Q: I am interested in doing a major remodel of my Seattle home. How can I get an idea of how much it will cost?
A: Budgeting is a big part of planning a remodel. Unfortunately, finding accurate pricing information for typical home-remodel projects can be a challenge.
Looking at prices across the country doesn’t help because building costs vary greatly by region — you can expect to pay more for a new kitchen in Seattle than your friend in Wyoming paid.
Home-renovation TV shows aren’t much help either because they severely underestimate costs. Project scope and materials make a big difference. Basic facelifts with off-the-shelf materials cost a lot less than major redesigns with luxe tile and fixtures.
Your final cost is also affected by who does the work: DIY might be the cheapest option, whereas a well-established, service-oriented remodeling company will cost more. If you’re willing to accept the risks, a handyman will often fall somewhere in the middle of the cost spectrum, although you may not get a fixed bid or a detailed schedule upfront.
Even in 2019, when nearly every bit of information you’re looking for is just a few clicks away, most remodelers still don’t disclose their pricing, although some companies are starting to change that. One resource to help homeowners estimate real-world project costs in Seattle is the annual Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, which is based on building-cost data. The report confirms what you might have read in the news: The rising cost of labor and materials is continuing to drive up the cost of construction in Seattle and nationwide.
The report lists two price ranges: “upscale” and “midrange.” We’ll discuss pricing for upscale projects here, because I’ve found that they’re what homeowners have come to expect and what most of them opt for. For most people, it wouldn’t make sense to save a few dollars by going with midrange plastic laminate countertops when upscale stone countertops are so much more enjoyable to use and add to your home’s resale value.
Let’s take a look at the cost and resale data for three of the most popular upscale remodeling projects in Seattle.
According to the report, a bathroom remodel with features such as a tile floor, double vanity and freestanding tub will require an average investment of $74,198 in Seattle. Of this, you can expect to get back $58,593, or 79% of the investment, when you sell your home. Because upscale bathroom remodels retain so much of their value — and because people simply love a luxurious bath experience — this a very popular project.
A 200-square-foot major kitchen remodel in Seattle averages $145,658 and includes such features as stone countertops, tile backsplash, white cabinets, undermount sink, undercabinet lights and a wall oven. Real estate agents interviewed for the report estimated that you will get back $107,381 (or 73.7%) at resale.
Building a main-floor addition can be a more cost-effective option than adding a second story. The report estimates a new master-suite addition in Seattle, built at ground level and including such features as a gas fireplace, walk-in closet and higher-end bathroom, will run $304,522. The project is expected to return $205,741 (or 67.6%) at resale time.
The costs listed here are just local averages; your actual project cost will be driven by the finishes and layout you choose, the existing condition of your home and other factors that are unique to you.
Teri McDermott is owner and operations manager of CRD Design Build and is a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS), and HomeWork is the organization’s weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBAKS’s nearly 2,800 members, write to email@example.com.