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Each of the cost categories below will be explained briefly so that you can make the decision on how you are most likely to proceed. You will need to note how many of the projects you would like to do and how many you want to hire out in order to complete the Remodel or Move Calculator. Specifically, you will need to decide if you want to hire a designer or do the design yourself, if you want to hire a general contractor or manage the project yourself, and if you want to do some of the construction work.

Living room and dining room in neutral colors cost to remodel

Photo by Home Estaging

The following is a list of the primary tasks required in medium to large remodel projects. To estimate the cost of your remodel project and to determine if you want to remodel at all, it is helpful to understand these terms, how they impact the remodeling process and if there are any that you would want to take on and do yourself.

  • Project management
  • Design (architecture and engineering if necessary)
  • Permits (issued by the city or county after approval of the project)
  • Site Preparation and Demolition
  • Foundation work (usually poured concrete walls or slab)
  • Framing (the structure for the floor, walls, ceiling and roof)
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Heating and cooling
  • Interior and exterior surfaces (sheet rock inside, siding, and shingles)
  • Finish flooring (hardwood, carpet, tile)
  • Doors and windows
  • Cabinets, fixtures, appliances
  • Finish work (trim, baseboards, painting)
  • Your first open house party (drinks, food, entertainment)


Project Management
Project management is the role of coordinating the different phases of the project. All work could be done by a single person, which makes project management easier, but more likely it will take a variety of different skilled craftsman. If different people are needed to complete the project, one person needs to coordinate when they come and go, answer questions that arise on the job, and generally make sure things are done right. The project manager also ensures that all the permits are secured, that inspections by the city and county are arranged, and so on. The key to successful project management is organization. If you hire a general contractor or will do your own project management a tool to help you along the way is a must. The Complete Remodeling Workbook and Organizer will help you do just that.

There are three different options for you to decide on for project management:

  • Hire a general contractor
  • Manage the project yourself
  • Hire a few based project manager

Design

Once you have decided if you will manage the remodel project yourself or hire a general contractor, you now have to decide how to design the project. In order to obtain the permits from your local government and ensure that the remodel is completed to meet your needs, you will need a good set of design drawings. These can be as simple as sketches on notebook paper with dimensions and notes on materials for the simplest projects, like installing new fixtures in a bathroom, finishing a basement or installing new windows. Detailed design drawings with full engineering calculations can require 10-to-20 large complex drawings.

Remodel Payback

Don’t assume all additions are the same when it comes to resale value. It is important to realize that the addition is for your benefit, but one day, your home will be sold to someone else, so making your remodel and additions suitable for a wide range of potential owners will bring you both the ease of a quick sale and the highest resale value. I always like to look at new tract homes selling in the area to understand what design features are currently popular. While you shouldn’t take new tract homes as the height of architectural design, they do show you what the leading homebuilders in the country consider the most sellable features. Incorporating some of the features of these homes in your remodel design will help you achieve a home design that both makes you happy and has the widest appeal for other home buyers.

Permits

Once you have your design completed, it’s time to get your permits. You can visit the planning and development office or have your contractor do it for you as part of the service. This process varies widely depending on location and is run by your city or county government. You should call the planning office and describe your project to find out if you need a permit.

Site preparation is very important for larger remodeling projects to protect the portions of your home and yard that are not suppose to be effected. Equipment and materials will be hauled in and out of your house so make sure you have agreement with your general or sub contractors when and where this can occur. Also make sure that you or someone you hire builds barricades around landscaping that you want to protect.

Foundation Work

Changes or construction of a new foundation will likely be required if your remodel plans call for the addition of rooms outside the current floor plan of the house. If your remodel plans involve new cabinets, flooring, etc. in current rooms then your project may not require any foundation work.

Framing

Framing is required when walls, ceiling or roofs will be added or moved. If you are remodeling existing bathrooms or kitchen then there will be minimal framing work. If you are adding an addition then framing will be a big part of the project cost.

Electrical

Electrical work is required in most remodels. It can be as simple as changing a light fixture to as complicated as the addition of circuits to the main electrical panels.

Plumbing

If your remodeling plans include changes or additions to your bathroom or kitchen then some plumbing work may be required.

Heating and cooling

Adding or moving heating or cooling ducts is often part of a remodel project.

Interior and Exterior Surfaces

Most remodeling projects require installation of sheet rock on the inside walls and possibly installation of siding or other material on the outside walls.

Finish Work and Fixtures

The cost of the finish work and fixtures can vary a huge amount depending on the quality and type of products that you select. Kitchen cabinets can range from a few thousand dollars for low end white prefabricated ones to tens of thousands of dollars for custom built hardwood cabinets with complex trim and all the options. Likewise the appliances in the kitchen can range from hundreds of dollars a piece to thousands of dollars depending on the manufacturer, the design or the style. The variation in costs continues for the windows, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, doors, baseboard, and all the other finish work.