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« Two More Extreme Makeover Home Edition Homes in Trouble | Main | Save Money by Getting Rainchecks for Items You Don't Need at the Moment »

July 30, 2008


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Wow - some of those average costs seem high. We spent under $3,000 on our roof last summer - granted it's a smaller home but still.

$59K for a bathroom remodel? That must be one really nice throne.

I just wanted to LOL and agree with Kevin on the bathroom remodel. Holy crap. What are they doing, covering a 300 sq/ft bathroom in marble and gold? We've looked at redoing our bathroom, which is nothing too fancy, but we can strip it out to the studs and replace everything for between $7-10k using pretty standard items.

I've seen a complete gutting of a full bath for 5k, I turned my attic into a bedroom (granted, I did the work myself and this obviously saved) for under $500. These costs are absurd.

The previous owner of my house was a landscaper. The yard was immaculate.

I am not a landscaper and let's just say my yard is not immaculate

After 10 years of living in my house, we've decided to move, but the yard is a veritable jungle ((my wife complained about the grass in the back yard being taller then her. She's average height). This will turn off a lot of potential buyers.

A friend of my wife is currently unemployed and offered to clean up the yard. He's been slowly working his way around and I am just stunned by how amazing it looks in comparison to before. It's both a testament to the work he's doing and the lack of work I did.

I can fully understand a 100% ROI for yard work.


I agree that something is seriously wrong with that bathroom remodel price. We completely overhauled our master bath a few years ago and even though it was a pretty complicated and high-end job we didn't even break $40,000.

In the kitchen, I think you can save a ton of money and still come out with substantial upgrades by refacing or re-painting/staining existing cabinets, AND replacing the drawers with high end dovetail-jointed ones with new hardware. Add some moudling features and a couple of extra cabinets over the refrigerator, or at the end of the counter, and it shouldnt set you back more than $5000.

Quartz countertops are worth the money, and along with granite, are priced widely based on color pattern and availability. You can even buy remnants for half off.

Yeah I agree some of those prices seem way off. The bathroom price is very high.

The item for replacing a window at $325 could be a little misleading. You wouldn't want to replace just one window. You'd want to replace them all. So its going to run you more like $325 x # of windows in the house.

I would assume that things like a coat of interior and/or exterior paint or new carpets or flooring might be good return on investment too.


I'm guessing these $20-40k estimates for bathroom and kitchen remodels must be coming from people watching these ridiculous home improvement shows on cable. I guess you could spend that much cash if you took a standard bathroom and upgraded with exotic stone tiles and super expensive showerd and whirlpool tubs. For a normal person, I'd think a couple thou is all you'd need to get your room in good shape to sell.

60K for a bathroom remodel? No way. Not unless you are bringing in some seriously exotic materials and paying through the nose for labor. Only a sucker would pay that much.

We did the bathrooms in our house through family. Nothing too fancy, but done right. Full gut with tile, had cabinets built, etc. Did cost more than I wanted at approx. 15k a piece. Before getting it done I was thinking 5k per bathroom.

$20k shingle replacement is about right for a newer house (3000 sq. ft.) with a high-slope roof, including replacing the felt with thick felt and using high-end shingles.

The roofing cost is way off. I just had mine done 2 months ago for $5k. That was for a 2800 ft2 house with the fancy felt and 30 yr architectural 3d shingles plus gutters and a couple of whirly vents.

HA! I am glad I took your advice and purchased the Wall Street Journals "Complete Real Estate Investing Guidebook" by David Crook.

First Chapter- Your Home is Not an Investment Property
pg. 14

"Home owners rarely consider maintenance or the declining value of improvements. Painting, roof repairs or new furnaces don’t pay for themselves, and remodeling is a huge loser. Entire industries have arisen to entice homeowners to spend thousands of dollars for new kitchen cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances or his-and-hers master suite bathroom spas featuring multi-head showers and Asian inspired “soaking” tubs. Architects, builders, magazine editors and real-estate agents tout such improvements as if typical homeowners absolutely must take the remodeling plunge or forever risk the value of the house and suffer the ridicule of friends and neighbors.
Remodeling magazine publishes a widely quoted annual survey of the value of home improvements. In 2005, the magazine said that an upscale kitchen remodel like you see in the glossy shelter magazines would cost $82,000 and would return just 84% four years later. Absurd. This kind of project might get raes from your friends, but it’s a fool’s financial play. A new kitchen is certainly a nice thing to have, but it’s not an investment that’s going to make you any money. That 84% return means the homeowner will lose more than $3,000 a year on the kitchen. And if the owner borrows the money to remodel the kitchen – which most do – the losses could quickly triple."

Creek... creek... creek Know what that is. Its the sound of the BALONEY flag being raised.

I will be replacing my roof next weekend (with my father in law) for $1,500. According to this article, this would be an incredible investment. If I can recoup 67% of $18,000, my $1,500 investment would be worth $12,000, for over an 800% return! This shows you what a little elbow grease on do it yourself projects is worth. Find some friends or relatives to help and learn how to do something on your own. Not only will you gain skills that may come in handy if you lose your day job, but you'll recoup more than your original expense.

"Landscaping gives a 100% payback. Good to know. This might be something we think about as we decide to sell our house."
Not doing anything also gives 100% payback =0)

Wow - the bathroom remodel is really expensive - I agree! Yeah, the TLC shows about flipping houses has skewed remodeling concepts up a bit. You don't have to have travertine floors and European Spa Showerheads or 3-tiered mini-swimming pool jacuzzi's in the remodel. ;-)

But also - adding up those total estimates there. Are they really trying to suggest you can do this type of remodel and expect to recoup the expenses?? I don't think it is realistic at all.

I mean, if you followed the example, you would be turning a $200,000 house into a $360,000 house. Bet the neighborhood comps wouldn't support it!

Very unrealistic.

I find it amusing how when talking about remodeling a house, a 20% loss is referred to as having an 80% payback. Not, it is a 20% loss. If you are willing to spend that so that you can enjoy whatever you are doing, fine. But it is not an investment, it is a cost.

The link seems to have been updated: the average bathroom remodel now says $15,789

I always wonder about these "payback" comparisons: they seem to all assume that prior to remodel, the bathroom/roof/siding are still functional.

But in most cases (especially roof, siding, even bathrooms), people make these improvements only when they absolutely have to. Who replaces their siding unless it is literally close to falling off? And who would replace their roof unless it was damaged/leaking?

Similarly, I bet that most people remodel their bathroom only when the tile is falling off the wall, the sink/counter are stained, the fuses keep blowing when they dry their hair, and/or the plumbing leaks.

Can't sell a house in bad repair. So the "payback" should be far higher in reality.

Our wood siding is in pretty poor condition, though it isn't falling off -- woodpecker damage, and it should have been painted years ago. Our house is nearly 40 years old with the original siding. When we tried to refinance this year, we were told we needed to repair our siding, replace our garage door (we aren't quite sure why the inspector felt it was going to fail soon, but they did) and repair our deck. My husband and I are both not capable in the DIY category as far as home-improvement goes. I'm just out-and-out incompetent, and my husband has been working on the deck and the siding for years, including redoing some of his original work. This is an example of "a stitch in time saves nine," I guess (plus "pay for quality wood when you rebuild your deck"), and yes, I wish my husband had finished the work years ago (or at least allowed me to pay someone to paint the house), but there you have it. We are going to pay (with cash) for a new garage door and borrow on a home equity loan to put on maintenance-free siding. I hate the borrowing, but the work needed to be done yesterday. I guess we are going to keep limping along on the deck.

I recently replaced the roof, added a deck, remodeled the kitchen, new siding, added a bath, new drywall and paint, new hardwood flooring. The whole ordeal was less than $30K. I'm not looking to sell, but I would ask for $30-40K more now that these updates have been done. I got my house super-cheap because it needed the updates.

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