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Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Posted by CT_Newbie (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 27, 13 at 23:58

Just wondering roughly what % of the budget should be spent on the following:
*appliances
* cabinets
*countertops
* installation
* other (lighting, fixtures, sink)
The above should total 100%

I think I'd like to splurge on countertops vs. cabinets as we really don't want anything fancy with the cabinets - white, shaker, inset framed. Ballpark I estimated $35K for cabinets for a large kitchen, but thinking the upper range could be $60K? but I really don't want to spend that much. I'm getting better cabinet estimates in a few weeks but am eager to have a preview budget

Thank you

Thank you!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Actually, I just found this

2. Know how the costs will break down.
Labor will consume anywhere from 20 to 35 percent of your project costs. Cabinets can also devour a big chunk of your kitchen remodel budget.

Here's how it breaks down, on average:

35 percent: cabinets
20 percent: labor
20 percent: appliances
10 percent windows
5 percent: fixtures
3 percent: fittings
7 percent: other

Question - there was no breakout for countertops so I am assuming cabinets and countertops get lumped together. Is that correct?

Labor: I thought someone had thought it would be about $4K in labor to move gas and plumbing lines and to install the cabinets. However, this says 20% of costs and other articles estimated $80K-$100K for total upscale kitchen budget. Is labor going to be approximately $16K-$20K to install?!?!

Thanks for your comments


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

30K worth of cabinets is a mid range remodel. Even 60k is only slightly above mid range. If you're talking a true high end remodel, you're talking 200K worth of cabinets by a name designer and a 100K appliance budget and a 50K counter budget etc.

The usual target budget for a kitchen reno is 15-20% of your home's value. That keeps you from either over or under spending when compared to the rest of your neighborhood.

For a 150K budget, which would be an upper middle range remodel, that's roughly 60-80K for cabinets, 12-20K for appliances, 10K -15K for floors, 10-15K for counters, 6-8K for electrical, 4-5K for wall and window covering, 2-4K for miscellaneous, and 35-50K for labor for all of the above, which includes plumbing. It's more a range than a hard and fast percentage, because some people value some things more than others. For someone who wants to cook, they might use up all of the above appliance number just on a range. For someone who wants furniture quality cabinetry that will truly complement the home's other quality woodwork, the cabinet budget might be 100K. For someone who wants the actual jewel tones of amethyst counters (Cosentino makes them), they might spend 30K just on an island counter.

You need to rank what's important to you, and then do the research as to what will fit your wants for the top three wants. Almost everything else can adjust as long as you don't drop too far below a mid grade choice.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Thanks for clarifying Holly. I had been calling it upscale based on
http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2013/costvsvalue/division/new-england.aspx upscale national average and

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2091653/list/Kitchen-Remodel-Costs--3-Budgets--3-Kitchens Deluxe kitchens which put the renos at ~$100K+ (not $250K). We were planning to refinish the floors and use the existing fridge and double ovens which should cut down on the budget. Also, in the example you gave, I'm probably more of a "countertop" fan than a "cabinet fan" and would rather put more towards countertops (at least at my current stage of planning) vs. cabinets. My issue is that I'm not really seeing that much differentiation in cabinets, especially in the style that I like (vs. paying more because we want a certain custom trim). I'm trying to understand quality differences.

That is an interesting rule of thumb on reno to house value. We might be underspending. However, since we have a lot of other renos, we don't want to spend it all on the kitchen. I wonder if I misheard the labor as $4K when it was $40K! :) or if the local cabinet maker was subsidizing the cost of her cabinets with the construction costs.

Thank you for the color and insight. It is much appreciated


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

I went with Rutt Classic cabinets and calacatta marble countertops and high end appliances. My kitchen is narrow and long (around 21 feet) with an L. My walnut stained cabinets were 62K installed, countertops and BS were 11K and appliances were about 24K. I ,over a lot of plumbing and did other complicated work in adjacent rooms. The entire project, including window treatments, came in a shade over 200K. I used a contractor based outside the city. Bilotta was my KD. You can read my posts for more info.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

It might help you to figure out the minimal price for each element, and then upgrade from there. What would Ikea cabinets, basic appliances, and low end counters cost? How much for demo, drywall and paint work, plumbing, electrical?
I don't think you can save a lot on labor, unless you DIY. And installation of cabinets is only a small part. But with careful shopping, you can get great deals that allow you to upgrade appliances at minimal extra cost. I'm not sure cabinet quality and price are closely related, at least not for painted white shaker.
At the beginning of my stone selection process, I decided to do a level 2 granite - even though it was easy to find gorgeous exotic and level 5 slabs. I'm really glad I was constrained, it made me shop more, see more, and I'm thrilled with what I found.
You can get some rough budget numbers by knowing the linear feet of cabinetry and square feet of countertops in your design. Cabinetry could be 200 to 400 per linear foot, granite $40-80 and up per square foot.
Learning as much as you can about what things cost will help you evaluate proposals, you don't have to wait for others to set your budget. Just make sure you account for everything, you don't want to accept a proposal that uses your entire budget but specifies a $200 faucet when you have your heart set on Waterstone.

Here is a link that might be useful: BHG kitchen cabinet article


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

My advice on determining budget is start with a figure you are comfortable with and a lower figure you would be happy with. Consider the investment factor- should not be more than 15-20% of home value unless you really don't care about the investment or really really value the lifestyle benefits and will stay a long time.
Per foot pricing on cabinets is close to useless even deceptive. I refuse to use it. I'd rather spend several hours giving a real price range on a real kitchen.

I'd call some of what hollyspirings is referring to as "ulta" hi end. I do a fair number of what are considered hi end jobs and don't approach those numbers.
Most expensive
-counters priced for someone- 26k Azul Macaubus Extra (134" perfect slabs) after I contacted every yard from Maryland to Maine that carried it client imported slabs from Italy- final cost 15K
-cabinets- close to a tie. 145k lots of stainless doors, stacked, two islands, architect specked 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" white oak frames. Other simply enormous with lots of fru-fru- 140k.

More commonly at the size your looking at cabinets 40-90 depends on too many things. Just bid one job that covered that entire range for cabinets in two brands.

Appliances- often 20-34k
Install- minimal construction can be under 10- major remodel with addition affecting other rooms as much as 140-180k.
All other things vary too much to say without getting into the nitty gritty and electric is voodoo.

Pick a number- make them work with it.

Some say hold back x% for contingencies. I tend to think if you do that it should be small. Unless there is some reason to suspect a problem. Never do a job for T&M. Do not leave parts of the project to be decided later. Design it all to fit, then order. Avoids overages and a host of other problems. (backpslash and final paint color can be settled later but you really should have a good idea of what that will be)

Holding back ties the hand of the person working with you. BUT
if you do NOT hold back, tell them so and INSIST that they meet the budget.
We are taught that clients hold back a minimum of 10% so that is assumed. (I don't but tell clients that)


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

When you say budget as % of home value are you referring to the value of the house itself, i.e. exclusive of lot value? In some areas, 1 mio will buy you a fairly modest home, which most certainly will not have a 150-200K kitchen.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Yes, I've read the 15-20% of a home's value as the gauge for remodeling a kitchen. (nosoccermom, I think it's just the overall value of the house if you were to sell it... or, I think that's what it means.) Of course, there are exceptions in areas where the housing values are either exceptionally high (NYC or San Fran) or very low.

When determining my kitchen remodeling budget, I had 3 areas of consideration:

1. My home's value (and then the 15-20% figure).
2. What's an appropriate amount to spend in my neighborhood? What's everyone else doing? I consulted with a few realtors who offered great advice.
3. With the above 2 in consideration, what did I really want from my remodel?

In the end, of course, #3 is most important, but I feel better about my decisions based on my knowledge of #1 and #2.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

CT -- just posted to you on your other thread re cabinet brands.

These articles can be right or wrong. It really depends on what you need and what your wish to invest. And perhaps even more importantly, what you pick and what style you are going for.

I know someone who spent 80K on cabinets in a very large house but they don't look like that quality/cost. That kitchen also has drop in sinks and mid-range appliances. The kitchen is totally blah. She could have spent 30K on the cabinets and gone with higher end appliances and achieved a better look with higher function.

The big numbers are cabinets and appliances. Sometimes flooring or tile. People tend to spend on cabinets but scale back on other things. I have a different philosophy because I feel that unless the look is completely dependent on cabinets there can be more bang for the design buck from other elements -- a fab hood, tile (which everyone leaves for last and chintzes on) and appliance extras that can create a really luxe kitchen.

A lot can depend on the house and how the kitchen should/will integrate. It should really be viewed as an overall. Majra's kitchen remodel is a super good example of a perfectly well integrated kitchen for that house IMO. Very rare to see so well done.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

CT_Newbie, if I may post once more here, I would recommend that you consult with a few realtors in your area and gain their advice on your kitchen remodel and budget, too. I know you may not be interested in resale value, but the realtors with whom I spoke had a great perspective and were very practical in their suggestions. Their complete lack of emotion about a home can be an asset! ;-)

Good luck!


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

1. Home Value $ 500K

2. % of home value: 10%
Budget Amt: $ 50,000

3. Breakdown of typical remodeling investment.
Cabinets 40% $ 20,000
Countertops 9% $ 4500
Appliances 10% $ 5000
Lighting/Electrical 10% $ 5000
Wall Covering 3% $ 1500
Floor Covering 8% $ 4000
Labor (including plumbing) 20% $ 10,000

I found this calculator on Holiday Kitchens website.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Budget Calculator


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

In another thread, a famous realtor said to spend "no more than 10%" on your remodel, which I've heard from some realtors and assessors before as well. As others noted, it really does vary upon your local housing market and your neighborhood... but also what you want. For example, in San Francisco or Manhattan, spending 20% of the homes value on a kitchen very may well be overspending relative to most of the comparable homes or condos in your area, despite the relative high cost of materials and labor in those areas. A 1 br condo in the desirable parts of SF will begin at 550 to 600K these days -- they do not have 120K kitchens in these tiny spaces, believe me!. A person will spend more on your forever home, ignoring any budget guidelines, if it is what you want and can afford it.

(Editing: Just read your other thread where you were considering a 17x19 kitchen and white inset shaker cabinets from local custom, WoodMode, P&F, or Rutt). Based on your cabinet choices, I think you should mentally prepare yourself to getting cabinets quoted in the 40K to 75K+ range, depending on the final quantity and extra features. Others can chime in, based on their experience. .

Do you have a wish list of other major items picked out? I'm betting if you had a more precise list of what you are looking for at this point, people could come up with a pretty reasonable budget estimate range for you in no time. Do you have a "dream kitchen" scrapbook collected on Houzz or in the Finished Kitchen Blog section in mind? Like for appliances, are you thinking highend as in a Wolf 60" range or something exotic like a Molteni island?

BTW, the Remodeling cost value report is based on a kitchen smaller than yours.

This post was edited by gooster on Fri, Jun 28, 13 at 16:37


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Another point- when you are figuring the cabinet cost, are you also including what goes in the cabinets - i.e. - pull out drawers, pot drawers, lazy susans in the corners, pantry shelving, drawer line etc. - and believe me, there are different qualities of these, depending on what kitchen company you use. I can tell you from past experience - do not cheap out on these items. If you are a cook, entertain a lot and really use your kitchen - there will much wear and tear and if the cabinets and the interior finishings are cheaper, your kitchen will fall apart in a few years.
Buy the best you can afford, especially in a higher end home.

This post was edited by Caya26 on Sat, Jun 29, 13 at 0:03


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

I think consulting a seasoned real estate agent is a great idea, especially if it isnt your forever home. I wish I had done that...even though I had never heard of the 15-20% rule that's what I ended up with...actually more like 10%. I came up with a number I thought was realistic and that we could afford. I first ballparked the materials---I want to spend X on cabinets, X on counters, X on appliances..etc...it all worked out, except for the extra $7,000 we had to spend fixing plumbing and electrical mistakes of previous contractors...be sure to add at least 10% for "surprises." But have a budget for materials and stick to it....it's easy to get carried away....if you decide to splurge on counters, then make it up somewhere else...otherwise costs spiral out of control. Labor costs are labor costs...unless you do a lot of change orders.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

I've always looked at the % of home value as a "don't go over" amount, not a target.

Caya- when I talk cabinet price it is the entirety, less sales tax and decorative hardware.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Thank you all again. I'm not sure if I have the right size. I could be overestimating. Will find out tomorrow. The bad news is my estimates were on the low end for cabinets and labor (unfortunately, two large chunks of the biggest chunks). And it means that likely my estimates for the mudroom and built-ins for an office are low too. :( Already, I'm using up my "reserve" for a more realistic cost. Gooster, $40K would be reasonably, but not $75K for us. And yes, I was hoping the cabinet cost would include the insets, and drawer accessories. Rocco, yes, I was thinking less on cabinets and more on wow elements like countertops and vent. That means that either we spend more for the master bathroom reno down the road or we do less and don't create a double shower :(

I understand what you are saying jakul about ideally having everything picked out to get to a budget but I don't think we have the time to plan and budget for the masterbath. Even with the kitchen, it will take us a while to find the right stone and we'd have to pick a KD and order cabinets sooner than that. Therefore, I'm using a proxy of $/sq foot for the countertop, etc. I was hoping the master bath could be done with $50K, but if we make the shower double size, it will require a bunch of work and could get up to, my guess $85K. Will just have to see how much money is left. And there's little stuff for each of the other bathrooms. Then, I think we'll just have to wait until the kids get older and the value of houses goes up in order to justify finishing off more of the basement and the attic. Plus, I hope to go back to work at some point.

When thinking of our bid, the RE gave 30% lower figure on the kitchen reno costs than what a designer gave. But, of course, she was trying to get us to put more towards the actual bid of the house. I also felt like she pushed us to $10K more, knowing I had questions about the appliances and that we wanted to "save" some for things that would come up on the inspection. I misunderstood her thinking that I could ask for a credit on the appliances if I found out that they were all 1999 on the inspection. She said that the cabinets for the new construction didn't cost that much and were likely builder grade and we could get the look we wanted for less. Another person thought that since those new constructions were "signature" level, that the cabinets were probably a better grade. Who knows! And we certainly didn't want to go cheap on the reno and "devalue" the house but we don't need all the bells and whistles.

More to ponder . . . thank you all for the input


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Thank you all again. I'm not sure if I have the right size. I could be overestimating. Will find out tomorrow. The bad news is my estimates were on the low end for cabinets and labor (unfortunately, two large chunks of the biggest chunks). And it means that likely my estimates for the mudroom and built-ins for an office are low too. :( Already, I'm using up my "reserve" for a more realistic cost. Gooster, $40K would be reasonably, but not $75K for us. And yes, I was hoping the cabinet cost would include the insets, and drawer accessories. Rocco, yes, I was thinking less on cabinets and more on wow elements like countertops and vent. That means that either we spend more for the master bathroom reno down the road or we do less and don't create a double shower :(

I understand what you are saying jakul about ideally having everything picked out to get to a budget but I don't think we have the time to plan and budget for the masterbath. Even with the kitchen, it will take us a while to find the right stone and we'd have to pick a KD and order cabinets sooner than that. Therefore, I'm using a proxy of $/sq foot for the countertop, etc. I was hoping the master bath could be done with $50K, but if we make the shower double size, it will require a bunch of work and could get up to, my guess $85K. Will just have to see how much money is left. And there's little stuff for each of the other bathrooms. Then, I think we'll just have to wait until the kids get older and the value of houses goes up in order to justify finishing off more of the basement and the attic. Plus, I hope to go back to work at some point.

When thinking of our bid, the RE gave 30% lower figure on the kitchen reno costs than what a designer gave. But, of course, she was trying to get us to put more towards the actual bid of the house. I also felt like she pushed us to $10K more, knowing I had questions about the appliances and that we wanted to "save" some for things that would come up on the inspection. I misunderstood her thinking that I could ask for a credit on the appliances if I found out that they were all 1999 on the inspection. She said that the cabinets for the new construction didn't cost that much and were likely builder grade and we could get the look we wanted for less. Another person thought that since those new constructions were "signature" level, that the cabinets were probably a better grade. Who knows! And we certainly didn't want to go cheap on the reno and "devalue" the house but we don't need all the bells and whistles.

More to ponder . . . thank you all for the input


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

do these figures change when considering budget in a newly built home vs a remodel?

Would you be looking at percent of construction costs without considering the lot value?


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

We stripped our house top to bottom, inside and out after we bought it. It can be very overwhelming because it's hard to weigh the various decisions against each other. At the time DD2 was still at home so I wanted a nice bath for her and for guests.

I went to int design school during the reno which helped me a lot. But having done two renos in ten years, the second had more controlled costs than the first because the plans were well worked out and very precise. Precise architectural plans, including the kitchen, are key. And picking out all the surfaces before the work started so I knew where I was in the budget.

My regrets are not doing what I did -- none there -- but not doing more. DH wanted to change out all the windows, f.ex. which I thought was wasteful. Now, down the road, I wish I had etc. Ultimately, it's more expensive to have someone come back (not to mention the mess, damage and upheavel) than to plan it carefully and do it once.

Also, I find it's really easy to get stuck on the kitchen (especially hanging around here). If you and your DH really want a double shower, go for it. I did a big shower for DH with a seat and it is wonderful. Our mb and closets and both our offices worked out really well.

We're just two and our laundry room/mudroom is one of the busiest places in the house. With kids, that room deserves real attention as it gets such high use.

I saw your other thread and have to say that worrying about cabinet finishes isn't what I'd be focusing on. Use a good brand and that takes care of itself -- why you go to a P&F or a Crown Point, Wolf, Miele etc.

And no matter what is planned, I found it will be 25 to 30% more, which I expect you've been told.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Somebody probably said it, but WHERE should the budget go? If I could afford it, my first step would be to find and hire a very good, talented designer. They're not common and not cheap, but with one of those the rest will fall in place. Beautifully.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

We spent way more on labor than the calculators suggest - so much depends on what you need to do! We knocked out a wall, put in a new entry door, sealed up an old one, put in a new window, etc. we have plaster and lath and needed new insulation in part of the remodel. We needed to do all that to improve the function and make the remodel worth doing in the first place. Thus labor was 40% of our budget.

In return we reused our fridge and range, went for less expensive granite, went for less expensive cabs (overlay, but still have all the features we wanted like soft close, dovetail, full extension, etc just not the "high end" inset), went way less for lighting. Got our hardware for a song. Not sure how useful these calculators are TBH.

figure out what you can spend. Not what you *should* spend. Find out the labor costs, then go from there. There are lots of adjustments you can make in cabs, appliances, flooring, finishes - not so much with labor.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

The kitchen versus the house cost ratio has to do with the saleability of your house. If you do not plan to sell, then it really does not matter what you do. Do what you can afford and what makes you live in that house with increased function and esthetics.

The cost of kitchen versus house has to do with 'scaling' the remodel to fit the house. This also works with the lot versus building ratio. A typical lot should cost no more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the total selling cost of the house. The more urban/denser the area, the lot costs more. In condos/town homes there is still a land value on the tax assessment and this ratio is pretty close. (10 town homes on a city block that costs 2 mil still has 200K lot value for each town home)

In high COLA areas, labor is quite expensive. So even in modest homes, the cost of remodeling tends to go up quickly due to a higher labor cost, not due to the material cost. All these things tend to work out reasonably close to the estimates. (unless you do the work yourself.)

If your building cost is way too low relative to the lot, the building will be torn down or gutted to studs after you sell. Which means that what you put into the kitchen remodel will be irrelevant in terms of selling your house. (Scenario: the lot value 500K, the building value 200K, you sell the house for 750K. A typical house in this neighborhood should be around 1.2 mil to 1.75mil. The house will prob get bulldozed or redone from studs out. This is what happens where I live :)

To make this even more complicated, if you do a bad remodel your remodel will hinder you from selling your house ;) If you have a hot hot real estate market (like right now in Seattle) then the house sells just because of the market not your kitchen. If not, the bad remodel will really make your home hard to sell!


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

I was curious, and so I calc'd my percentages as the inspector just signed off on the final inspection a few moments ago!:
Cabinets (incl install): 33%
Appliances (no install): 20%
Floors: 5%
Counters: 7%
Fixtures, Sinks, HW, Window Treatments: 7%
Plans & Permits: 2%
Labor (includes paint, electrical, plumbing, wall tear down, plaster repair, HVAC, appliance install): 26%
This was on a moderate budget with a few higher end touches, using painted inset cabinets. All GC markups and taxes are included.

This post was edited by gooster on Tue, Jul 2, 13 at 18:27


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

CT....I live in Boston in a smallish c. 1930 house. But there is no way I would spend $80k on a kitchen in my 400k house. Personally, I think there is a lot of 'keeping up with the Joneses' in kitchen remodeling. There is no way I would spend $2k on a Koehler Karbon faucet, I would rather spend that on travel or on my cars...or a beautiful vintage O'Keefe and Merritt range. But everyone's priorities are different.

The 20% can be a useful guideline, but those folks that live in high COLA areas, I think 10% is a more reasonable estimate. The best thing you can do is go to a bunch of open houses, talk to a RE agent, start comparison shopping, hire a great designer/architect and install what sings to YOU.

Also, remember the golden rule of project management. Speed, Quality, Cost. You can usually get 2 out of 3...but rarely all 3. You can find incredible bargains if you have the time to look for them and/or willing to overlook small or invisible flaws...

Good luck!


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Gooster

Very interesting. My percentages are almost exactly the same as yours.

Congratulations on the inspection sign off!


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

but those folks that live in high COLA areas, I think that 10% is a more reasonable estimate

When the cost of living is high, labor is high. Our labor alone came to almost 8% of the cost of our house.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Since we're just finishing up, I went back to look over the numbers. Here is how ours came up:

By far the biggest expenses:
Labor - 25%
Cabinetry - 25%
Then, in descending order:
Plans+Permits - 12% (should be lower, mostly because we did an addition, which I excluded from the other calculations)
Appliances - 11%
Plumbing and Electrical - 11%
Windows, Floors, Paint - 10%
Countertops - 3%
Hardware and Fixtures - 2%
Tile - 1%

We set out with a budget and then figured out how to meet that budget through various means. In other words, once we had labor cost fixed, we shopped for cabinets, then appliances, countertops, etc. We began with ballpark ideas of how each would fit in and then tried to stay within that range. Aside from a few unexpected charges (extra plumbing needed when the walls were torn down and we saw what was there; extra beam cost when the structure wasn't what the architect had drawn), we came in right where we wanted to.

The main takeaway for us - the more detailed your plans before you begin, the less surprises and the more control you will have over the cost. Decide what you are willing to spend, then price things out until you find something you like within your range. If you splurge in one area, save in another. For example, we wanted high end appliances but the cost was too high - we ended up getting most of our appliances from outlets or eBay, and saved 10k that way. We liked quartzite countertops, but went with a granite that was half the cost. Also keep in mind that you may need new furniture when you're done with the reno (barstools, for example).


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Thank you everyone! This is all so interesting. Too bad there isn't some sort of way to poll and show the data on the various kitchen budget %s.

On the lot vs house issue, it is very tricky. We tried a number of calculations. There was quite a range in lot prices. I looked at it from the total cost of what a new builder paid for the lot before he rebuilt and listed. The theory on using the whole # is that the house had no value since it was going to be torn down. I had the agent pull the data for recent new constructions. She also told me what she thought the value of an acre of land was. That was a little lower. Then we played with our #s. Part of the problem was figuring out of there was any sort of a discount for "unusable" land - wetlands, steep slope, etc. and how to value a cul de sac more than a regular street.

Also, we were a little torn with the value of house per sq foot. Some houses might have a lot of unfinished attic or basement space that isn't counted in the sq footage.

The good news is that some of the contractors think we can work in a double shower without moving the toilet which would keep risk and expenses down. We had one contractor who thought we should move the toilet and he gave what I considered a reasonable estimate. I don't know if his estimate was low and problems would creep up that would drive the cost up or if the other contractors were just risk averse in thinking of all of the potential problems that one person said would "blow the budget."
I'm looking forward to the results of the designs and the estimates. We have one more chance to get into the house again for other estimates next week.

QUESTION: Some of these contractors said that they want their plumbers and electricians to come in and give estimates. I asked them to put in place holder amounts for now since getting into the house is a problem.and I am concerned about wasting people's time. Do you think we can choose a contractor based on their estimate with onlyl a ball park figure for plumbing and electric work? Or do you think if I pick one, they'll only jack up the price further knowing that they have the work? Time is of the essence and I'd really like to have the team picked out and some schedules set even though we are fine tuning the budget and picking out things and possibly making minor adjustments to the design.

By the way, the kitchen is slightly smaller than I first thought. It is about 15'6" x 17'2" And navigen, i think we will be slow on speed of the three things you mentioned. It's very hard to shop for counters, fixtures etc with toddlers. Just getting them out of the house is an accomplishment some days. Certainly we've been using some sitter help for key meetings/trips.

Please advise. Thank you!
PS, I love the new edit function for previous posts

This post was edited by CT_Newbie on Tue, Jul 2, 13 at 23:54


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

I'd plunk a good percentage into a quality designer if I were doing a high-end remodel. All of the fancy materials will be for naught if your vision is not executed into the final outcome.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

I would not sign anything until the affected trades (electricians and plumbing) have had a chance to take a look at the desired plan versus the reality of the house. they can spot things a GC doesn't notice.

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If you are planning to move, remove, or add walls, windows, doors or services (plumbing, gas, electric) take that out of the budget first.

Figure out the work flows you need first. Where do things have to go? What size appliances do you need/want?

Talk to electricians and plumbers next, because they will have comments on the feasibility

Then figure out the look you want, because you can get almost any look at many price points. And you can get almost any durability and care level at many price points.

Then and only then start shopping for materials. Start with whatever is your hot button must have material (floor, counters or cabinets, maybe even the backsplash) and work from there picking things that go with it.

TIP: When you have a "don't care", pick the least expensive product of suitable quality. Save the pfennigs and pence for the things you truly do care about, or that have greater visibility.

If the budget gets crunched, cut costs on the things that are most easily replaced later, such as faucets, pendants, and standard-sized appliances.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Moving a plumbing stack i.e. toilet is a big deal. But it also depends on how far they need to move it and what happens when they open the floor. Ditto for anything else to do with plumbing. Those costs can be substantial, which is why the contractor wants his subs to come in and look.

Yet even when they do, no budget is ever "set." Each contractor gives numbers based on the scope of work outlined. If you have very specific architectural plans that is your insurance policy since the work and hence the contract number is based on those plans. There should be allowances based on the plans so you know what the variations in the cost of surfaces might be.

However, once the work starts there are, inevitably "change orders," which is when they come to you and say, the plans call for xyz but we opened the floor and there is something in the way and if we cut into it there will be another problem etc.

Anything added to the contract is additional. Which is why I made the suggestion of adding 25- 30% above any number you get from a contractor as the budget.

Without excellent, very well worked out plans (ours took 9 months to get) I would suggest that work could conceivably cost as much as 50% more. Or not. It depends.

It's just what happens. It's rare (and fortunate) that a job will be brought in right on budget with few, if any, change orders. So the more info you have going in, the more detailed and excellent the plans (there can be mistakes in those that you don't see until they actually go to build), the better you will do.

My suggestion, instead of trying to calculate pieces, is to look at real estate comparables of houses on the market. Maybe even go look at one or two to see what the quality is and how good the surfaces and fixtures are. That should provide a firm idea of how yours would stack up budgetwise if -- on a worst case and unlikely scenario -- the house had to be put on the market the week you finished.

But this can also be a matter of philosophy. My DH wanted certain things and said he didn't care if we lost money eventually as the house would be "special" and therefore we could get our money out. We don't, of course, have school and college ahead -- the kids are grown.

And all the calculations in the world cannot predict the real estate market at the time when anyone must sell. So, in the end, like so many things, the calculations are only a guideline since peace of mind is paramount. We've seen the perils of folks being out too far over their skis on houses.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Thank you everyone. I think a lot of this is great commentary on how to keep the budget under control. I think most of the KDs I am talking to seem talented so I don't want to hire a separate designer.

I do wonder about how to manage the contractor process and might post a different thread on that so it doesn't get lost in this one.

Thank you!


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

We,re in the process of building a cabin so we hired a designer since the height is lower in the kitchen. The kitchen is costing about 69K without appliances.
The MB is about 54 K with a 5' by 7' shower with 2 shower heads with a hand held on a bar and 2 body showers.Ithink costs all depend on what you to spend ;however,this is also with us having the plumber and electrician already.

The cabinets : J.Rambo countertops: rainforest granite


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

edit: what you want to spend and what is important to you. This was an eyeopener for me.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

I haven't read all the above comments, but I think $4k labor you mention in your second post, Ct_newbie, is very relative. Yes, it could be $4k to hang cabinets, but its not likely to include demo, moving walls, installing flooring, getting a new electric panel, insulation, windows, drywall, appliance install, exterior trim / modifications for venting, etc. The scope is a huge factor in labor. Maybe it goes without saying, but I don't think it's realistic to start with a labor budget of $4k without a defined project scope. In my high COLA, $4k would be cabinet install only.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Installation of my cabinets was about $8,500. It took a single installer about a week. Granted, I have a good around of detail work (two-part ceiling moldings, moldings around the bottom of the counter cabinets, a couple of chases, and he installed the undercabinet lighting too) but my kitchen is not even large. So I am not sure that even $4,000 is a realistic budget for installation.


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RE: Where should the budget go for high end remodel

Edit: Nevermind, just read the rest of the thread.

This post was edited by SLTKota on Sun, Jul 7, 13 at 16:00


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