"WHILE WE ARE THERE..."
I would give myself a 20% cushion, maybe 30%, just for contingencies, particularly with framing and
substrate preparation. That's $15,000 minimum.
If your goal is $75,000 max, then follow Hank's advice and get a backward plan in place.
The idea of a stretch will be quite disappointing if you have a house up for resale in a few years, and the buyers who might buy it are saying to themselves, "well, we MUST CHANGE THIS or THAT..."
Do it right the first time, be among the successful.
I might suggest a little backward planning - have your ideas professionally drawn up by a draftsman. They can work up a rough idea on materials, you can then give that to a competent contractor and they can work up an estimate. I would also strongly recommend the finished project be appraised (even by a competent agent) to see where you can expect to fall value-wise once the work is done.
Hope this helps -
David Brower, Assistant Manager/Realtor
Fortunately you can stretch a $75,000 remodel a little farther now than you could a few years ago. Because of the slow down in housing, most contractors are hungry for work. In terms of using a design/build firm, see if you can get some free consults to educate yourself a little and if you feel comfortable with one, get references and examples of what they've done. Drive by them for yourself if you'd like to be extra diligent.
Be sure to use a licensed and insured contractor(s) and be aware of the new Georgia law requiring a licensed contractor for work exceeding $2,500. And be aware that some permitting may be required.
Lastly, get at lease three estimates and bank on your final cost being a bit more than what you expected. There are ALWAYS surprises.
I'm sure others will have other helpful information to add.
Hope this helps.