Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What Should Our Remodel Cost?

Remodeling magazine has a very famous report they do every year called 'Remodeling Magazines Cost vs. Value report' I am going to use the values from the report to get a ball park figure for our house remodel.


The report is pretty neat. They poll a ton of contractors, estimators, appraisers across the U.S. to get numbers for the costs of the 'standard' projects they track. To get the payback numbers they then poll a bunch of Realtors to arrive at a consensus view. To me it seems like the cost numbers are much more closely tied to reality vs the value numbers which seem more like a consensus of opinion.


Here's the main page of the interactive online report. You can click on your region and then if you're lucky you can click on a more specific region where you live to get numbers tied to your reality as closely as possible.


The San Francisco Bay area numbers can be found here. Its no surprise that the costs for our area are higher than the national average by a good amount.


The left most column is what the job costs and next is how much that job added to the resale value of the house. The third column is the most interesting in that its the % of cost recouped.


The SF Bay area info is most interesting and different from the national in that several jobs return more than they cost! The national average only shows that adding a steel front door returns more than it costs! San Francisco truly is a world onto its own.


The jobs that had a positive net return were (these are for the mid-range projects);




  • Attic Bedroom at 102.6%


  • Deck Addition at 104.2%


  • Window replacement (vinyl) 104.3%


  • Window replacement (wood) 104.5%


  • Minor Kitchen Remodel 112.2%


  • Entry door replacement 119.2%


  • Major Kitchen Remodel 100%

Hey that's looking really good for us as several of the above are projects that we plan on doing!


The only project that apparently will lose us money is the master suite addition which only returns 86.2%.


According to the descriptions the jobs that sync up most closely with our remodel plan are, Major kitchen remodel, attic bedroom, deck addition, master suite addition.


Attic bedroom: Cost = $65,829 Value= $67,531 Description: Convert unfinished attic space to a 15-by-15-foot bedroom and a 5-by-7-foot bathroom with shower. Include a 15-foot shed dormer, four new windows, and closet space under the eaves. Insulate and finish ceiling and walls. Carpet floor. Extend existing HVAC to new space; provide electrical wiring and lighting to code. Retain existing stairs, but add rail and baluster around stairwell.


Major Kitchen Remodel: Cost = $67,789 Value= $67,815 Description:Update an outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with a functional layout of 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets, including a 3-by-5-foot island; laminate countertops; and standard double-tub stainless-steel sink with standard single-lever faucet. Include energy-efficient wall oven, cooktop, ventilation system, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and custom lighting. Add new resilient flooring. Finish with painted walls, trim, and ceiling.


Deck Addition(wood): Cost= $13,642 Value=$14,196 Description: Add a 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4x4 posts anchored to concrete piers. Install pressure-treated deck boards in a simple linear pattern. Include a built-in bench and planter of the same decking material. Include stairs, assuming three steps to grade. Provide a complete railing system using pressure-treated wood posts, railings, and balusters.


Master Suite Addition: Cost= $132,443 Value= $114,104 Description: Add a 24-by-16-foot master bedroom suite over a crawlspace. Include walk-in closet/dressing area, whirlpool tub in ceramic tile platform, separate 3-by-4-foot ceramic tile shower, and double-bowl vanity with solid-surface countertop. Bedroom floor is carpet; bathroom floor is ceramic tile. Painted walls, ceiling, and trim. General and spot lighting, exhaust fan; electrical wiring to code.


The attic bedroom, major kitchen remodel, and deck addition are pretty much exactly what we are doing. The Master Suite addition is not as this entails building a new part of the house on its own foundation with its own new roof. We are just mostly using the space we already have but with the new dormers, and earthquake retro-fitting we have to do I feel its comparable.


Now for the total average costs of doing all these jobs here in the SF Bay area......drum roll please.....


Total Average Cost = $279703


Total Average Value = $263646


Net loss = $16,057


Not pocket change for sure but the above cost number is about half what we were quoted by Winans Construction. The above is an average and I used their mid-line numbers so there may be some wiggle room in that total but still...enough to double that number? I don't think so...


As a mostly DIY'er I can look at those cost & value numbers in a different way. If I can do those same jobs for significantly less than the value they add they should all pay back even more. If by doing some of the work ourselves we can get the master suite number below $100k we'll supposedly make money on all this when we sell the house! Ya right....


It is encouraging though to know that if you do the work yourself and do it decently well you can achieve a net payback when you sell...that is, if you believe these numbers...


Using the Upscale numbers where they exist (these projects really don't match ours if you read the descriptions as they are waaaay fancier than what we are doing) you get a total of...


Upscale Total = $507876


Still less than the cost we were quoted...for work that is fancier than what we've spec'd.

Looks like we are going to be shopping the plans out to some construction firms with less overhead than what we've been dealing with.

2 comments:

Gene said...

Yowza! Reminds me of when we had plans drawn up some years back, and got some bids for it. I just couldn't fathom spending more on an addition and kitchen remodel than I'd spent on the house, so we shelved the idea. Fast forward a few years and I decided to design and do it myself...

The MadScientist said...

Hi Gene,
Ya looking at those numbers is a pretty strong argument for doing it your self. If you have the time and the skill. We have the skill but not really the time unfortunately.