Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Homeshopper's Cost Converter List

If you’re shopping for a home, and don’t have unlimited money, it’s important to understand that every feature you want in a home simply translates to a dollar amount... the amount you would have to pay to add or fix up that feature, or even find it in a different home. This list is particularly addressed to first-time homebuyers, the ones we see on the funny TV shows who look at every kitchen and say “I can’t buy this house because the kitchen doesn’t have granite countertops.”

We’re going to start with the least expensive items because that’s the part that seems to have the most misunderstanding. All of our estimates are based on home sizes and quality levels typical of first homes, 2-4 bedrooms, middle-class values. And these are called “order of magnitude” estimates, meaning they are just to give you rough values relative to one another; they’re not supposed to be particularly accurate. The point is, you don’t dismiss a home because it has ugly paint.

Another reason I made this list because it would be nice if a home inspector would use it to give you a list of your fix-up costs, instead of merely telling you what’s wrong with a house. If you turn everything into a number, then it’s a lot easier to both understand your price point for the house and feel good about negotiating with the seller. Let’s say you like the house but it needs X, Y, and Z; knowing that it’s $7,000 out of your pocket makes the process a lot more sensible, and makes you a lot smarter about your early days of owning that house.

Good luck, and let me know if this helps.

-Jack Bellis

US dollar cost for a professional to do it
50 per room
Paint interior
200-300 per room
Remove 30-foot tree
Replace ceiling fan/chandelier
Replace bathroom sink
Replace toilet
Add a circuit breaker and circuit
Replace bathroom floor
New carpet
New laminate floor
New hardwood floor
Remodel powder room
New front door with side panels
Granite counter tops
2000 minimum
Remove 60-foot tree
800 minimum
New hot water heater
Refinish hardwood floors
Paint exterior trim and windows
Replace a square section of concrete sidewalk
Replace 8-foot section of concrete curb
Replace windows
400 each
New asphalt on driveway
3000 minimum
Build new 10-foot x 10-foot low deck
4000 minimum
New furnace
4000 minimum
New roof
4000 + 2000/room
A house with more windows
A house with a more open layout
A house in a better school district
A house on a quieter street