How Much Does It Cost to Remodel a Home in Boston?
Boston, Massachusetts: An Expansive City with Expensive Living
Boston is one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the U.S., but it’s also one of the most expensive. Massachusetts is the third-most expensive state to live in, and the median price of a home in Boston is more than 70% higher than the national figure. When it comes to home improvement, the costs of home renovations and remodels in the Boston area are much higher than the other areas of the U.S.
So, whether you’re planning a kitchen remodel, a bathroom renovation, or even a large-scale, multi-room home remodel, you should expect your costs in Boston to be higher than the national average. You should also expect that cost to vary based on location, size, room, and project complexity.
This guide, updated for 2018 by our real estate and remodel experts, will help you budget for your next remodel!
Estimating Boston Home Remodel Costs: No Easy Feat!
Since there are so many factors that contribute to the cost of a home remodel, there’s no easy way to calculate an exact cost without consulting a professional. However, there are some national estimates which can provide a little guidance.
For example, an analysis of national cost profiles of home owner remodels showed that the country’s estimated cost range for the remodel of multiple rooms can start as low as $3,600 and go well beyond $140,000. But remember, this is only an average estimate. It doesn’t take into account Boston’s uniquely expensive housing market, including the high-end luxury buildings throughout the area such as the Millennium Tower. Naturally, luxury building projects like these would put the average cost of a Boston home remodeling project at the top of that national range or much higher.
While you might not be able to determine all these expenses on your own, there are a few things to consider that can help you better understand the costs of a Boston remodel. By taking these things into account, you’ll also learn how to maximize your overall remodeling budget, no matter how ambitious your home renovation or remodeling plans are.
What Factors Impact the Cost of Home Remodeling in Massachusetts?
There are several factors of any home remodel that can help you determine the ultimate cost. These factors can be boiled down to three main categories: location, size, room, and complexity.
As long as Boston is the location of your remodel, you can expect your project to cost quite a bit more than other less-popular areas of the nation. This is true regardless of whether you’re renovating just your kitchen, bathroom, or multiple rooms in your home.
Of course, the price can fluctuate even more if you’re remodeling in one of Boston’s most popular neighborhoods like Beacon Hill or Back Bay, or in highly sought-after residential areas such as Brookline, Natick or Newton. In these higher-end neighborhoods, it’s not uncommon to spend $600-$800 per square foot on purchasing your new home. Meanwhile, a newly-constructed, 3,000-square foot home with amenities like an indoor garage in South End would likely cost you around $4-5 million.
Size is a significant determining factor for a Boston remodel because it greatly influences the scope of the project. After all, our potential new location’s size will affect:
- The length of time your entire home remodel will take.
- The sheer amount of materials you’ll need to work with.
- The amount of labor required to complete the project.
Some homeowners arrive at their own rough estimate for a remodeling budget by assigning a cost-per-square-foot assessment of the area to be remodeled. Of course, even if you were to take this route, the range can still be quite variable, with the cost of home remodeling in Boston typically falling at the higher end of the national range.
A room’s square footage alone isn’t always indicative of the exact final cost to remodel it. For example, though your bathrooms are likely the smallest rooms within your Boston home, the cost to remodel them is usually higher than other rooms of comparable size (like walk-in closets and small bedrooms). So what should you expect to spend on a room to room basis? Due to appliances, fixtures, plumbing, cabinetry and storage, you should estimate the costs for your kitchen and bathroom remodels with a more itemized approach.
Average remodel costs by room:
- National average: $22,761
- Boston average: $25,501
- National average: $10,206
- Boston average: $10,084
- National average: $7,880
- Boston average: $8,755*
Living room remodel
- National average: $7,823
- Boston average: $8,692*
- National average: $19,240
- Boston average: $19,261
- National average: $41,838
- Boston average: $39,927
Data above sourced from: HomeAdvisor, Fixr, and HomeWyse. *Estimates based on calculated cost increase of 10% in Boston vs. national average.
KITCHEN & BATHROOM REMODELS
Kitchens are often the most expensive room in the house to remodel. Meanwhile, the costs for bathroom remodels can fluctuate quite drastically. Still, you should always expect these remodeling costs to be somewhat higher than they would be for other rooms. To help avoid any unexpected complications, keep in mind some of the more important considerations and tips for remodeling a kitchen or bathroom.
Now, if you want to make the most out of your remodel budget while still meeting all your preferences, make sure to factor in the following costs:
- Countertops: Countertop material costs can range significantly based on the type of counters you desire. Fortunately, cutting these costs is as simple as selecting a material that is friendly to your budget, but also achieves the look and feel you are going for. In general, stone countertops (granite, marble, etc.) are most expensive, whereas laminate or wood surfaces cost the least.
- Cabinets: The cost of new cabinets and installations can also vary greatly. However, do keep in the mind that the more customizations you request, the higher the costs will climb. So, if you’re looking to cut costs on your kitchen or bathroom remodel, consider looking into stock cabinets. On the other hand, you could even consider refinishing or repainting your existing cabinets to avoid purchasing new materials altogether.
- Appliances: Naturally, higher-end appliances come with higher-end price tags. But built-in appliances can also quickly add to your total cost of home remodeling. So, even though built-in high-end appliances are a luxurious addition, you’ll want to make sure these customizations are also adding equivalent value to your home.
Last but not least, the complexity of your remodeling project is a crucial determining factor when it comes to predicting total costs. After all, this is where all of the more nuanced details come into play, such as the age of your home, building permits, the need for structural changes, and special labor or materials.
The best way to approach issues of home-remodel complexity is by considering these questions:
- How does home age affect remodeling cost? Some problems typically found in older homes include plumbing, wiring, old materials and systems, and foundational or structural concerns. Each and every one of these issues contributes to the total cost of home remodeling. So, if you have an older home that hasn’t been updated in a while, you should plan accordingly and also anticipate at least some unanticipated expenses while estimating home improvement costs.
- Will I need special building permits to remodel my home? Many home remodeling projects require building permits, which are issued by municipalities. Unfortunately, obtaining these permits can often causes delays in construction. However, failing to obtain proper permits can result in even more costly delays and fines down the line. Obviously, all of these will add to your overall costs.
- Am I using high-quality materials? This one goes without saying, but as you’re well aware, the nicer the materials, the higher the costs. As previously mentioned, your kitchen and bathroom remodels can quickly rack up material costs (appliances, cabinetry, etc.), so you’ll want to weigh your options carefully on these particular rooms.
- Will I need the help of an interior designer? Some homeowners opt to design their own remodel. However, the safer (and much more common) route is to hire an interior designer. Of course, by hiring an interior designer, you will increase the ultimate cost of your project. But, depending on your own expertise and capacity, that additional knowledge will likely come in very handy during the more complex parts of the remodeling process.
- Am I changing the layout? Changing a layout might require moving/removing a wall or creating doorways, windows, and other structural elements. All of this can really add up. Remodeling your home indicates a layout change, whereas renovating your home is refreshing existing elements. Get more information on the difference between remodeling and renovating.
- Will my vision for the home remodel need specialized labor or construction expertise? If you are changing the layout or structural elements of your home, you’ll need an architect, high-end contractor, or structural engineer. If you’re adding custom wood or tile-work, you’ll need an expert craftsman. And if you’re moving plumbing and high-wattage electrical materials, you’ll most likely need a plumber and an electrician.
Also, remember that even if you’ve carefully considered every detail of your home remodel, you should always be prepared to go at least 12% over your planned budget. These additional costs could be due to unforeseen expenditures, overages, or any number of other complications. After all, estimating home improvement costs is rarely a straightforward process, so having a built-in price buffer is always a best practice should you hit a snag along the way.
How to Maximize Your Remodeling Budget
The number-one way to maximize your remodeling budget is to be prepared. The projects that make the most of a budget are those where the homeowner has done their homework before they even meet with a professional. This is true for even the most complex and high-end Boston remodels, as well.
But what’s the best way to prepare for a major home remodel? First, you’ll want to have a clear vision of what you want and what you don’t want. You’ll also need a general understanding of the project itself so you don’t waste time when meeting with your architect or builder. Like any other area of life, time is money. So, saving yourself any time you possibly can will prevent unnecessary (and costly) delays in your decision-making processes. Over time, this will add up, helping you to maximize your budget and keep the final cost of home remodeling as reasonable as possible.
If you’re curious about the Boston remodel projects that we’ve worked on throughout the years, check out our ever-growing Portfolio. Or, if you want to learn more or ask questions about starting your own project, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Click here to see some of our recent home remodeling projects throughout the Boston area. If you want to learn more or have questions about starting a home improvement project, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.