Photo by Carol Mitchell

Update: With the economic downturn and slump in the housing market, many people are now choosing to hold on to their homes and carry out any remodeling projects themselves instead of moving. Uncertainty about the future of the housing market has made people think twice about selling their houses. People are also being extra cautious with their money so calculating exactly how much a project will cost is essential. One great way to do this is with the Remodel Or Move Calculator. If you just want to remodel a kitchen or remodel a bathroom or some other specific project consider trying one of the cost calculators at

The decisions you make on how a remodel project is managed, who will do the work, the design of the changes and the price of the materials and fixtures you choose will have a significant effect on the cost of your remodel. If you choose to hire someone to manage the entire project and you decide to pay to be the least inconvenienced during the project, then you can easily spend four times as much as a homeowner who gets a little dirty, tolerates some inconveniences that are a part of a remodeling project, and does some of the work.

There are several ways to get an estimate for the cost of a remodel project:

Cost per square foot

This is the most common way to do a quick estimate. It simply assigns a cost per square foot of area that will be remodeled. To calculate your own estimate, determine the square footage of the area that will be built new or that will be substantially changed and multiple that by a cost of $100 to $700 per square foot.

For example, if you want to add a 150-square-foot bedroom at the end of a hall by building an addition into the backyard and substantially remodel an existing 150-square-foot bedroom and a 50-square-foot bathroom, the total area would be 350 (150+150+50) square feet. Then take 350 and multiply it by the range of possible costs per square foot, $100 to $700, and you get an estimate for this remodel of between $35,000 and $245,000.

You can quickly see that this estimate has little value since the range of potential costs is so great. While $700 per square foot is unusual and it is unlikely you could spend that, $100 per square foot is unrealistically low unless you make great efforts to minimize the cost.

The Remodel Or Move Calculator gives a more accurate estimate by considering information about the rooms that will be remodeled, the level of finish that you want, and how you will manage the project.

Estimate from a contractor or an architect

With a general idea of the rooms that you want to remodel as noted above, you should be able to get an estimate of cost from a contractor or an architect. They will likely use a cost per square foot to calculate an estimate, but they will not use a range as broad as $100 to $700. Instead, these professionals should estimate using an average that is based on their experience from similar projects in the area where you live and your requirements on the type and quality of materials to be used.

To ensure the quote from the contractor is accurate you need to give the complete information about your project. And when you get the quote you need to compare it to other quotes from other contractors. To make these tasks easier and your whole remodeling project run smoother you should invest in a good organizer like The Complete Remodeling Workbook and Organizer.

While this estimate will be much more accurate than an estimate strictly based on the square footage, you will not have the ability to change your preferences and get a new estimate very easily from a contractor or architect. They are either being paid by you to give an estimate (in the case of an architect) or are investing their time to provide you an estimate in hopes that you will select them to do the work (in the case of a contractor).

The Remodel Or Move Calculator uses the same types of information as an architect or contractor would, and because it is fully automated, it allows you to create estimates for different combinations of materials and room changes for free.