What that Remodel is Going to Cost

by Scott Sery on June 9, 2017

If you’re looking at buying a property that needs some work, or updating your own home to make it more marketable when the time comes to sell, you need to know what you’re in for.  Remodeling costs can get expensive in a hurry, and if you’re not careful, you may end up with a half finished home as you find the cash to finish the projects.

You can always do the work yourself in order to make the renovations more affordable, but keep in mind that a crew working 40 hours per week will move a lot faster than one person working a couple hours here and there.

So, before you tackle that next big project, here are some estimated costs that you should keep in mind.

Kitchen Remodels

When you’re updating a house, you want to focus your priorities on two areas: kitchens and bathrooms.  If you think about it, these are where most of the character of the house is.  A bedroom can only be changed so much, and most living rooms are similar.  The kitchen, however, is where you can really make a home stand out.

But it’s also the most expensive part of the house to remodel.  For a standard size kitchen, you will want to budget $25,000-$30,000 (or more if you want luxury materials and appliances).  So what’s driving up the cost of the kitchen?  It’s mostly the cabinets.  High quality cabinets may run you $15,000 or more.  New appliances can add $8,000, and the countertops will tack on another $6,000.  You can go cheaper on some items, but there are pros and cons to different materials.

Save Some Money: Refurbish instead of replace.  Keep appliances in place so gas and water plumbing isn’t needed.

Bathroom Renovations

A nice looking and comfortable bathroom can make the difference between spending many days, or even months, trying to sell your home.  It can also make your morning routine that much more enjoyable.  Because there is water involved, this remodel is going to cost more; plumbing can be expensive.

Fortunately, your bathroom won’t cost as much as your kitchen.  But it will still run you close to $10,000.  That includes brand new everything though; from sink to toilet to tile to lighting.  Your biggest items (physically) are going to be the most expensive; but it’s important not to go cheap on things like a bathtub or shower.  Tile is necessary in a wet environment like a bathroom, and it can get pricey to install it.

Save Some Money: Many tiles can be refurbished and colored instead of replaced.  You may be able to keep your tub and toilet and update the rest.

Updating a Bedroom

For the most part, a bedroom is a bedroom.  They’re generally square with a closet or two, some windows, and perhaps a bathroom attached.  Without the need for countertops or plumbing, remodeling a bedroom is considerably cheaper than a kitchen or bath.

For the average sized bedroom, you can expect to spend around $3,000.  Your most expensive part will be the flooring (unless you’re adding a window, or moving a door); it will eat up the bulk of the remodel costs.  After that it’s basically paint and trim, and perhaps swapping a light fixture or two.

Save Some Money: Labor will run you about $35/hr, but you can do it yourself.  Tearing up old carpet is easy, and then doing your own painting is simply a matter of patience.

Living Room Remodels

Like the bedrooms in your house, there isn’t much to a living room.  In fact, most of the transformation will be in the furniture and drapes rather than any construction you do to it.  But there are a few things that you can do to make sure that you have an eye-catching room.

Your living room remodel will cost just a little more than your bedroom (unless you have some unique situations like a fireplace, skylights, or you want to upgrade to, perhaps, hardwood floors).  Flooring is again going to be the biggest cost (aside from some major updates like adding a bay window, or putting in a new fireplace).  Then it depends on how fancy you want your trimwork, and whether you need to update lighting fixtures.

Save Some Money: Like a bedroom, a significant portion of the cost is in demolition, do it yourself and save a lot.  Paint the trim instead of replacing, and opt for mid-range electric fixtures.

Finishing a Basement

Buying a house with an unfinished basement can be a way to save a lot of money on the purchase.  But there will come a point when you want that extra space.  Finishing a basement can be expensive, especially when you factor in basement bathrooms, rec rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms.  But when it comes time to sell, that additional living space will bring you more money.

Depending on the size and functionality, you can expect to spend around $35,000 on your basement.  This includes most of the standard features like a bathroom, a couple of bedrooms, a living room, and all that come with them.  If your basement is to include a kitchen, or a high tech theater room, that price will go up.  If you have to cut in an egress window, you can expect to spend $2,000 on that alone (don’t worry, that added bedroom will up your asking price when selling).

Save Some Money: A basement is a blank slate; you can do as much, or as little as you like.  If you do all the work yourself, you could cut your cost by $20,000 or more.

Be Prepared for Additional Costs

When you’re remodeling a home, you’re going to run into problems.  Whether the previous owner didn’t do the work properly, or you have rot, insects, or mold, something is bound to pop up.  The older the house, the more likely you will have issues that you didn’t anticipate.

Except that you did anticipate them.  Before you jump into renovations, plan your budget, know what you can afford, and then expect that these problems will creep up.  When you budget for them, they don’t seem like quite as bad of problems anymore.

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Scott Sery

Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana. Within an hour in nearly any direction he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. With an extensive knowledge of the finance and insurance world, Scott loves to write personal finance articles. When not talking money, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country, or how to live sustainably. You can learn more about Scott on his website Sery Content Development

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