What to Expect in the Cost of a Home Remodel: What Drives Remodeling Costs in Maryland and Washington D.C.

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Everyone interested in remodeling their home looks forward to all the upgrades and aesthetically pleasing changes they dream about for their new kitchen or bathroom. What they don’t necessarily relish is tackling the sometimes-overwhelming task of determining what a remodel will cost. Winthorpe endeavors to help outline the aspects of a remodel that most influence cost, to help you set your expectations and determine what will fit your budget.

Figuring out the costs of a remodel can be tricky, as there are several variables at play, including how involved the remodel is, the level of work being done, and the product selections and finishes. A helpful guide for determining some average remodeling costs in the Maryland and Washington D.C. areas is the Cost vs. Value Report. Contrary to what would seem like common sense, the size of the space being remodeled is not necessarily a defining factor of cost. Remodeling a 2,000-square-foot home can cost much more than remodeling a 3,000-square-foot home if the product selections are more expensive and it entails more involved work.

average cost of a home remodelFor example, if we’re remodeling a home where the design calls for moving plumbing or structural walls, that will result in a bigger expense than a remodel where we simply execute cosmetic work. Often times there are hidden challenges in a remodel as well, such as the discovery of a cracked foundation or broken trusses. Those discoveries result in unexpected costs. For exactly those situations, we always try to pad the budget by 10-20%.

When you know your budget, we work within it. However, there are also times when someone outlines a budget but is willing to increase it as they learn what options are available to them and what the value of those choices would be down the road. For instance, upgrading to some smart home technology may cost a bit more now, but can save in annual utility dollars over the long run, making it well worth the up-front investment. Or you may fall in love with a granite countertop and decide you’re willing to stretch your budget to add that detail to your home. The budget for a remodel may include what’s originally intended to be remodeled, only to have additional items added as we go.

average cost of a home remodelRecently, we worked on a project in the Washington D.C. area. The homeowner wanted to remodel a garage with an apartment right above it and specified his budget. But as the project progressed, the homeowner decided to expand the scope of the project by adding heated floors, a rooftop deck, and a gas line. Those additions increased his expenses but were choices he made for the overall and long-term benefit of the home.

In the design phase of this home, we outlined the project to meet his budget, got permits, and then we started construction. Once construction was underway, he asked about installing hydronic heat. We hadn’t discussed it earlier because it didn’t fit within his budget. But he was willing to look into it and had us price it for him, and ultimately elected to have it installed.

Of course, the more we plan for from the very beginning, during the design phase, the more we can control costs, so it’s a good idea to plan for as many details as possible early on. We’ve found that it really helps to get to know one another and get comfortable talking openly about budgets and overall goals. Our intent is not to just spend your money; our intent is to understand what you feel comfortable investing in your project. That tells us what suggestions we can bring to the table and helps us guide you effectively. The more confidence you have in us from the beginning, the more transparent you can be with your goals, so we work hard to build that confidence. If we know you’re interested in looking at options outside of your original plan, we can help you review those options and incorporate them early on so we’re not remodeling the remodel at greater expense later on.  We want you to be happy with your investment and with living in the home we help you create.

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