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What is your best estimate to finish this house?

It is about 3375 sq feet in Suburban Houston. It is in a nice gated country club neighborhood. The builder went out of business half way through it. The exterior is complete. All of the utilites are run and complete. All of the drywall and windows are up...and that is where it stopped.

I would need flooring throughout, everything in the kitchen, texture and paint throughout, window trim, doors, bathrooms and all the fixtures throughout the house.

I would obviously have to use some good quality (for the neighborhood), but I'd have a cheap budget.

Here is my best estimate:

Flooring (average carpet throughout, with travertine in the kitchen and baths): $6000
Cabinets: $4000
Appliances: $4000
Counters: $2000 (probably not granite for this)
Other Kitchen: $2000
Paint/Trim: $2000 (most done ourselves)
Interior Doors: $2000
Baths: $6000
Other Lighting&Fixtures: $2000

This is right at $30,000. We would be doing everything we can ourselves.

What do you think about this budget? Am I missing something.

The house is listed right around $200k and comps in the neighborhood are around $350k. It has been on the market for over a year and a half. If we could pick it up for around $150-170 and spend less than $40 we could swing it.



And no, we are not flipping it. We would be living in it.

  • December 21 2008 - West Houston
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Answers (6)

I think you should move beyond an estimate and do a full inventory.  How many of what from where when.  IE  I am buying 14 hollow core 28x80 doors @ 89.00 each from home depot.  I will need 3000 linear feet of trim @ .79 per linear foot etc.  Might take a couple of days.  You can do the math and know or guess and hope.  You might be able to negotiate better prices from Home Crackho or Blowes if you told them you were putting in a 20k order.  They used to say no discounts but I bet they may have softened up a little bit with the soft construction market.
  • December 21 2008
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Profile picture for keine mehr
Methinks your estimates are very low, and Brian's idea above is better. 

My rule of thumb on a midgrade upgrading would be to budget $35 per square foot.  That would be $120,000!  but, since you are doing much of the work yourself, and assuming you have the skills and the time, that can be cut in half, easily.

Other disclaimers are my market (Seattle) is more expensive than Houston; but I also have the task of ripping everything out first and moving a wall or two.

You did not include landscaping in your estimate.  Big mistake.  In a country club setting, you will not want to cut corners here.  This can run $10K easily, just in plants and trees.

Redo the estimate.  I think your buying strategy is very good, I'd put a $150K ceiling on your price, if you want to keep the final tab at under $210K, because I think your legitilate budget should be $60K to finiash this out.
  • December 21 2008
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Profile picture for clayton790
I appreciate both responses. Great info.

I am not going to budget anything for landscaping or furnishings, or anything like that since I am not flipping the house. I consider those living expenses, not necessary to make the house livable. Plus it already has some landscaping done, just nothing fancy. Doesn't need trees or grass added. We could afford more than $210, but we'd have to get a second loan to cover some of the construction costs...depending on how much down payment we need. I would be trying to avoid that second loan.
  • December 22 2008
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Profile picture for James Wheelock
For the Houston are I would say you are off by about $20,000 not including the landscaping. Your numbers are two low for your cabinets if you want them to hold up to the standard of a neighborhood at that price range. Your flooring numbers will be about double what you posted in here. You will not get away with less than 3-4 dollars a square foot average if you plan to use a higher grade stone in the bathroom and kitchen. David's numbers are pretty close if you wanted to have someone finish up it would cost you about $29 a square foot here in Houston as labor is a little lower in cost. You might want to check out some other foreclosures and you can do that on my site Houston homes source.
  • December 22 2008
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Profile picture for clayton790
The realtor sent me the estimate the old owner had to finish from a local contractor. It is at $87k. This includes over $10k for a "Management Fee" and over $7k in Contingency. Also, markup on everything and labor out the wazoo.

After  it down, it seems it will cost at least $40k, but shouldn't be more than $50-60 if things go wrong.

But to me, we'd have to budget about $220k for the entire project to worth it.

Now its a matter of deciding whether I want to buy a completed home, or a project.
  • December 23 2008
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Profile picture for clayton790
The realtor sent me the estimate the old owner had to finish from a local contractor. It is at $87k. This includes over $10k for a "Management Fee" and over $7k in Contingency. Also, markup on everything and labor out the wazoo.

After  it down, it seems it will cost at least $40k, but shouldn't be more than $50-60 if things go wrong.

But to me, we'd have to budget about $220k for the entire project to worth it.

Now its a matter of deciding whether I want to buy a completed home, or a project.
  • December 23 2008
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