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  • Chris D'Ambra

Okay, the big question...How much will all of this cost?

I'm sure every homeowner wants to remodel their home in some fashion. The question is always cost. After all, this isn't like going to Costco or your local car dealership and buying a product off the shelf. If it were that easy, everyone would be doing this.

Everything in this business centers around 'cost per square foot.' It's the reason you see so many speculative - 'specs' - tear down new custom homes being built all around town. If you can buy an old existing home for say, $600 per sqft, and by strict adherence to budget build a new home there for $400 or less (when it comes to 'custom' homes, the 'less' part rules if you look closely at the workmanship many times), you can make a pretty good business of that since most of the higher end areas like Newport and parts of Huntington Beach are selling for upwards of $1100 to $1200 per foot. That's the simple math.

But when it comes to remodeling, that's a different game altogether. Now we're getting into surgery - surgery on your home. A general rule is that $300ish per foot is where you should land. However, when you start adding in things like bathrooms - especially multiple baths - and kitchens, well, now we're talking about $350 to $450. Most kitchen remodels we do these day are far more complex than room additions because you have every trade combining to build it. You have demo, electricians, plumbers, cabinet makers, drywallers, tile guys, granite guys, painters, finishers, appliance installers, and on and on. No one works for free. A typical kitchen these days runs anywhere from $40k to $65k, and that assumes no room addition as part of it.

Once you have a realistic idea of what you'll most likely be spending, the next question becomes who are you going to have do the work. If you go out and get three or more bids, you're always going to find someone out there cheaper than the next guy. It will never end if that's your goal. But trust me, peace of mind when it comes to the demolition and then rebuilding of your home comes at a high price. When you're half way torn apart and that cheap quote contractor you hired then hits you up with those 'unforeseen' expenses when you're most vulnerable, how 'cheap' was he? The phrase 'the cheapest contractor will usually end up costing the most' is the mantra in our world.

So, the bottom line will always be that it will cost what it will cost in the end. We haven't been in business with thousands of very satisfied clients over the last 50+ years by pricing ourselves out of business.


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