How much should I expect to remodel a fixer in San Francsico? I realize this is a broad question, but assuming no major structural work is required,

Asked by Steve Ransom, 94122 Fri May 21, 2010

what should I expect to pay for new interior painting, exterior painting, sanding/staining floors, new stove/dishwasher, maybe cabinets and central air.

I realize there are lots of variables, but does anyone have even a rough sense? Or can someone point me to a resource to start to figure this stuff out?

Thanks a lot.

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Cheryl Bower’s answer
Cheryl Bower, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Wed May 26, 2010
Hi Steve,

Your best place to start is with your Realtor! If you’ve not hired one yet for the purchase process, I recommend interviewing a few and selecting someone who is experienced in the property types that you are interested in.

I’ve personally been buying fixers-renovators for close to 20 years. Renovation costs can swing drastically all depending on the finishes and how much prep work is needed. It’s not uncommon to open a wall or demo a bathroom to find a bigger project then one anticipated because of undetected issues such as dry rot, termites, etc.

There is only so much that a pest inspector/home inspector can detect during home buying inspections. These undetected surprises along with change orders during a project can really throw off a budget.

If you’re handy, there are a lot of cosmetic projects that one can do, such as painting, refinishing wood floors, changing fixtures where you can really save money. Sweat equity was a big part of my early renovation projects.

It goes without saying to not attempt work that you’re not experienced in such as plumbing, electrical, foundation. You also need to be aware of what types of work require permits.

An agent can provide a tremendous amount of feedback/suggestions as to appropriate improvements to a property, how not to over improve for the neighborhood, choice of finishes, how to improve a floor plan and how not to make the space too personalized a la “Tacky House” which can impact resale value (this of course depends on how long one is planning to live in the property; is it a stepping stone to the next place or a long term 5+ year settle in plan).

I have great contractors that I’ve been working with for years for all the mentioned projects that you are inquiring about.

I’ve personally renovated rooms, most recently bathrooms, on the cheap for a rental property:

As well as redone bathrooms down to the studs for a full facelift. Cost for each approach ranged from $3000 to $14,000.

I have a few recommended resources on Yelp:

Good luck!

Cheryl Bower, Realtor , GRI, ABR
Cell 415.999.3450
Zephyr Real Estate
DRE#: 01505551
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0 votes
Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Sat May 22, 2010
No one in San Francisco installs air conditioning unless you have a need for constant cool air like lupus or something. The tempurture is low enough and constant enough that opeing windows will sufice. If you meant a newer forced air furnace and duct work for that then the below will still suffice.

$200 to $300 per square foot depending on finishes. Could be less if it is just cosmetic.
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sat May 22, 2010

Contractor bids will be all over the place, and a lot of your costs will depend on materials. Costs can be lowered by managing your own project, but you need to know what you're doing. We have done a lot of our own development projects and have a list of reliable, reasonably priced contractors who do good work, as well as a lot of great sources for materials that can save you a ton of money. I'm out of town til tuesday, but if you send me an email I'll follow up with you when I get back.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
0 votes
Kamal Randha…, Agent, El Sobrante, CA
Fri May 21, 2010
Hi Steve,

Most contractors will come out for free and give you an estimate. Just check the yellow pages or I can refer you to some excellent contractors. We can take a wild guestimate but I don't think that will work well for you. You don't have to own the home for the contractors to come and give you an estimate by the way. :)

Kamal Randhawa
0 votes
Shaban Shako…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Fri May 21, 2010
I'd need details to get more specific but generally:
$7k for exterior paint
$5k interior paint
$2k floors
$10k cabinets
$1k each for appliances
$8k for a/c

Let me know if you need referrals to contractors.
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0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Fri May 21, 2010
Seventy-five bucks per square foot!

Once you get started, oh it's hard to stop. Cabinets, but not counters and backsplash? What about the bathrooms? How are the windows? Interior doors? Plumbing? Paint is nice, but do we need to do any wall repair, replace any trim?

Hope that helps,
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