How much does a remodel cost, anyway?

LiesekitchenIn my 17 years writing about remodels, I’ve been fairly insistent on one issue: The cost of the remodel must be revealed.

After all, what value is a feature on a lovely kitchen remodel if you don’t know whether it cost $20,000 or $120,000? Why should I pour carbon into the environment to travel out to a house and see a masterpiece if the beneficiary of all this research — the readers — will not be able to determine if they could afford such a project?

So it’s kind of cool for me to study the new 2007 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine (disclosure: I occasionally write articles for this magazine), which brings together a whole bunch of numbers on remodels.

The value of this report is ostensibly to determine how much payback you will get for a certain project in a certain part of the country.

But as the payback data is based on responses from only 2,700 members of the National Association of Realtors (out of 100,000 members queried), and with those responses covering the whole country, that’s not a lot of data to process, especially in a fluctuating sales market.

What’s more useful for me is the cost side of the equation, where the data is collected by HomeTech, a software estimating company that produces cost estimating data for remodeling contractors.

So the Cost vs. Value Report is where you could get answers to the question I get often: How much does a remodel cost?

Here’s what the report says about the cost of remodels in the Los Angeles area (with descriptions offered for the exact scope of each project):

Minor kitchen remodel: $22,698
Major kitchen remodel: $117,254
Bathroom addition: $43,884
Upscale bathroom addition: $83,573
Bathroom remodel: $18,112
Upscale bathroom remodel: $56,822

Of course, these cost estimates assume the project will be done by a remodeling contractor, so if you plan to do the work yourself, or contract it yourself, your numbers will be lower.

See the whole list

(Photo: Liese and David’s kitchen in Los Angeles, which cost less than $30,000 to remodel but took 18 months to complete with their own hands on weekends and evenings. See their cost breakdown.)