Get Real: How Much Will That Renovation Cost?

Get Real: How Much Wiil That Renovation Cost?

Are you thinking about jumping into a major renovation but don’t have a clue how much it will cost? Been there. Done that. Cried a lot afterward. Here are a few guidelines for what you can expect to pay for your home renovation, from the ever fabulous Sweeten blog.

“This week, we connected with Sweeten Experts Chip and Mike for a nuanced look at the construction costs involved in a full home renovation. After glancing at a photo of work underway at a  project, Chip made an off-hand comment that struck us as interesting. “That is solid $400 per square foot work,” he said. That is what…? How did you…!?

Intrigued by how Chip could distill such a key piece of information from a momentary glance, we asked him to help us understand the basic elements and variables of construction costs per square foot for homeowners undertaking a full home renovation.

Where should homeowners start when estimating construction costs per square foot for a full home renovation?

First, we need to understand the scope of the work. Is this a gut renovation, a renovation, or a la carte work?

Homeowners often confuse “gut renovations” and “renovations.” A gut renovation means that all interior walls come down. A renovation means that you are re-doing the space within existing walls, which is most common in NYC. It’s important to understand that difference because you can make costly mistakes if you aren’t planning for the right scenario.

Next, you need to plan for the material costs and labor costs. These can be fairly evenly split: almost half the cost of a renovation typically comes from the materials used in the finishes: tile, stone, millwork, paint, lighting fixtures, metal, glass, electronics, etc.

Got it. So if material costs and labor costs can be somewhat evenly split, that must mean that there is wide variation in the cost of labor, just like there is wide variation in the cost of materials that a homeowner might choose. How does that work?

Labor costs can vary significantly. We look at a scale that runs from AAA to C to classify categories of labor specialization. AAA, or “triple-mint,” is considered the highest quality and most labor-intensive work because every surface is new and finished. With AAA work, fixtures and finishes are “exotic,” meaning custom-made, and no mainstream products are used. In NYC, this kind of work can cost $500 to $2,000 per square foot. “

 Read more at Sweeten blog  

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