Need some help on renovation costs

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New Member
Apr 13, 2009
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... or at least a rough ballpark figure. I am looking at a house and although it is nice from the outside, older brick home, it needs lots of work on the inside. I would like to get a feel before proceeding any further.

House was built in 1973. Here are some things that I found off the top:

1. Has no central HVAC
2. Popcorn ceiling would have to be scraped off
3. needs new carpet in three bedrooms, living room and dining room.
4. Single pane windows ~8 in total.
5. Needs new painting on inside and outside trim/carport
6. Kitchen cabinets and counter tops need replacing - kitchen is not that big - kitchen stove looks to be good, may need a new frig.
7. bathroom fixtures, shower, toilet, sink, and cabinets need replacing, and possibly tile.
8. 1970's wall paneling in a couple rooms would have to be pulled and walls painted.

The house is 1995 sq feet. Roof looks good - would have to wait to here what inspector says if I proceed that far, as would the septic system. What would a rough guess for materials and labor be if these things were replaced, not with top end stuff but nice modern items. Some things I, or my family who are in the line of work could possibly do, but I would like to hear a worse case, best case price scenario if possible. Thanks!!!!


Well-Known Member
Mar 1, 2006
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Welcome Pityocamptes:
In appraiser terminology you have approximately 45% of the house there. Or, if you built the house new, it would lack 55% of completion.
To keep yourself safe the house would need to be depreciated 55% in order to come out with a good investment. I don't know your local real estate situation which prevents placing a dollar value on the house. If you could compare it with a fully renovated recent sale in the general area, with the amenities you have named, the subject property would be worth only 45% of the reconditioned one.


Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2008
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Hi Pityocamptes:

I will chime in here only because my previous home was a hi-rancher of 1900 square feet built in 1973 and I did each and every one of the jobs you have listed to it.

Doing quick calculations in my head and looking at each item I am guessing $50-60K for everything ~ far less depending on how involved you get and where you need to pay a pro. Could be far less if you do things like shop your carpet/installation, do your own tile work, install your own formica counters paint cabinets instead of replace, etc - etc. You will likely need a pro for the A/C, figure $8k for a high quality system pro installed if you can duct through the attic into the ceiling and a few thousand higher if the ducting gets complicated.

Consider painting exterior yourself for $40 bucks a gallon. Painting contractors can be expensive and your likely to do a better job yourself. Consider a good two coats of high quality ceiling paint before trying to scrape off popcorn ceiling. Consider painting wood paneling or covering it with "paintable wallpaper" before ripping it out and trying to refinish. High quality windows will hit you $500 a piece depending on size. Installing your own tile and bath fixtures are fairly easy. In a 1973 home it is likely you will need to go to the studs around your tub/shower and replace with cement board. You are likely to find wood subfloor rot around the toilets. Usually not a big deal. I wouldnt "reglaze" a bathtub again ours only lasted a couple years. The kitchen will be pricey unless what you have is workable/reconditionable. Completely replacing cabinets/countertops will shell shock you to the tune of $15k more or less depending on size.

Bottom line, get an appraiser and real estate agent you know and trust. Try to figure out if the seller has depreciated any of this stuff when he calculated his asking price. If you dont justify your offer properly, you run the risk of insulting the seller and getting ignored.

I would make a detailed list of what you want and take a drive to the local home improvement center with a calculator, that will give a better idea and you can pick/choose to your taste/level of involvement.

Good luck


Well-Known Member
Oct 14, 2008
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Prospector gave you a great run down. The house is probably on slab so there wouldn't be any wood subfloor rot. Plus you are in AZ and wood rot isn't that bad there.

I still believe that you make your money when you buy it. Buy it right and the problems will not seem that bad. I would check out the local appraisal district/tax assessor information. If you are in Maricopa County:
or go to
Real Estate, Homes for Sale - Zillow

Don't be afraid to low ball the offer. Once we offered $30,000 less than asking price. We thought we were offending the seller at the time. They took it. Offer what you want. If they don't take it you'll find another.