Idea of Cost to completely remodel a house?

peaches89May 22, 2006

I have 4 story (4000 sq ft) narrow townhouse in a prime real estate location. The problem is it probably hasn't been updated since it was built in 1900 (yes everything is in very bad condition).

Can someone give me a rough estimate of how much such a project costs? I know that's hard to do, but I need a ball park idea to decide if this project is worth doing.

I would hire out for all of this:

Electrical wiring

14 large windows and 10 smaller (basement/attic) windows

install Central A/C and Heating

3 kitchens (cabinets, stainless steal appliances and granite countertops)

3 bathrooms (the bathtub leaks to the ceiling below which caused a large hole in the ceiling so the floor would have to be ripped out to change the pipes then add jacuzzis and all new tiles)

Tear down a couple walls to make 2 rooms bigger

Large amount of trash removal before this process

Add 3 new doors

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We remodaled a 1983, 2 story house and added a new garage while converting the old garage to a "bonus room" for the kids. The house is 4,000 sqt feet. We updated 2 baths, added on to the MBR bath and gutted the kitchen. We also moved an attached sunroom to a different part of the house, added a covered patio and refinished and added more hardwood floors. We were quoted 158K but because of upgrades(15K in appliance, for instance)we will end up at a little more 200K. I hope that helps. Please know that you should add an additional 20-30% to any remodal quote you get. There are always unforseen costs and too tempting of upgrades.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 3:59PM
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If you're going to be knocking down walls and rearranging the floorplan, you should probably talk with an architect or a design/build contractor.

You may get better design solutions from an architect, but architects are sometimes a bit clueless on current building costs.

On the other hand, if the best or most elegant design isn't one of your major priorities, a design/build contractor should still be able to provide you with good solutions, and he'll have a much better grasp of how much things actually cost.

Depending on the level of detail and workmanship you desire, and assuming the house is structurally sound, I'd guess costs could go anywhere from a couple of hundred thousand ---- to a million or more. It's very hard to say. You should probably give some serious thought to your budget -- before talking with anyone.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 5:44PM
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Peaches -

One thing I learned about remodeling old houses is that there are the things you think you want to do and then the things you discover you HAVE to do once you start opening things up. You never know what you are going to find with old houses - believe me. Another thing to consider is if you are in a historical district and bound by their regulations. There is a forum here called This Old House - you should post your question over there as well. Is this a property you already own/live in? Is time an issue? Perhaps you could break it down and do parts of it a little along. When we re-did an 1880's row house in DC many years back, that is how most people approached it - one project at a time, but it took years, of course! Back to your orginal post "worth it"? That depends on how you calculate your value. Is this an investment property or for your own home? Will you get your money back on immediate re-sale? That probably depends on the market you are in - talk to a realtor. Can you turn it into a home you would love? Absolutely. And don't watch the movie Money Pit any time soon!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 4:29PM
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We completely redid a 1905 2500 sqft home in the late 90s

Kitchen ( there was none to speak of )20K
1 Bath (everything leaked )10k
Wiring ( left existing added several outlets to each room upgraded box ) 6k
Roof ( right down to the rafters ) 20k
Landscaping 10k
Windows 20k ~ 25 windows
Add sunroom 20k
New boiler 5k

We did rubbish removal, painting, plastering, floor sanding and refinishing ourselves. I'm sure prices have changed but this was in NE where prices are high to begin with and we did get all the money back on resale.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 5:57PM
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What would a new property this size cost (minus land)? Your remodel will probably cost that much, plus 30% because things have to be torn out by hand before new can go in. You shouldn't have any Historic District problems if you leave the exterior alone. It can be cheaper to gut the interior completely -- unless there are unique historic parts you want to save.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 1:18PM
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The cost of remodeling has about a million variables. A big one is location and site access. For instance, to remodel in Manhattan is sick-expensive... in Bakersfield, less so.

I advise people to start with listing the priorities and WHY you want to make the changes. Then rank them. Then start with a budget... How much am I comfortable spending?

To get your bearings on value, look for properties that already have the features/appearance you are looking for. See if you can get an appraised value. Then appraise the value of your property. Calculate the difference. Can you afford that much? If so, contact an architect, design/build remodeler, or other qualified designer and get to work. If not, cut back your list and focus on the must-haves.

Budgets are broken by the selections you put into them because building the "box" will cost about the same with any qualified contractor. Weigh the value of luxury brand cabinets and appliances very carefully. Trust me, the 'new-car-smell' of that Sub-Zero can wear off pretty quickly... food only needs to be so cold...

Remember, try not to remodel for "resale value." If you're selling, don't remodel. Just paint. If you're staying, remodel for you and your lifestyle, and leave resale concerns to your heirs.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 7:44PM
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That's everyone! The issue is this house is in a fantastic location, it's where I live currently, and hoped to remain.

If I sold this house, I could never afford to buy another one in this neighborhood. I know someone who remodels homes and is eager to buy my house and I just thought I'm saddened to let this go if I could do what he does.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 11:38PM
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I tried to type again last night that I made a typo and meant to say Thanks everyone, but after 6 tries of hitting preview and submit, it kept telling me that I already posted a follow-up and wouldn't let me post again.

Also I know I posted to this thread sometime before and don't see my post, so I must have gotten the same error screen and just not read it.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 9:32AM
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socalnuboo is so right about location affecting cost. I live in Northern California, in the Berkeley hills, and houses go for close to $1 milliion in my neighborhood. This would be the cost for a 3bd 2ba house, and you might get a view.

We had a 50-year old house that we stripped down to the framing and we knocked down walls, built walls, moved the kitchen, moved the laundry room, added a walk-in closet, a bathroom and an office, and added 307 square feet. Our little house is still little - 1,200 sq ft to a little more than 1,500 sq ft. We used fairly high end materials (custom cabinetry in the kitchen, entry, bath and closets, and granite and SS in the kitchen, marble in the bathroom and vanity counter in walk-in closet)and we have a new roof, new doors, walls, floors, windows - the works. New HVAC, electrical, and plumbing, too. Everything, and I mean everything, is new.

What did it cost? We used a design/build company (which I think is the best way to go). Not counting permits and design fees, our whole-house remodel cost $330K, including construction and materials.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 10:59AM
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kmura's situation is similar to mine. I'd like to point out that it's not apples to apples to say neighboring homes sell for a million and kmura's cost was a third of that. The $1M includes the land, which, in my area and probably in kmura's is as much as half the cost of the real estate.

We bought an old ranch on an acre five years ago and tore it down when the remodeling bids came in higher than a new build (and gave us 9-foot ceilings, 36" doorways, etc.).
Technically it was a remodel as the chimney remained.

Our cost for 2900 sq ft (with unfinished attic that can double the sq. ft.) was around $500K to build. The house next to us sold three years ago for over $1M, was torn down, and a 5500 sq ft house is being finished now. I'd guess they are spending $1M to build. Completed, that house would sell for around $3M. A teardown down the street is on the market for $1.8M as a lot or $4M for lot and to-be-built house.

This may seem OT for our OP, but I think it is very on-topic as it is about the value of the LOCATION!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 12:37PM
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