The short answer, ‘More than you think!’. More often than not, most homeowners across America are a bit surprised or shocked when they receive an estimate for a project they want done around their house. It’s not necessarily because the price was higher than expected (which does happen), but is mostly due to the fact that they have nothing to really compare it to (i.e. ‘Make sure you get 3 estimates!….cringe…more on that in a later blog). To better help you understand the potential cost of your project before you start getting estimates, we are going to address the 2 main variables that are going to have the most influence on the cost of your remodel!
- Existing Remodel Conditions!
Remodeling if oftentimes more costly than building ‘new’ or from scratch. The reason for this is pretty simple and can be summed up in one term; existing conditions!
Imagine you were tasked with writing an essay. And not just any essay, but a college level essay in which your entire grade for the semester will be based off of. Oh yea, and the essay needs to be written by hand (better have your calligraphy dialed in!). And one last thing, you need to use the same paper that John Smith used 20 years ago to write his essay on… like the exact same paper! His writing is still on there! Both the paper, and the words, that John Smith wrote on those papers would be our Existing Conditions!
Just how you would first need to erase all of Mr. Smiths words from the paper, your contractor first needs to demo and get rid of everything in your space that is not going to be part of the finished product. The amount of demolition to take place is determined by the scope of project but inevitably every remodel project includes demo! Oh, and please do not think that the contractor can just ‘remove’ and ‘delete’ items that are there. It’s not like an episode of FixerYupper on HGTV and with a snap of the contractors finger’s -> it’s gone! No, it’s much more complicated than that. Especially when it comes to mechanicals! Your mechanicals (i.e. your plumbing, electric, HVAC) were all installed in a measured and specific way. You cannot simply ‘delete’ or ‘cap off’ any one of them or you will have significant issues down the road and BIG safety hazards! Each one of these systems will need to be reconfigured and re-worked by licensed professionals to suit the needs of your new space!
2. What Space are you Remodeling?
The specific space you are remodeling has a BIG effect on how much the project is going to cost. To keep it simple, let’s stay inside your existing house and go from most expensive to least (note; we’re not doing additions here!).
- Living Room
Those are keeping it VERY basic and is probably in line with what you thought, but let’s just break it down a little further.
Why is the kitchen the most expensive? Well, in short, it typically is one of the bigger spaces in the home that also has the most expensive things in it! If we’re just looking at the cabinets and countertops… the average total of those together is about $20k (let’s say $15k for cabinets, $5k for countertops (granite)). It’s very easy to spend more than $20k on cabinets alone, but let’s just ballpark the whole package at $20k for now. Then you’re onto appliances. You can go to HomeDepot.com or Lowes.com to find any appliance you need but from quick shopping, you can easily see how you would spend $5k…and that’s being budget friendly. Oh no, did we forget our mechanicals?! Our plumbing, electric, and HVAC (if we need to put in a new range hood or move some supply’s around). Our mechanicals are going to be pretty costly IF we are moving the locations of our sink and appliances around. The mechanicals can EASILY cost $15-20k combined if we’re doing these things. As you can see, we’re already going to be north of $50k and we’re not even getting into the nitty gritty…
On the other side of the equation… you have the bedrooms. So what is there really to be done in a bedroom? Maybe you just want to add or reconfigure a closet.. add a few outlets.. change a light… replace the carpet.. maybe even some new trim…and paint the walls? Did we cover most of it? Yep I think so. From those alone, you would be hard-pressed to get up near $10k. It’s pretty easy to not spend much money in a bedroom (for most of us). But I know there are some of us out there that just can’t help ourselves…. We need that gold leaf ceiling!
I really hope this article helps you in understanding the potential cost of your project(s) before you have a licensed professional out to take a look. Our goal is to provide as much information and transparency as possible so that you can make the best decision for you and your home!