Buying a fixer upper - Is there a good online remodeling cost calculator?

Asked by Scouter, Seattle, WA Mon Nov 21, 2011

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Web reference:


Simon, Home Owner, 02445
Thu May 1, 2014
You can try this handy remodel calculator
They have a calculator for almost any type of renovations around the house
12 votes
Don't use this.. it's a lead generator for contractors. I filled it in and my phone blew up from salesmen!
Flag Tue Jun 28, 2016
It makes sense to buy fixer upper if you can at least do the work yourself. Once you can do that and sell with profit, then you can look for contractors. But you need to know what you are doing FIRST
Flag Thu Aug 27, 2015
i was considering to buy a fixer upper and did not know how much repairs would cost - this remodel calculator told me that It would cost me $45k more to fix the house than to buy same in great condition ... very useful!
Flag Wed Jul 29, 2015
Agree, they have general purpose and trade specific calculators. very useful
Flag Tue Dec 30, 2014
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Tue Nov 22, 2011

Leah's resource is one worthy of taking a look at....we have used it frequently and it has helped many people by establishing basic plans before becoming involved with a contractor. Another benefit of this source is that it provides a good basis for establishing the return value on your repair investment. This can serve as a good tool for prioritorizing projects.

Ron's point about being careful about not over simplifying remodeling expenses is one to keep in mind. Remember that any "cost calculator" is a very basic resource with a variable that should be considered.

Good luck,

2 votes
Leah Pham, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Nov 21, 2011
Just to be clear... the Cost vs Value report is AREA SPECIFIC... click the map to narrow down to your area.

There will be major differences in costs based on products and materials chosen, and whether or not you are capable of doing some of the repairs yourself. Then be sure to add in the cost for permits. Good luck!
Web Reference:
2 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Mon Nov 21, 2011
I have done a lot of remodeling over the years;
I would not trust any body or anything that purported to simplify it.

If you are looking for a guideline; just take the BIG ticket items, like roof, HVAC, exterior/interior paint, remodel kitchen, and add those up.

If you are looking for accuracy; get a pro to work up an estimate.
Like everything; do it right, or don't do it.

Good luck and may God bless
2 votes
Karen Mcknig…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Sun Nov 27, 2011
Hi Scouter,

Just to add a little to the comments you already received, remodeling costs vary hugely depending on the condition and age of the property.

There is a difference between remodeling and updating, and many people confuse the two in their language. Remodeling really means changing the structure and doing work that usually requires a permit. Updating is simply adding new paint, cabinets, appliances - that kind of work.

If you are truly doing remodeling, it runs about the same as new construction, which is $180 to $200 per square foot. In remodeling, there is often a demolition cost.

I can refer you to some outstanding remodeling contractors, and who I would refer depends on the scope of your job and the level of quality you are planning.

Warm Regards,
Web Reference:
1 vote
Arron Renfrew, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Nov 21, 2011
Hello Scouter,

What you are looking for is Knowledge all there is on line is Information. Don't try to do it alone.. get a good team around you that you can trust and has skills aligned with your goals. Asking for an online cost estimator to me is like a brain surgeon asking a Blog site on nutrition for how to operate on a brain. If you are buying a fixer upper to live in as your primary residence then get a good Real Estate Broker and Loan Broker at a minimum. On top of that I would suggest a General Contractor that you can trust at a minimum. If this is a fixer upper for profit then you need to have a lot more team on your side including an accountant etc.

For fun and INFORMATION you can try the website that I attached but for KNOWLEDGE you need the experience of professionals.
1 vote
Pierre Arcos, Other Pro, Everett, WA
Mon Nov 21, 2011

Yes, there are online remodeling calculators and simple cost lists out there. Marshall & Swift is pretty good. I used it when I was an appraiser. However, your best bet is to get 2 or 3 estimates for your remodel project. Contact licensed, bonded general contractors who work in your neighborhood and who can give you an estimate for everything you want to do in your project. They will have the most accurate costs for remodeling.

Best Regards
1 vote
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Mon Nov 21, 2011
The more general the information, the less reliable it will be. I've looked at the remodeling site Leah suggested and find it interesting, but to imagine the entire west coast would see the same returns is pretty hard to imagine.
Your best bet will be to spend some time pricing out fixtures and materials yourself to get a base of knowledge to work from and then get some quotes from professionals. The more work you can do yourself, the more you may save but you need to have professionals do anything relating to bearing walls or structural issues.
1 vote
Patrick Beri…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Nov 21, 2011
1 vote
Leah Pham, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Nov 21, 2011
I usually check the Cost vs Value report, which is a yearly roundup of remodeling costs and what value your remodel might bring to your home:…

Other good resource is Marshall & Swift:

Good luck with your project!
Web Reference:
1 vote
Jlledanois, Home Buyer, Seattle, WA
Wed Jul 1, 2015
Hi there, I recently found a really good one at ; it lets you calculate your personalized project (by room, by finishes and other categories), and it calculates the ROI and projected home value of your home after renovating.

Worked great for me :)
0 votes
daniel.mark2…, Both Buyer And Seller, Sunnyvale, CA
Fri May 22, 2015
If you visit then you will get the most popular and easy remolding or renovation cost calculator, where you will get the cost estimate on bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, basement remodeling cost.
0 votes
Lanre Folayan, Agent, Washington, DC
Fri Feb 7, 2014
You can also go to a website such as And check out this recent article written by 30 top real estate agents who share the one tip that they will give to a first time home buyer who is looking to buy a fixer upper…
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Nov 27, 2011

There are online cost calculators, and they are not a substitute for, as Arron says, knowledge.

Basically, the best reason to buy a fixer in Seattle is so that you can finish it to your tastes and not have to pay for somebody else's tastes. However, fixers tend to require more than just finish work - they tend to require infrastructure work, which is pretty difficult to estimate, and the return on investment is generally negative. Then, you have to factor in whether the floor plan really lends itself to updating, or if it is functionally and economically obsolete . . .

All the best,
0 votes
Adrianne Jon…, Agent, Federal Way, WA
Sun Nov 27, 2011
Yes there is, but I would strongly reccomend you get a good contractor to give you actual numbers. You can't get a good estimate unless you are using true numbers. If you are looking to flip for profit you will need to get a contractor who can work with you on a regular basis. There are plenty of excellent flip houses out there!! Good Luck!
0 votes
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