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If you’ve gotten an estimate for a home project in the past year and wanted to simultaneously spit take and ugly cry, congratulations! You’re a living, breathing, rational human existing on planet Earth. And our deepest condolences, because we understand that the kitchen isn’t going to remodel itself and that budget you thought was reasonable to redo the whole thing will now only cover a new coat of paint for the cabinets.

It’s a reality we’re all facing—renovation activity and spending are the highest they’ve been since 2018, according to Houzz’s 2022 Renovation Trends Report. And that’s not all: The median amount homeowners are spending is up 20 percent year over year, to about $18,000 on average.

With fewer homes on the market—and those that are often older houses, given supply chain issues disrupting new home construction—people are spending more to renovate what they’ve got (or recently bought). “Homeowners are clearly committed to investing in their homes, despite heightened product and material costs driven by supply chain disruptions,” says Marine Sargsyan, Houzz staff economist. “This is especially pronounced among recent homebuyers, who rely heavily on cash from previous home sales to fund their projects.”

So, what are some of the biggest costs people are incurring? Here’s a glimpse, based on Houzz’s survey of roughly 70,000 people.

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1. Electrical Upgrades

Working with an electrician was second only to plumbing in terms of home system upgrades, though the median spend here was up 50 percent, setting people back about $1,500.

This may be influenced by the general electrician shortage—basic supply and demand—though people may also be spending more because electric-related home upgrades have become more of a priority. Having your whole kitchen run on a single circuit may have worked in the 1960s, but in today’s era of smart fridges, high-wattage air fryers and other do-it-all gadgets, you might be tired of dealing with blown fuses. Not to mention that Houzz found increasing interest among homeowners in installing smart devices and security systems, which can sometimes require additional power line’s or a pro’s help installing.

expensive reno projects door
Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

2. Exterior Doors

Replacing your front door is one of the fastest ways to boost your home’s value, so it makes sense that people prepping to take advantage of this seller’s market would prioritize this over other reno projects. But the amount people spent was up a whopping 50 percent; at $1,800, the median cost is a far cry from the $575 to $888 Homewyse suggests, or the $1,144 that HomeAdvisor lists.

Though if your front door is in solid shape—or even if you spring for a new one—painting it black could help you snag $6,449 for your home, according to Zillow. So there’s that.

3. Guest Bathrooms

As far as interior projects go, renovating the guest or secondary bathroom in the house was the second most-popular project of the past year (behind kitchen remodels) but the spend here was up significantly. People tended to drop $4,400 here, up 38 percent from years past.

expensive reno projects laundry room
PC Photography/Getty Images

4. Laundry Rooms

After turning our attention to beautifying our backyards (our 2020 obsession), it seems like 2021 was the year we finally committed to creating a space we actually wanted to do laundry in. And so our spending was up 33 percent, to the tune of about $2,000. On Houzz, some of the most popular laundry room inspo included adding wallpaper, sleek shaker cabinets and joint work-wash stations for the work-from-anywhere crowd.

5. Gutters and Downspouts

The lumber shortage drove a ton of headlines about rising home costs—like roofs, which were up 11 percent year over year—but you know what that roof also needs? Something to catch the rain spilling off of it. Median spending here was about 40 percent, setting people back about $1,400. A few factors can contribute to how much you’ll spend here, like what materials you use (vinyl or aluminum tends to be way more affordable than trendy copper or Galvalume), the square footage of your house and how steep your roof is, and how far your downspouts need to extend.

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