Transforming problem houses into Dream Homes

What Does It Cost To…?

generic architect

One of the most common questions I get asked as an architect is a variation on “how much does it cost to remodel my kitchen?” Or, bathroom, or living room, or – well, you get the idea.

The answer I have to give is necessarily vague. It depends on how extensive the remodeling is and how much you spend on finishes and appliances. Fortunately, Henley Wood, the publishers of Remodeling magazine have done the research to answer the question with actual numbers!

They have also broken down the data regionally. The construction cost numbers for the San Francisco Bay Area may be shocking to you. A major kitchen remodeling can cost between $62,000 and $120,000. And according to their research, you will only recoup between 79% to 89% of that investment. Remember, too, that these numbers are only for construction itself, and do not include the cost of architectural, structural, or interior design services, nor do the numbers include the cost of permits. These “soft costs” can range between 15% to 30% of the construction costs. Building in the Bay Area ain’t cheap.

For me, the take away message is, for this year, remodeling as a financial investment intended to be recouped on an immanent resale is not a smart use of your money. But if you are intending to stay in your home for the long term (5 or more years), remodeling to improve the quality of your life is still a smart use of your money. As the market changes, this situation may change. But right now, remodel for your own quality of life, not as a financial investment.

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