Remodeling Cost versus Value

Ready to jump into planning a remodel for 2012?  You’re probably wondering what it will cost and what your return on investment (ROI) will be if sell your home after the remodel is complete.  Lucky you–there’s new data to look at from a national survey that also dives in deep with information from major metro areas, including Seattle.

Each year Remodeling Magazine publishes its Cost Vs. Value issue, where they compile average costs for a wide variety of projects, from kitchen remodels to second story additions and entry door replacements.  They provide an added layer of data showing “upscale” costs along with average ones.  If you’re thinking upscale is luxury, you’re wrong.  True luxury-level remodeling is off the charts and impossible to quantify in a survey like this.  But looking at the upscale pricing will help you with average costs on finishes that include nicer stone counters, engineered wood floors, custom lighting plans, wood clad windows, and the like.

The costs for all projects are broken out regionally–Pacific Region data includes California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.  But you can also download data specific to your metro area.  Interestingly, the Seattle metro area trends a little below the Pacific region average, though the costs in the city of Seattle will tend to be higher, and those in outlying areas, lower.

While the report is designed strictly as a look at the relative value of projects, I think it’s useful for another reason:  as a reality check of likely construction costs for projects you may be considering.  Could a 2-car garage really cost $60k to build?  The report says it can indeed.  Knowing what a minor, full and upscale kitchen remodel costs (and what’s in the scope of work) can help you determine your budget.  The report comes along with a description of the specifics of the work included for each project.  But of course, with any remodeling or building project, it is the specifics of your project and your home that determine the cost.  Bringing in a remodeling professional to help you with budgeting is the best way to understand what your construction costs will be.

It is great to know ROI for projects like these, particularly if you know there’s a possibility you may need or want to sell your home in the short term (5 years or so).  But as you can see from the report, recouping what you invest is not a sure thing.   The beautiful bathroom you install may not fit the taste of the people who eventually buy your home (we have remodeled more than our share of baths and other rooms that had been remodeled recently by the last homeowners).  That means that the truest (and I think highest value) return on investment for homeowners is the ability to improve their home and enjoy it in the long term.  That means remodeling not for ROI or the person who may buy your home in future, but instead remodeling for YOU.






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