. would cost anywhere from $100-$200 or more.

5. Alterations

Many brides and grooms forget that attaining the perfect wedding-day outfit will likely require not only shelling out for a dress and suit, but also paying for alterations.

Some stores and custom tailors include the cost of alterations in the price of the garment, but others don’t. With dresses, changes such as hemming the gown, adding lace or beading, or taking it in can cost anywhere from $50 to $700 or more.

6. Beauty Treatments

You’ll want to look your best on your big day, and that likely requires spending some cash. Hair and makeup for brides costs $150 on average, and many stylists charge extra for a trial. If you’re paying for your bridesmaids to get hair and makeup done as well, the cost could also be around $150 for both services on average.

Brides may also choose other beauty treatments, such as facials (average cost of $65), manicures and pedicures (average cost of $63), and tanning (average cost of $39). Body art, like mehendi for Indian brides, can cost $75 on average. The groom may also choose to pay for services like a haircut and professional shave.

7. Gifts

You are probably expecting to receive gifts from your guests, but don’t forget that you may want to give some out, too.

It’s customary to give thoughtful thank you gifts to your wedding party, with especially nice presents going to the maid of honor and best man.

You may also want to give tokens of appreciation to your parents and grandparents, especially if they helped pay for the wedding. If you have friends who helped out a lot, perhaps by writing your escort cards or serving as an officiant, you may want to thank them with a gift as well. And any children that are participating in your day, such as a flower girl or ring bearer.

Last but not least, it can be meaningful to exchange gifts with your new husband or wife. By including these significant items in your budget, you can make sure you can afford them when the time comes.

8. Wedding Weekend Events

Your initial wedding budget may not have included other events you’re hosting, such as the rehearsal dinner, welcome drinks, or a brunch.

Depending on the number of guests, all of these events can cost a pretty penny. The average cost of a rehearsal dinner is around $1,330 , while brunches can start at $20 per person!

9. Lodging and Transportation

You’ll probably be paying for a hotel for one or more nights if your wedding isn’t in your hometown, or if you just want to stay somewhere special.

You also may not want to drive yourselves around on the big day. If that’s the case, factor in the cost of a limo, bus, or rideshare service to get you to and from the photo, rehearsal, and wedding locations. If you’re providing transportation for guests as well, expect this number to go up significantly.

10. Rentals

More likely than not, your wedding venue and caterer won’t provide everything you need. You’ll likely need to pay extra to rent linens, flatware, and glassware. You may also want to rent other items, such as a heating lamp, cake stand, string lights, candles, or a photobooth.

Financing Your Wedding

So how do you afford all those wedding expenses—the ones you plan for and the hidden ones that crop up? Here are some ideas for financing your dream wedding:

Budgeting and Saving

The first order of business is often to make a budget. Add up all the anticipated wedding expenses, including the lesser-known charges above. Then, you and your betrothed can track your monthly expenses and income and see how much you have left over to save each month.

If it’s not enough to get to your goal, see if you can find ways to reduce expenses or earn extra cash. SoFi Relay, a complementary tool for SoFi members, can help you track your spending and cashflow in real time against a set budget, to help prevent you from going over—and help you save for the big day.

Trimming Expenses

If your wedding budget is more than you can afford, you may be able to find ways to reduce some of the costs. Perhaps a friend can officiate instead of paying a professional.

Maybe your friends can help you create DIY paper goods, bouquets, and centerpieces. Or what if you sent digital Save the Dates and invitations, rather than paying for printing and postage? Some couples even self-cater their weddings.

Personal Loans

If you aren’t able to save up enough in advance, a wedding loan could help finance your wedding, whether you’re having a traditional ceremony or a destination wedding. With SoFi, eligible borrowers may qualify for loans with interest rates that are generally lower than the interest rates charged by credit cards.

There are few spending restrictions when it comes to personal loans, so borrowers can use them for any wedding expenses that come up, and don’t have to put any assets down as collateral.

With SoFi personal loans, you don’t pay any fees for applying or for paying it back early. If you happen to get laid off, you may also be eligible for Unemployment Protection: payments could be temporarily suspended for up to one year, while SoFi would provide assistance with finding a new job for qualified borrowers. It takes just a few minutes to apply online.

Learn more about using a SoFi personal loan to help you finance your dream wedding—including any surprise expenses.


External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi’s Relay tool offers users the ability to connect both in-house accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score provided to you is a Vantage Score® based on TransUnion™ (the “Processing Agent”) data.
SOPL19040

Read more

How to Budget for a Baby

Having a baby can fill your house with love. It also can take a toll on your finances.

So while you’re obsessing about pink, blue, or both, try not to forget about the green. Just getting ready for that new little bit can mean a big budget hit. And like your baby, you can expect the costs will keep growing.

That means you’ll have to reconfigure your household budget more than a few times through the years—and it might be a good time to start planning for those modifications right now.

It might seem a little challenging (and boring) to work on a baby budget when you have so many other fun things to think about.

But if you break down the process and do a little at a time, it can make the task less daunting.

If you already have a budget in place, you have a head start. If not, you can begin by gathering your financial information—what comes in and what goes out.

Assessing Your Income

Look at your household income after taxes and other deductions come out of your paycheck each month. That’s the money you’ll actually have to work with, not the gross amount. Also, if one parent plans to stay home with the baby full- or part-time—or if your income already fluctuates from check to check, plan accordingly.

You might be willing to do without new clothes and other indulgences in leaner times, but your baby will always need diapers. Be sure to consider the loss of any non-cash forms of employee compensation, such as insurance and retirement contributions.

Looking at Your Current Expenses

Some things won’t change at all, but there may be costs that will go down or go away after you have the baby. For example, the amount you spend on movies, dinners out, and travel might be reduced for a while.

If one parent decides to stop working, the wardrobe budget might drop. But you’ll also be adding expenses. This is a good time to identify your priorities and be prepared to make some trade-offs . Can you live without Netflix, Starbucks, and the latest iPhone update?

Planning Ahead For Recurring New Expenses

Child Care

Typically, child care is the biggest ongoing expense a family will have with a new baby. The cost will vary depending on where you live, the type of care you choose, and whether you need part- or full-time care, but according to Care.com’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey , one in three families now spend 20% or more of their annual household income on child care.

The survey found national averages ranged from $211 per week for a full-time slot at a child-care center to $580 for a full-time nanny. (You can learn more about the costs in your area by contacting the nearest Child Care Resource & Referral agency.

Or check out the difference in price when hiring a nanny, sharing a nanny or going with a day-care center with Care.com’s Cost of Child Care Calculator .)

Feeding

Even if you plan to nurse the baby, you’ll need to prepare for the possibility that breastfeeding might not work out and formula could be a regular expense. Powdered formula can cost from $70 to $150 per month .

When your baby starts on solid foods, typically at about 4 to 6 months old, you could be looking at a cost of $50 to $100 a month .

Diapers

The average baby uses 2,500 to 3,000 diapers in the first year, which could add up to more than $1,000 a year in diapers and wipes.

House and Car

Maybe you’re lucky enough to already have an extra room in your home that’s ready to be transformed into a nursery. And maybe a baby car seat will fit into your current ride without a struggle.

But if that’s not the case, and you have to make some adjustments for your growing family, you may have to add more expensive house or car payments to your get-ready-for-baby budget.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Even newborns have toys and books. And then there are the pacifiers, the tiny outfits and socks, the lotions and creams, the Mommy and Me classes, etc. This is where you can prioritize.

If you don’t mind hand-me-downs, clothing could be a place to cut costs. (Unfortunately, you probably can’t count on your shower guests to provide everything you’ll need.).

Preparing for Some Upfront Costs

Depending on your insurance coverage, you could be going home from the hospital with a bundle of joy and a bundle of bills. Check your health insurance plan ASAP to gauge what your costs could be.

The amount of your hospital bill will depend on a lot of factors, including the part of the country in which you live, the size and location of the hospital, the length of your stay, and how much extra care you or your baby might require.

You also may need some starter equipment—a crib, changing table, dresser, car seat, stroller, gates and other safety equipment, and you may want a baby monitor and even a nanny cam.

Smaller ticket items include a diaper bag and Diaper Genie, a baby bathtub, bedding, and towels. Here’s another place where hand-me-downs and resale shops can help you save.

Ready, Set, Transition

Remember those expenses you thought about prioritizing in step 2? You don’t actually have to wait until the baby arrives to make changes. You might want to practice by giving your new budget a test run before your delivery date.

To take it a step further, if one parent plans to quit working, even for a short while, you could start living on just one salary a few months early and put the extra income into an emergency fund. That money could come in handy later if unexpected expenses crop up. (And you know they will crop up.)

Overwhelmed? Take Baby Steps

Preparing for a new baby, especially your first, can be exciting. It also can be a little overwhelming.

Doing a few breathing exercises could help as you’re working on your budget for the new baby. Start now with baby steps (see what we did there?), and you could be on pace long before your little one arrives.

As you grow your family, grow your financial stability. With SoFi Money® you can spend, save, and earn all in one product. SoFi Money is a cash management account that has no account fees, and you’ll pay no ATM fees at 55,000+ ATMs worldwide within the Allpoint® network. We work hard to charge zero account fees. With that in mind, our fee structure is subject to change at any time.

Ready to get started with SoFi Money?



External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.

SOMN19156

Read more
TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender