Cost to remodel vs. cost recouped

We know many of you have wondered, “Should I remodel my kitchen or bathroom?”, and whether your costs will be recouped. It’s a tricky equation to master, but if you’re going to do it, you might as well check the numbers:


Cost Vs. Value Report [RemodelingOnline]

5 thoughts on “Cost to remodel vs. cost recouped

  1. I disagree with the concept/table. if we are talking ONLY about san francisco, the talk gets down to building permits.

    the more complicated it is to get a permit, the greater ROI.

    exemple: deck addition $12K. So what? is it even POSSIBLE to add a deck?

    same goes for basement space. spend 30K creating a bathroom and a bedroom. get 80-90% back.

    spend the same 30K creating a LEGAL bathroom and a legal bedroom. and you get maybe 200% back (if not more).

    (garage addition is rather funny too. Like anybody has a full acre in SF to just “add a garage”, next to the house. In 2000, it was a “200K-add-a-garage” and the price didnt go down. And the properties without garage yet are increasily hard to add a garage too. Think digging ROCK, shoring 3 neighbors properties etc)

    When properties were flying of the shelf, people would be happy buying anything. Are buyers starting now to actually appreciate (or ignore) remodels that are important (or cosmetic)? On this blog – readers obviously do and are more and more critical

    As said by my plumber “Who cares about a bathroom in a high end house? within 6months of the sale, I have to rip it off to create a new one to the taste of the new owner”. (he estimated it’s about 80% of his business) (let’s be grateful to smart plumbers and contractors who recycle those never used items to Habitat and such)

    My last word. Should you remodel your kitchen or your bath? first and foremost, you should do it for you, for your own benefit and pleasure while you live in the house. Then, whatever you do, please respect your house. Steroids and Botox dont work well in san francisco. Smart space saving/gaining, style-correct, on the green side and energy efficient will always be a winner in this city. And the opposite is generally true as well.

  2. So true. The cost vs. value report are averages which are interesting to read about but of little value for individual homeowners. – the 2 most important questions you have to ask when thinking about remodeling are.

    1. why are you remodeling? Is it stricly to make a financial gain? Or is it strictly to make your home a more liveable place for you. For most homeowners it is a combination – so the best advice for most homeowners that are interested in accomplishing both is to make improvements that you will enjoy and that are reasonable in size and scope for your home and your neighborhood

    2. have you done your homework? Too many homeowners dream about a remodel then talk to an architect and then get started without doing their homework. Your homework should include calling in an interior designer to discuss your goals, going online to get a rough cost estimate at a site like , contacting a real estate agent to give you an idea of the amount your home will appreciate if you proceed with your plan. For many buying an organizer like the one at is a great first step to help manage the remodeling process.

    Good luck.

  3. one more anecdote on the subject.

    “Someone” had a beautiful stunning little house. And after visiting the contractors flips around the neighborhood, they wanted to work on their house to.

    So comes the architect – who billed many hours to present a full remodel project and a price tag of $2M. (the price tag being just about the total resale value of the house once finished – so a financial no-no project)

    The result of that stupid architect’s stupid study is that they sold the house to move somewhere else.

    However, their dearest and most needed and most rewarding project was only a simple 100K modification of their house. Throw an additional 100K and they could have add nearly half of the features they were looking after. Maybe not in the style of a to-the-stub-contractor-remodel, but it would still have fitted their needs and their lifestyle.

    Talking to an architect is cool, expensive and visionary. But maybe you can also take the same time to talk to a contractor and go around your house. It’ll give you some practical ideas. And some are super smart.

    And back to code. Remember that everything you touch MUST be upgraded to code. So a little kitchen cabinet move can lead to the rewiring of the whole kitchen, etc etc. So make sure you have some CLEAR limits of what you don’t want to happen, the walls you don’t want to touch, and stick to them. The worse stories start with “while you’re at it, it would be easy and quick to ALSO …”

  4. Honestly, in this town in most neighborhoods, developing that attic space or grabbing that bit of extra garage space for a family room is worth way more than this chart shows. I have made a career out of it.

  5. The other thing that has to be considered here is the “map” that references “San Francisco”. It also includes the “depressed” areas of the East Bay region including Antioch! If only they focused on the City proper.

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