Compaq, Other/Just Looking in Newcastle, WA

Design/Build remodel costs in King County

Asked by Compaq, Newcastle, WA Wed Dec 30, 2009

We are weighing remodeling vs. buying in King County area of Seattle. My quotes for remodeling my existing 1960's rambler to expand the masterbedroom/bath and kids room is surprisingly high considering what I assumed the market would bear. Can someone tell me what construction costs per sq foot should be on average as a sanity check??? maybe I am looking at the wrong design build contractors?

Help the community by answering this question:


Karen Hunt’s answer
Hi Compaq,
If you've decided to go with remodeling rather than buying it's sometimes difficult to get an exact quote using price per square foot. A lot will depend on the grade of materials you will be using. Will you be getting your flooring, tiles, hardware from specialty shops where you have to order them or in stock at Home Depot? Are you expanding on your footprint? Also remember once walls are opened up, more problems are often found, i.e., pests, rotted wood or electrical or plumbing that need upgrading. All that adds to the original costs.
My husband is a contractor and it's often true that remodels cost more and take longer than originally thought. A lot of that is because of the changes homeowners make in the materials or scope of construction (and every little change, indecision, lack of clarityor mistake adds time and money) along with the unknowns that show up after the work is started.
Get several estimates and good luck! A lot of good contractors have taken a hit with the economy right now. It was in the Times last week that their workforce was one of the hardest hit.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 8, 2010
Dear Compaq,

My answer is general because there is a great range in construction costs from basic quality to luxury quality. The cost of remodeling is the same per square foot as the cost of new construction for the same quality per square foot. A nice quality remodel is around $200 per square foot.

Now, many people use the word "remodel" when they mean "update". Updating is an entirely different cost arena. I have worked with builders over the last 20 years and can recommend great remodelers for a variety of sizes of projects. Some remodelers only do small projects and others only do "large" projects.

I do have a Report I can send you on remodeling costs and what types of remodeling projects get you the most bang for your buck. Let me know if you would like that.

In general, expanding the master bedroom / bath is an area that will give you a good return. Also, adding square footage almost always give you a good return on your investment. You also have to factor in your location. In general, Newcastle should support a nice remodel.

Are you in an area where the surrounding value warrants the type of improvement you are making. Or, are you in an area where the land values are driving that properties be torn down and rebuilt. Your decision then is greatly influenced by your budget.

I would be happy to consult with you on what type of remodel would be wise for you to pursue based on your goals, the problems you want to solve, your location, and your budget.

Sometimes the best decision is to stay and remodel and other times the best decision is to move to a house that was designed to live the way you want to live. Often remodels look tacked on and that hurts resale. It is always a good idea to have an architect / designer involved. Some remodelers have designers on their staff and ohters outsource that function. The design function seems easy to cut, but, in the long run, it is foolish to eliminate that from your budget.

If you would like an overview of what homes in your area are selling for and what has been done to update or remodel them, you can set up your own free search at my website, .

No matter what, if you are going to remodel, do it professionally. I have seen far too many houses where the seller would have been better off doing nothing.

I am happy to answer any further questions you may have.

Warm Regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 2, 2010
I am in the corner of selling and buying in this environment. You will have selling costs, however you will have the money that you would spend on the improvements to assist in getting into your new home (assuming that you weren't financing the improvements). There's more to just saying sell/ buy. Looking into the numbers (financial analysis) could show you that you would love to move into that new home, with lower payments than you thought. Visit… to see what I mean. BTW, this analysis is good for other agents to look at also.

You might consider buying "Means Residential Repair and Remodeling Costs" The Contractors Pricing Guide. This is a great resource for your remodel. At least you are sorta armed when dealing with contractors.

Buying a short sale is also a worthy thought.

Best to you and Happy New Year. If I can be of assistance .....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
I have always found this yearly report to be of value:…
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Your situation is familiar to me. I've worked with several clients weighing the same choices. As someone who makes their living helping people buy and sell, I confess I may have a biased viewpoint on this subject, but most of the folks I have worked with have elected to sell and buy up.
There is no reliable $perSqFt construction number anyone here can supply you with. Garages are cheaper than baths, Kitchen more expensive then bedrooms. It really depends on what you are building and your choices of materials, finishes etc.
I would suggest you get 3 bids from established contractors. Once these are in hand, sit down with a competent Realtor who can pre-qualify you for what your home may sell for and what you may be able to buy that meets your family’s needs. Gather the information and decide what best fits your goals.
There are some good buys out there and rates are still great. Chances are good you may be able to upgrade through selling and buying and not have to live through the hassle of a remodel project.
Let me know if I can help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
I'm not sure why you think construction costs have gone down?
It's definitely a good idea to get a couple of bids, at least.
If it were me, I'd buy something else instead. There are such amazing deals on real estate right now where you can benefit from someone else's remodel that I'm sure they'll be selling at a loss. (which you usually don't recoup the full cost of anyway)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer