How Much Does it Cost to Remodel Per Square Foot

How much does it cost to remodel a home? I get this question almost everyday and the answer is:  It Depends.  If you are considering remodeling your home or adding a room addition, then I have a few questions:   How tall are the ceilings?  What kind of exterior finish are you going to use? (stucco, brick, rock, hardi plank)  What kind of flooring?  (carpet, ceramic tile, travertine, stained concrete)  Are you planning on adding a second story to a home?  If so, a floor joist flooring system may be needed and can cost about $4,500.  How much excavating will the contractor need to do and is there rock down below?  As you can see, there are many questions to be answered before I can accurately answer.  If you are looking for a quick and easy number to generate a ball park budget, then I would say to use $160 per square foot, although it can go even higher depending on a number of factors (roof type, is plumbing having to be relocated, type of appliances and fixtures, granite countertops or formica countertops, etc).  This would only apply to adding another room to your house and could not apply to kitchen and bathroom renovations.  There are many more variable when it comes to kitchen and bath remodels.  (brand of appliances, cabinets, countertops, fixtures, etc)  So let’s say you want to build a room addition.  You want to add a new living room and it measures out to be 20′-0″ x 20′-0″.  (400 square feet)  You would multiply the 400 square feet times $160 to give you a budget of $64,000 for your new home remodel.  Please keep in mind that this is VERY rough number and should not be relied on to begin construction without getting actual bids from contractors.  It is only meant to give you quick idea of a what the home remodel will cost and see if your budget fits your ideas.  Some areas of the country could be more or less expensive (depending on the complexity of the remodel and the material you choose).  Kitchen remodeling and bathroom remodeling are even trickier to estimate because a lot of times, we don’t know what lurks behind those walls until we start tearing into the sheetrock.  The electrical or plumbing could need to be replaced or there could be termites, rotted studs, and the list goes on.  If plumbing or sewer drains need to be moved, you have just added about 25-50% to your kitchen or bathroom remodeling budget.  A licensed electrician will need to look at your breaker box and determine if there is enough room to add new circuits to the existing panel.  If not, you will need to upgrade your panel to meet minimum code and allow your home to be able to handle the new electrical work for your new home remodel.  In San Antonio, this can cost about $1,800 just to upgrade the panel.  As you can see, there are many factors that come into play when determining the cost of remodeling a home in San Antonio.  This may be one of the biggest investments you make in your lifetime, so be sure you choose the right contractor for the job.  Do yourself a favor and DO NOT make this decision based on cost alone!!!  A contractor can submit a “low ball bid” just to win the job and then during the coarse of construction, submit a “change order” (extra work he has to charge for that wasn’t in his original bid).  Although, change orders are typical in the construction industry, this is also a way that contractors can recoup some of that money in the original “low ball bid.”  Go with your gut feeling after you have interviewed at least 3 contractors.  You must also do your own research about the contractors your are considering hiring.  Google the company and the owner to find out what has been said about them.  Talk to previous clients that the company has done work for.  Make sure the contractor has current insurance, is licensed with the city, is a member of the Better Business Bureau and make sure proper building permits are pulled.

Will I get my money back if I remodel?

Also, look at your home as an investment.  You may not be there in 5 years, so you want to be able to recoup the money you invest in your new home remodel.  Take a look at what you paid for your home.  Next see how much equity you have in your house.   Then figure out how much the new renovations are going to cost.  Do some quick math and you will see very quickly if you will be upside down (or owe more than the house is worth).  I strongly advise against being upside down in this market, because if you have to sell, you are going to lose money.  You always want to make sure you can get back the money you invest in your new home remodel.  Exactly how much you’ll recoup in costs depends on several factors, including the direction of the broader housing market, the value of the homes in your neighborhood (comps), when you plan to sell the home and the nature of the project itself. In some housing markets, you could, indeed, earn more than your investment back on a home remodeling project.


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