How to Use Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report

We often get calls or e-mails from architects, homeowners, or home buyers who are just starting to think about a remodeling project, but they have no idea what it should cost. Instead of guessing or spending dozens of hours of time working up a possible estimate, we send them to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report.

This is a really great FREE resource that is updated every year with information collected from professional remodelers and home services companies all over the U.S. Lately, however, we’ve seen that the tool can be confusing to people unfamiliar with it. Let’s take a look and clarify some of the most common questions we receive.


Step 1: First, click this link to find the report and look at the national average for some common home improvement projects listed by name along the left-hand side of your web page.

Step 2: Next, enter your region or click on the map to find it. On this page, you’ll see more refined regional averages for the same projects in your part of the United States.

Step 3: Finally, select the specific city that’s nearest to you for the most refined local average project estimates. At this point, you’ll need to register and click “Download Data for [your city]” to view your report.


Now that you have a list of hyper-local project estimates, you’ll want to find the one that most closely aligns with your project. Keep in mind that none of the projects listed will be an exact match, but you want to click on the entry that feels closest to what you expect your home renovation to be.

Let’s walk through an example using a project description a recent caller provided: he wanted to “redesign and remodel the master bed bath suite and the adjacent guest bath and bedroom.” Choosing from the list provided, we had him click on “bath remodel upscale.”

Looking at the resulting graph [see graph above, at beginning of article], he was able to see that the price will fall in the $75K-$80K range for one higher-end bathroom. Since the client was asking for two bathrooms, we doubled the number to $150K-$160K as a reasonable ballpark budget for his project.

Note that until we actually design this particular project and understand other areas of the house that may be included or affected by it — a service that takes a few meetings and for which we charge — we won’t have an exact price for the client.


We hope you will find the Cost vs Value Report useful as you explore your remodeling options, develop your budget expectations, and arrange your financing. We’re happy to walk through the report with you and further explain how it applies to your next design to build project. Call or email us today to get started.

A Visual Breakdown of Kitchen Renovation Costs

I asked Dana, who is very good with the computers, to give us a simple pie chart of one of our recent kitchen projects. Here you go:

I wanted this tool because many homeowners think the most expensive stuff in their kitchen is the cabinetry and counter tops. You can see from the graph that this is not the case at all. In this case its less than 18% of our typical kitchen project.

“How come?” you ask. Let me explain;

The only way your biggest cost would be in cabinets and counters would be if you were swapping out the exact kitchen you have now; same layout, with new cabinets and a new counter top, or re-facing the kitchen you have and adding a new counter top.

Most of the people who call us want a completely new kitchen space with the room stripped to the subfloors and studs. So all the stuff that is in the walls; your pipes, wires, insulation, and often even the structural elements, doors and windows, gets moved or changed or replaced. And then we have to put in all the new stuff you do see like drywall, stone, tile, paint, cabinets floors, lights and outlets, heating and cooling and ventilation and lots of other stuff.

That’s a lot of stuff! Some of it isn’t very sexy the way cabinets and counter tops can be. But it all needs to be done if your kitchen is going to work well.