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Remodeling a house - logistics, cost, etc.


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We are looking for our next house somewhere in central Fort Worth and have 3-4 very specific older neighborhoods that we'd like to land in. There's a wide mix of options, anything from old houses to new construction.

One particular house has an awesome neighborhood, good curb appeal, but needs a lot of interior work. The price of the house is on the low end of our budget, so depending on construction costs, it could be a good option for us. We plan to take a contractor to look at it sometime next week. In the meantime, I'd appreciate thoughts from the experts around here.

The kitchen has a good size and layout but needs to be completely redone - new cabinets, appliances, and floor. I'm guessing $40-60k for this?

The bedroom end of the house is approximately 1500 sqft with 3 BR 2 BA. The layout is horrible - master bath is small, master closets are tiny, hall layout is weird and bedroom door locations are bonkers. We are thinking this half of the house would need to be completely gutted with all new walls and a fresh layout from the ground up, so everything that entails. I have no idea how to even ballpark a project like that. Are we talking $100k or more like $300k?

Maybe this topic is too vague to ask on the internet and the only way to really know is to wait on contractor availability. Just curious if I can get a rough starting point and any other insight y'all might have. Thanks.

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These are East Coast estimates, (your results may vary) Kitchens figure on $50K and up depending on the amount of cabinetry, cabinet type, (painted vs, stained, overlay vs. inset) countertops (granite is cheap now), floor finishes (wood, tile, cork), expense of appliances will be $20-$35K all by themselves depending on brands (Wolf and sub zero vs. Kenmore and GE).  Windows are a big detail in a kitchen so factor that in, 6'-8'-10' of glass behind a kitchen sink area is typical today if space allows.

Figure on $30k and up for a master bath, again depending oil fixtures, size of the shower, tempered glass, tile types, a tub.  Closet fit outs are $10-$20K, again depending on size, fit and finish. 

If you're staying within the existing footprint, and aren't adding sq. footage, your costs aren't going to be as bad.

Kitchens, bathrooms, closets, great rooms. These are the spaces that get the best ROI (and the quickest resale)  so think of it as an investment, and also consider how long you plan to Iive there. 5 years, be very careful how much you spend. 10 years or more, and you should think about maxing out your investment.

I'm working on 7 or 8 renovation projects currently, and no matter the design solution, clients all want the same features in their renovations.

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i poo-poo ikea stuff but nobody has a bad word to say about their kitchen.  their 3d planner is really easy to use and you can build a design with full appliances in an afternoon, to get ballpark price.

 

full finished kitchen cabinetry for our layout with standard appliances is about 7k, up to 10k for premium appliances, countertops in natural or engineered stones cost 3k-5k.  i'd scale that to 150% for sizes of typical north american houses so maybe up to 20k all-in for materials.  backsplash and flooring (for kitchen) pretty cheap.    rest is labor cost.  40-60k seems generous unless there's extensive demolishing and labor. 

 

our biggest hurdle has been finding a contractor we're comfortable with.  and holy shit put a timeline on it.  wife been poopooing around taking earnest action on this so we're like a year behind when we wanted this finished

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1 minute ago, 52-80 said:

i poo-poo ikea stuff but nobody has a bad word to say about their kitchen.  their 3d planner is really easy to use and you can build a design with full appliances in an afternoon, to get ballpark price.

 

full finished kitchen cabinetry for our layout with standard appliances is about 7k, up to 10k for premium appliances, countertops in natural or engineered stones cost 3k-5k.  i'd scale that to 150% for sizes of typical north american houses so maybe up to 20k all-in for materials.  backsplash and flooring (for kitchen) pretty cheap.    rest is labor cost.  40-60k seems generous unless there's extensive demolishing and labor. 

 

our biggest hurdle has been finding a contractor we're comfortable with.  and holy shit put a timeline on it.  wife been poopooing around taking earnest action on this so we're like a year behind when we wanted this finished

Appliances will be $17-$30K and higher depending on the brand, so that's half your budget right there. Add a 20-25% markup on renovation, and anything less than $60K for a decent sized kitchen with an island is pretty damn good.  You can find decent inexpensive cabinetry that will help the cost, and if you can be careful with your counter selections you can save dollars there as well.  I;m just throwing out numbers I'm seeing every week from contractors in our Mid Atlantic region.

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6 hours ago, Jkwellborn said:

What are those features?

Sorry by features I mean the spaces I listed. The details of those spaces, finishes, colors, items in the spaces vary a little but not much, but everybody wants their own unique look. 

To have a tub or not to have a tub,  steam showers, separate sink areas, his and her toilets at times, linen closets in a bathroom, refrigerators disguised as cabinets or left exposed, glass front refrigerators, 1 or 2 dishwashers, extra work sinks, walk in pantries vs. wall units in the kitchen, double ovens and cook tops vs. all in one ranges (those save space, but I prefer all ovens), lighting methods, ceiling treatments, etc.  

Then there are  mud rooms which are the new frontier in design wish lists.

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30 minutes ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

Appliances will be $17-$30K and higher depending on the brand, so that's half your budget right there. Add a 20-25% markup on renovation, and anything less than $60K for a decent sized kitchen with an island is pretty damn good.  You can find decent inexpensive cabinetry that will help the cost, and if you can be careful with your counter selections you can save dollars there as well.  I;m just throwing out numbers I'm seeing every week from contractors in our Mid Atlantic region.

Wolf and Viking look great on pinterest but people actually spec this stuff in residences?  We're going with Siemens/Neff induction top + oven combo for 1500, legit exhaust fan (not recirc) 500, Fridge for a 1k (euro sized so single door and doesnt have built in iMac and cheesegrater).  Dishwasher is max 1k.  No garbage disposal.

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Just now, 52-80 said:

Wolf and Viking look great on pinterest but people actually spec this stuff in residences?  We're going with Siemens/Neff induction top + oven combo for 1500, legit exhaust fan (not recirc) 500, Fridge for a 1k (euro sized so single door and doesnt have built in iMac and cheesegrater).  Dishwasher is max 1k.  No garbage disposal.

Oh yeah, I get that all the time ...........then the prices come back......  typical low range apiece costs I see are just under $20K, and range up to $40 or so.

 

 

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Sorry by features I mean the spaces I listed. The details of those spaces, finishes, colors, items in the spaces vary a little but not much, but everybody wants their own unique look. 
To have a tub or not to have a tub,  steam showers, separate sink areas, his and her toilets at times, linen closets in a bathroom, refrigerators disguised as cabinets or left exposed, glass front refrigerators, 1 or 2 dishwashers, extra work sinks, walk in pantries vs. wall units in the kitchen, double ovens and cook tops vs. all in one ranges (those save space, but I prefer all ovens), lighting methods, ceiling treatments, etc.  
Then there are  mud rooms which are the new frontier in design wish lists.

I gotcha.
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Ok so maybe $50-70k for the new kitchen. In the ballpark of what we expect.

 

Any wild guesses on gutting the 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and redoing that entire half of the house from scratch? Goal would be to fit everything back in the original footprint of the house.

 

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We are in Fort Worth as well, about a mile west of the museums, and we are about to tackle an add on. Master suite add on, bathroom add on, mud room/pantry/laundry room, adding on close to 1000 sq/ft. I can't even fathom a guess on true costs, except several remodelers have only estimated at $150-$175 sq/ft., homes are selling for $225-$250 sq ft. in my area. They would make comments about instant equity etc, etc. We have some other companies coming out next week. 

Maybe you can call Grace Mitchell and be on her show, "One of a Kind."

Edited by dmtx
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4 hours ago, 52-80 said:

i poo-poo ikea stuff but nobody has a bad word to say about their kitchen.  their 3d planner is really easy to use and you can build a design with full appliances in an afternoon, to get ballpark price.

Yes, they have really come a long way.  And the quality is better than the particle board crap that falls apart when you lean on it like it used to be.  We are considering this option for a kitchen remodel.

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24 minutes ago, dmtx said:

We are in Fort Worth as well, about a mile west of the museums, and we are about to tackle an add on. Master suite add on, bathroom add on, mud room/pantry/laundry room, adding on close to 1000 sq/ft. I can't even fathom a guess on true costs, except several remodelers have only estimated at $150-$175 sq/ft., homes are selling for $225-$250 sq ft. in my area. They would make comments about instant equity etc, etc. We have some other companies coming out next week. 

Maybe you can call Grace Mitchell and be on her show, "One of a Kind."

$150-$200K'ish for a project like that.  $150-$175 for remodel work seems a little low, and that cost will go up a bit when it's bathrooms, kitchens, and any other wet areas.

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53 minutes ago, wild_turkey said:

Ok so maybe $50-70k for the new kitchen. In the ballpark of what we expect.

 

Any wild guesses on gutting the 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and redoing that entire half of the house from scratch? Goal would be to fit everything back in the original footprint of the house.

 

Figure on $15-$25K for a typical bathroom remodel.  Figure on $30K and up for a master bath, and the bedroom remodeling shouldn't be bad, that should be on the $125-$150 per sq. ft. range, depending on the contractors mark up.

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From what I've seen I figure to spend $10-$15K on appliances for the kitchen in our next house. Wolf or Viking range is $6-$7K, KitchenAid or similar fridge and dishwasher for another $3-$4K and $1K. Found our current KitchenAid fridge for half price so maybe I'll get lucky again on that. I know you can spend $15K+ on a Sub-Zero fridge, but I can't see myself doing that until it's the house I plan to die in.

 

Cabinets get very expensive very quickly so I'm hoping to find a house that doesn't need a full tear out and replacement on those.

 

We just priced out a pretty modest remodel on our current master bath and it came in at $22K. From what I've been told anywhere in the $20-$30K range is 'normal' with some going much higher. I plan to do some of the work myself as we don't plan to stay here for longer than 3-4 more years so I have to think about return on investment.

 

 

 

 

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I'm looking at a big remodel including new kitchen and some wall teardowns to increase its size, as well as a new master suite above the garage. I have gotten quotes everywhere from low 100s to 280k. Shop around and know what you're willing to pay for. I might be able to get the job done for 125k for example, if I was ok with a thousand headaches, unreliable subs, etc. I think I'm going to end up somewhere in the middle. If I move on this I'll let you know if I have any advice. Good luck. 

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Costs can vary dramatically across different contractors for the same thing. I never understood this myself with being able to get so much information on the internet. For one job I got quotes ranging from $2k to $7k. The second factor is what you want and your taste.

If you don’t know what you want, pay a designer to help. It seems like a waste of money but they can really speed up decisions and they have contacts and connections.

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7 hours ago, William_Cannon said:

Costs can vary dramatically across different contractors for the same thing. I never understood this myself with being able to get so much information on the internet. For one job I got quotes ranging from $2k to $7k. The second factor is what you want and your taste.

If you don’t know what you want, pay a designer to help. It seems like a waste of money but they can really speed up decisions and they have contacts and connections.

Waste of money to help guide you thru expensive decisions ?  Hardly

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One thing that was kind of addressed (and someone is going through in Houston on the Mortgage thread in the other forum, also building) is that whatever you think your timeframe is, make sure you tack on more time to that.  It almost never finishes on time (rain, permitting, etc) and you don't want to be hamstrung in the end on timing

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On 6/22/2019 at 9:43 PM, William_Cannon said:

Costs can vary dramatically across different contractors for the same thing. I never understood this myself with being able to get so much information on the internet. For one job I got quotes ranging from $2k to $7k. The second factor is what you want and your taste.

If you don’t know what you want, pay a designer to help. It seems like a waste of money but they can really speed up decisions and they have contacts and connections.

This 100%.  Get a professional.  I hate to be the one to tell you, but your wife's taste sucks.  

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2 minutes ago, Okie State said:

I always hear the women at work talking about their designers for their annual six figure remodels so I can't imagine they're cheap.

In general, if I have a $100K remodel budget, how much of that would go to a designer?

depends on the Scope of Work, of course.    

I dealt with a lot of architects and builders who...well, they were fucking foreigners, and didn't necessarily understand what is and is not desirable in a given region.

For example, I had a guy that designed a very large, elaborate home, and the powder room was accessed directly from the dining room.  Imagine somebody taking a massive dump while you're enjoying dessert 15 feet away. 

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I'm not sure I know what a "designer" is, but a good independent architect will cost you in the range of ~ $7-$11k (in Michigan dollars). 

I did a little research and I liked this idea a lot better than hiring a contractor/construction company and going with their in house architect. I've been really happy with the results, but then again I haven't even hired a contractor yet. 

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15 minutes ago, Gil Bang said:

depends on the Scope of Work, of course.    

I dealt with a lot of architects and builders who...well, they were fucking foreigners, and didn't necessarily understand what is and is not desirable in a given region.

For example, I had a guy that designed a very large, elaborate home, and the powder room was accessed directly from the dining room.  Imagine somebody taking a massive dump while you're enjoying dessert 15 feet away. 

What a dumb fuck. Accessing a powder room from a dining room in a new house ?  That's some strange design.  

An architects fees can be a % of construction budget anywhere from 4-12% and up, or by the hour for additions, or a cost per square foot for a house design.

Get a good architect, and look at their work, and talk to their past clients, and most importantly talk to contractors they've worked with recently.

Ask them their thoughts on budgets, if they get a far away look in their eyes, and you have to explain the definition of budget, run ... run fast and far.  Architects sometimes have issues with budgets. I've never understood why.  You design to the clients budget, and tell them if it's not adequate to do what they want to do.

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5 or 6 years ago  we took an existing 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and tore out everything to convert them to 2 larger bedrooms and 2 larger bathrooms.  We kept the bathroom stuff generally in the same locations so we didn't have to materially relocate supply or drain lines.  This was all upstairs in a 2 bedroom house (kid's bedrooms).  If memory serves the original estimates were around 100k and we ended up around 120-125k after some modifications during the process.  The finishes were mid-grade as it was for kid's bedrooms / bathrooms.

This was in Plano.

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23 minutes ago, orange dream said:

5 or 6 years ago  we took an existing 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and tore out everything to convert them to 2 larger bedrooms and 2 larger bathrooms.  We kept the bathroom stuff generally in the same locations so we didn't have to materially relocate supply or drain lines.  This was all upstairs in a 2 bedroom house (kid's bedrooms).  If memory serves the original estimates were around 100k and we ended up around 120-125k after some modifications during the process.  The finishes were mid-grade as it was for kid's bedrooms / bathrooms.

This was in Plano.

If you'd had to rip up floors to redo plumbing lines your cost would have jumped to $150K and up probably.  PRO TIP:  become a plumber......

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16 hours ago, Okie State said:

I always hear the women at work talking about their designers for their annual six figure remodels so I can't imagine they're cheap.

In general, if I have a $100K remodel budget, how much of that would go to a designer?

one of the construction companies I spoke with said design fees range from $1500 to $2500.

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1 hour ago, dmtx said:

one of the construction companies I spoke with said design fees range from $1500 to $2500.

That'll get you thru conceptual design usually (on projects of a certain size and complexity), but if you need construction documents it's probably gonna be more than that.

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Get a good architect, and look at their work, and talk to their past clients, and most importantly talk to contractors they've worked with recently.


What’s the best way to approach this on a house we don’t currently own?

We have a contractor meeting us at the house on Thursday just to get a ballpark starting point. If it ends up being close to our budget, the plan was to get a second estimate from a different designer/builder. If all of those things line up and we buy the house, we’d probably try to get 4-5 different bids before choosing the one that works the best. Is this a reasonable plan?

It’s a little more problematic when we are looking at a house that is currently for sale. We have to coordinate schedules with us, our realtor, the contractor, and the current resident of the house. I’m already sensing that contractors have slow response times. Also, the housing market moves fast so there isn’t really time for multiple formal designs and proposals.
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21 minutes ago, Baboontyme said:

Yep. Our concept drawings up front were in that range. If we decide to move forward and have them draw up construction drawings it's another $6k. 

I'd ask what the minimum requirements are for permit drawings submittal, and then back into what they should charge you for drawings you actuall need for a permit submittal..  You don't need interior elevations or other aesthetic details, and should only have those drawn if you feel you need them.

I always let the kitchen cabinet supplier provide drawings and I review and give them directions for shop drawing revision .

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11 minutes ago, wild_turkey said:

 


What’s the best way to approach this on a house we don’t currently own?

We have a contractor meeting us at the house on Thursday just to get a ballpark starting point. If it ends up being close to our budget, the plan was to get a second estimate from a different designer/builder. If all of those things line up and we buy the house, we’d probably try to get 4-5 different bids before choosing the one that works the best. Is this a reasonable plan?

It’s a little more problematic when we are looking at a house that is currently for sale. We have to coordinate schedules with us, our realtor, the contractor, and the current resident of the house. I’m already sensing that contractors have slow response times. Also, the housing market moves fast so there isn’t really time for multiple formal designs and proposals.

 

 Go on the internet and look at architects in your area.  Ask the contractors  you're considering using. Friends who've worked with one.

Try to have an architect visit the house before you buy it, and give you a quick feasibility  opinion.  Verify building setbacks before purchasing if you think you may add an addition .

Don't  get more than 3 builders  involved.  You want to let them know they're only bidding against 2 other contractors.  Lots of contractors in our region won't bid on a job with more than 3 bidders

 

BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET.  Establish a realistic one and once you have estimates back discuss where you need to be and work with the contractors to get you into that project cost.

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39 minutes ago, wild_turkey said:

 


What’s the best way to approach this on a house we don’t currently own?

We have a contractor meeting us at the house on Thursday just to get a ballpark starting point. If it ends up being close to our budget, the plan was to get a second estimate from a different designer/builder. If all of those things line up and we buy the house, we’d probably try to get 4-5 different bids before choosing the one that works the best. Is this a reasonable plan?

It’s a little more problematic when we are looking at a house that is currently for sale. We have to coordinate schedules with us, our realtor, the contractor, and the current resident of the house. I’m already sensing that contractors have slow response times. Also, the housing market moves fast so there isn’t really time for multiple formal designs and proposals.

 

4-5 bids is too many, unless you're seeing a wild swing in numbers.  Get 3, and if they're within 15-20% of each other, pick one.  If the estimates swing wildly between the 3, then sure, get another or two.  

Remember, the low bid isn't necessarily the best bid. 

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Just now, Gil Bang said:

4-5 bids is too many, unless you're seeing a wild swing in numbers.  Get 3, and if they're within 15-20% of each other, pick one.  If the estimates swing wildly between the 3, then sure, get another or two.  

Remember, the low bid isn't necessarily the best bid. 

Sometimes that low bid is a contractors attempt to buy the job.  Then they hit you with change orders

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10 minutes ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

Sometimes that low bid is a contractors attempt to buy the job.  Then they hit you with change orders

Which brings us back around to spending more on the front end on detailed drawings (inc. I.D. and material and fixture specs.) which helps nail the contractor down and gives him fewer change order opportunities.

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33 minutes ago, Gil Bang said:

Which brings us back around to spending more on the front end on detailed drawings (inc. I.D. and material and fixture specs.) which helps nail the contractor down and gives him fewer change order opportunities.

Yep, I love doing a full set of drawings, but the cost can be a bit steep for some folks.  When you're specifying everything that's a % of construction based fee for me, 4-7% depending on scope, complexity, and the size of the project.

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14 minutes ago, Dbeasy said:

Spending $100k plus on a remodel is a lot. I’m surprised you get that money back out on the sale later.

My average is $250-$400K, which is the classic kitchen, great room, master suite addition. I'm working on an addition now with a $1M price tag. And yes you will get your money back if you do the right things, and the bottom doesn't fall out.

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Spending $100k plus on a remodel is a lot. I’m surprised you get that money back out on the sale later.
I plan on doing the remodel for us, not for the next guy. Obviously resale is a plus, but I care more about having the house the way I want it.

Also, I agree that $100K is a lot. As you can see, many other people do not. The things I overhear at work are mind bottling.
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Met with a contractor at the house last night just to get a ballpark starting point. After doing another walk through, we've figured out the best option will be to add a master suite and convert the house from a 3/2 to a 4/3. This would minimize the need to tear down walls throughout the rest of the house, plus it will add square footage at a lower price point than the neighborhood currently sells for. We'd still also need to redo the entire kitchen. 

So current thought process is new master suite plus kitchen. Waiting on this contractor to get back with me within a week. This is just a starting point, so if we end up buying this house I will certainly heed the advice above about hiring an architect/designer and getting bids from ~3 contractors.

Thanks for the help so far.

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Met with a contractor at the house last night just to get a ballpark starting point. After doing another walk through, we've figured out the best option will be to add a master suite and convert the house from a 3/2 to a 4/3. This would minimize the need to tear down walls throughout the rest of the house, plus it will add square footage at a lower price point than the neighborhood currently sells for. We'd still also need to redo the entire kitchen. 
So current thought process is new master suite plus kitchen. Waiting on this contractor to get back with me within a week. This is just a starting point, so if we end up buying this house I will certainly heed the advice above about hiring an architect/designer and getting bids from ~3 contractors.
Thanks for the help so far.


Adding square footage and room count really adds value. Good idea.
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  • 1 year later...
2 hours ago, RexWilson said:

Bump.

Thinking about adding an addition to the house. Two story home but the addition would be a first floor build out. It will either be an office/bedroom.

Do I start with a getting quotes from a contractor or do I start with a designer?

Any recommendations for the Austin area?

Architect / home designer.   Need to know what you can do 

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This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^, start with a conceptual design: floor plans, an elevation, and maybe a 2 page outline spec, and then talk to contractors about budget, and time table.

Beyond that there are logistical, and down the road considerations to build into your thought process about the design, and dollar investment you intend to make.

Edited by Onboard 2.0
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