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Remodel & Renovate in San Francisco : Real Estate Advice

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  • Local Info250
  • Home Buying987
  • Home Selling131
  • Market Conditions81

Activity 76
Sat Jun 16, 2012
Diane Gardner Rhoden answered:
if this remodeling is for your personal enjoyment it's fine, but when you are selling it may be another matter. Bedrooms usually require a window and a closet, although some older houses do not have closets, or the closet is outside of the room.
If you are selling your house you may have to return it to what is stated on your Certificate of Occupancy or have your town or village Building Inspector approve the change. That is if the buyer's bank require it or the buyer's attorney advise the buyer to have the property brought up to code before purchasing.
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0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Sun Jun 10, 2012
Robert Cram (contractor) answered:
In my opinion (SF general contractor), no, $140/square foot for an addition including master suite, whether or not it includes fees for an architect, is not doable in Noe Valley in 2012. Rock-bottom would more likely be around $250/square foot, and typical would probably be $350, luxury much higher. If you get a contractor who promises you the job for $140/square foot, get a firm contract then spend a few bucks to have a third party (a contractor who isn't bidding for the job, or a broker with development experience) go over the contract.

You're doing the right thing by talking about budget up front. It's a starting point, from which you can talk about changing your budget or the scope.
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Fri Jun 1, 2012
Kim Boliba answered:
My handy-man is great at installing windows and very reasonably priced. Name is Richard Wheatley @ 415-637-9670. He does all kinds of remodeling also. Kitchens, bathrooms, new hardwood floors, tile work, installing new crown molding around the floor and ceiling of a room to make it really give it a ''''stately'' look.
You will not be disappointed at his prices. he also lives in the area.
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Thu May 17, 2012
Renaissance Craftsman answered:
No, not a code requirement! More so a matter of design.
As a highly rated contractor I've built several kitchens and bathrooms in the Bay Area
with and without a back splash.
0 votes 10 answers Share Flag
Tue May 15, 2012
Peter T. Chin answered:
If I was selling a house, I would consider the type of buyer that would like to buy my house before spending money on remodeling....if my house was in a desirable neighborhood then I may not do any remodeling and just sell it as is.

ie: Noe Valley and other hot areas will always recieve multiple offers on fixer uppers....especially if it is a large square footage house...similiar homes in inner richmond received multiple offers on fixer uppers before it even hit the market on mls.

I would look at your neighborhood block and see similiar houses; are they all fixed up and remodeled?
Then maybe you should do a little remodel yourself so that you don't look like the exception and look more standard.

Also, focus on the kitchen and bathrooms; the other rooms could be done inexpensively with a licensed handyman painter.
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Mon Feb 13, 2012
Helen Yuen answered:
Hi - I know a contractor who does quality work and design consultation. His remodels and renovations
look gorgeous, lovely and contemporary - beautifully coordinated colors to your taste.
Archeon Construction for a design consultation (415) 722-1145

Tell Andy you were referred by: Helen Yuen, Realtor Associate, Land & Property Investments, Inc.
Sunset District with free parking, Cantonese, can answer questions about financing, buying, selling.
Call or e-mail with a real estate question (415) 469-0577
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Sat Feb 11, 2012
Oggi Kashi answered:
If you seek a dependable answer, it needs to provide after viewing the property. Any answer regarding value in this forum is going to be general at best.

If this is in regard to selling your home in the near future, keep in mind pools bring more value to a property when the weather is warmer/nicer and not as much when it's colder. If it's heated, then that changes the equation. Heating costs and eco friendly heating systems become an issue as well.


Oggi Kashi - 415.690.3792 direct
Broker Associate, Paragon Real Estate Group CA DRE 01844627
All data from sources deemed reliable but subject to errors and omissions, and not warranted.
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0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Thu Feb 9, 2012
Rich Bennett answered:
Hey there-

Honestly, your best bet is to have several contractors come through the property to see what exactly they'd have to work with and go from there. I can tell you that excavating is usually a big deal both in terms of time and cost. It's difficult to give any sort of estimate without seeing the property as there could be issues related to your particular property that could raise the cost.

Talking to three different contractors and getting firm quotes would be the best start.


Rich Bennett, Realtor in SF since 2002

Zephyr Real Estate
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Tue Jan 31, 2012
Deborah Garvin answered:
Thank you very much for the "Best Answer" affirmation, I sincerely appreciate it! If you have any further questions about FHA 203K program. Best of luck to you!
0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Wed Nov 9, 2011
Ron Thomas answered:
Watching the FLIP/Remodeling shows on HGTV; there is one consistant theme;
The Owner gets in over his head, doesn't allow for the unexpected, and goes over budget:

Why don';t you just get a quote from three contractors;
we can't possibly visualize what you've got from our computer.

Good luck and may God bless
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0 votes 8 answers Share Flag
Fri Sep 16, 2011
Joe Nernberg answered:
Changing out windows without a permit is not just a technicality. Improperly installed windows may leak or the net opening may be too small to provide emergency egress. Also, some windows require safety glazing (tempered glass).

I agree with Rich. Call the building department. The cost of a permit or investigation fee will be minimal compared to potential health/safety defects.
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Sun Aug 21, 2011
Rich Bennett answered:
Hi SFGal-

Have you worked with a contractor before on other home improvements in the SF area? It's always best to get 3 or 4 estimates from, ideally, contractor's that have been referred to you by trustworthy sources. There can be many factors to your project so choosing the right contractor is key.


Rich Bennett

Zephyr Real Estate

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0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Mon Aug 1, 2011
John Arendsen answered:
Wow! This thread's garnered some seasoning. Pun intended.
0 votes 6 answers Share Flag
Thu Jul 21, 2011
Harold Sharpe answered:
Consider this,....
How much does it cost to remodel the kitchen and bath the way you want it.
Perhaps asking a local real estate agent to show you properties in your area so you can see what others have done or not done to their kitchens and baths so yours is one of the nicest around.

Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes Realty
(951) 821-8211
California Department of Real Estate Broker License # 01312992
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0 votes 9 answers Share Flag
Tue Jul 12, 2011
Deborah Garvin answered:
Howard, A contractor, home inspector, architect or appraiser who inspects the specific property you are considering would be your best source for the answer to your question. It really depends upon the project at hand. I have done both....and either situation will work for getting FHA 203K renovation financing. You just need to use part of the original foundation if you decide on the tear down option.

I have written several articles on the 203K and am more than happy to share them with you if you would like more information.

Deborah Garvin
(619) 787-8212
NMLS 279125
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0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Fri Apr 22, 2011
Michael Cheng answered:
That's difficult to say. If you're building from bare ground with all utilities, you should expect $175-200/sqft. Depending on your finishes (designer faucets, granite countertops, solid wood cabinetry), you can add another $50-100/sqft. Get a quote from a few reputable licensed builders and go with the most detailed guy. If there's an existing structure, getting permits to remove the property can add other costs. ... more
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Thu Feb 17, 2011
Rob Regan & Ciara Piron answered:
Don't buy a fixer unless you know what you are doing, and have very skilled, very trustworthy, and very reasonable professional contractors and an architect. And you have time to manage the job (even though your general contractor and/or architect are also supposed to be doing that)

I have seen 1 year renovations take 3 years with significant cost over runs which is exactly in line with the old adage in the contruction business - "it costs two times as much and takes three times as long" as the best estimate you get. Obviously that isn't always true, but too often it ends up being true.

In the bubble years everyone became a fix and flipper, and most failed. It just is not as easy as it looks.
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Wed Feb 9, 2011
Francine Bailey-Byrd answered:
Yes, I would check the zoning. I am aware of a property that was a state licensed board and care home for adults for 34 years. The property has city permitted fire exits on both the back of the house and the side of the
House. The property is surrounded by a private grammar school, a public high school, and the University of San Francisco is two blocks away. There are four prominent bus lines that take you to downtown San Francisco. This would be a perfect opportunity to utilize a property in central SF for a bed and breakfast.
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Tue Jan 4, 2011
Joan Congilose answered:
As long as the cabinets installed in your condo are done by a professional , they are uniform & the trim is
is done properly I don't think it matters where you purchase cabinets from as long as they are new. I agree that better appliances & counter tops will definitely dress up the kitchen & you don't need to disclose where the cabinets were purchased. ... more
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Fri Oct 8, 2010
Eric Castongia answered:
Hi Debra
My experience has been that an assessment may take a few years to get to you, but you will owe the increased tax from the completion of the permit to the time when they issue the bill. They will give you some time (but not a lot of it) to pay it, but you should have the money in the bank to cover it, so I'd start saving.

Our assessor is beating the bushes to find money, so don't be surprized if it happens sooner.

Best of luck

Eric Castongia
Zephyr Real Estate
DRE No. 01188380
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