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Old 11-01-2011, 04:36 PM
Location: The Triad (NC)
22,426 posts, read 48,173,365 times
Reputation: 21496


Originally Posted by QueensKid View Post

I'm shopping for a house...stuck between two markets.
One is the "minimal work required" market where homes are going for $375-$450 K; the other is the "needs a lot of work" market where homes are going for $275-$350 K.

With that in mind, I'd like to generally know how much it costs to update certain parts of the house. Here's what I'd have to do:
A general rule of thumb is that the person asking these sorts of questions should probably just pony up the bucks, take it in one hit, be done and go play golf or something whereas the person who answers these questions will probably use that knowledge to work their offer price even lower to allow for the inevitable gotchas and over runs the brief list doesn't detail.

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Old 11-01-2011, 05:58 PM
30 posts, read 52,987 times
Reputation: 19
Queens kid,
My advice is to buy it already done, I am very familiar with the contracting business. 50k will be gone in a flash, bay windows, with trim and finished paint may run you 6-8k on that alone. Kitchen are very expensive and the costs get out of hand in a hurry 25-minimum, Basement 20-30k with no bathroom, or additional entry door. the reputation of your contractor is above all else the most important part of your renovation, licensed, stable, customer service, living in a renovation really takes a toll on your family.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:07 PM
Location: Nesconset, NY
2,188 posts, read 2,814,415 times
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Originally Posted by QueensKid View Post
Thanks for the response.

I'm looking at a renovation budget of around $50 K though. Is that enough? Obviously, the bay windows aren't a must, but I would have to put in new windows throughout, and I would like nice, bigger windows in the front.

And the granite countertops aren't a must either... just something nice and above the basic.

I want "nice," not "impressive" or "luxury," if you catch my drift.
I think I understand. There are many ways you could do a reno that wouldn't be anywhere near the types of estimates you would get from others. When I work with clients the first thing I gauge is the extent they want to put time into creating a project that reflects their particular personalities and values or whether they just want to follow the crowd and do what is quick, easy, and popular (but more expensive and generic).

For example, we priced a complete Home Depot/Lowe's Kraft-Maid kitchen to get a ballpark figure of $20,000.

Home Depot's 'best' to 'cheapest' is arguably:
1) Decora, 2) Thomasville, 3) Kraft-Maid, 4) American Woodmark

For Lowe's it's probably:
1) Schuler, 2) Shenandoah, 3) Kraft-Maid, 4) Kitchen Classics (I'm not sure where Diamond Reflections would fit)

We want the more expensive Crownpoint (same set-up would be $32,000) and made some design decisions to get the storage we needed and the Crownpoint we want.

By replacing 4'0" of base and wall cabinets with a vintage china cabinet (for 10% the cost of 4' of KraftMaid cabinets) and getting a matching base and wall cabinet and a range hood in the style that works for us at Habitat's ReStore (for about 1% of cabinets'/hood's cost) we can now finish the rest of the kitchen with Crownpoint (6' of base cabinets and 9' of wall) and still have spent less than $9,000 total.

This lets our budget afford a 1950 Chambers 61C gas stove ($400 thru Craig's LIst + $1,200 for reconditioning & delivery).

My point is, if you're willing to shop around, be flexible in design, and creative you can get a very nice reno that reflects the character of your personality and taste without costing as much as a typical, generic reno.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:29 PM
Location: Nesconset, NY
2,188 posts, read 2,814,415 times
Reputation: 2041
[quote=QueensKid;21518075]Hi Folks -

...With that in mind, I'd like to generally know how much it costs to update certain parts of the house. Here's what I'd have to do:

1. Convert from oil to gas. The tank is above ground in the basement.

2. Install two bay windows in the front of the house (it's a Cape; I'd like one window on each side of the front door).

3. Completely redo the kitchen (new appliances, granite counter-tops, new flooring).

4. Finish the basement (looks like a dungeon right now; I'd want carpeting, a ceiling, etc)....QUOTE]

You can cut down the cost of the windows by around 30-50% by:
1) not getting a single unit but framing each window seperately,
2) no grilles (muntins),
3) no integrated, permanent screens
4) getting double hung instead of casement
5) getting windows that don't meet emergency egress dimensions (not req'd except in bedrooms)
6) some retailers charge less for all wood windows vs. alum. clad wood (even though all wood dries better than alum.clad and won't warp in direct sun like vinyl)

Carpet in the basement? It's that dry? You're so fortunate! An easy, inexpensive basement ceiling could be 4'x8' sheets of fake wainscotting paneling cut and hung between existing floor joists which will give it a rustic/country look without bringing the ceiling height lower.
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