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Are prices really this high or I haven’t met the right professional

PLIERS | Posted in General Questions on

Hi hope everyone is doing well, having some trouble pricing out an addition. Confused as to wether I’m out of touch or everyone I meet is jacking up their prices. I want to build a slab on grade additional bedroom to the side my house prob 12×15 along with remodel of an existing kitchen. 3 architects have told me my budget would start at least 200-250k. I also want to just get my bedroom added and worry about my kitchen remodel after but they are telling me I can’t do it that way. Are they just looking for a larger job?  At 200k for a 12×15 room that would be 1100 a square foot. Even if the addition was 100k and the rest was the kitchen remodel that’s 550 square foot. I have been researching cost per square foot, I’m in a very expensive area westchester county ny but they say high end prices should be at most 500 per square foot. 

Is this realistic, it seems high for adding one room. If it cost this much for one room what the hell are people paying for an entire second story. Contractors won’t give me even a ballpark until I get blueprints which is anywhere from 12k-15k. If I need this much in total to do the job I don’t want to even commit to blue prints and then not have the funds to cover it. Seems off to me but I’m just looking for an accurate measure. If 3 people have told me the same it must be true but I can’t wrap my brain around it. I know supplies are up but that much for one room???

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  1. 1869farmhouse | | #1

    Does sound high, but I paid 10 dollars for a 2x4 last weekend - so who knows anymore.

  2. capecodhaus | | #2


    Can you be more specific as to why the kitchen remodel affects the bedroom addition.

    Are they're structural changes in the kitchen area of the house due to the bedroom addition?

    If not, do your own kitchen remodel. just hire for electrical/plumbing.

  3. hughw | | #3

    square foot prices don't mean much when you're talking about small square footages...for instance, the excavating costs alone for an addition twice as big might only be marginally higher....again, if the bedroom was twice the square footage, it wouldn't have twice the windows, twice the outlets, etc. etc. We recently designed a mostly cosmetic remodel of an existing free-standing "studio" on Martha's Vineyard of about 300 square feet and added a bathroom extension of about 70 square feet...cost was about $250K. In a high end area like Westchester or MV, it's almost like there's an entry fee to do almost any job, however small.

  4. PLIERS | | #4

    James, the kitchen remodel does involve opening an interior wall but it has nothing to do with structure of bedroom or even access to addition. Part of reason why I’m confused it has to be done at same time. Hugh as you mentioned there’s an “entry fee” to do any job. So as I suspected price is just inflated for area. Isn’t Martha vineyard only accessible by boat? That would explain the high cost there. Martha Vineyard I would think is a more high end and speciality work than a residential home in Westchester county. Again I could be wrong I just think even 150k at most for this work would make more sense minus the kitchen. A bedroom requires no plumbing or fixtures. It’s basically 4 walls with foundation and electrical/hvac

  5. hughw | | #5

    yes...cost on MV is influenced by transportation costs, but mostly due to an affluent community and high labor costs.

  6. user-2310254 | | #6


    If you have gotten three estimates that fall within a consistent range, I think you can trust that the information is accurate. I'm not an expert, but I know that small projects tend to be expensive when measured on a cost per square foot basis. For an extra bedroom or a bigger kitchen, it might be cheaper to move to a new house rather than trying to expand your current home.

  7. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #7

    Additions are often more expensive on a square foot basis than a new build for two main reasons:
    1- smaller projects cost more per unit area than larger projects
    2- additions have to deal with existing sites and structures that introduce variables and unknowns that the builder wouldn't have on a new build. Anything "unknown" is priced in as extra dollars.

    On top of that, building material prices have gone crazy this year. A 250 foot roll of 12-2 NM, common building wire, for example, is about $135 today. That same roll of wire was maybe $60ish last fall. Lumber has gone equally nuts. Drywall so far seems to be holding steady at normal prices, at least for now.

    The materials that you'll use the most of (lumber, wiring, piping) have all seen huge price increases in the last 3-4 months or so. That's probably a big part of the reason for your higher than expected estimates, and it's not the fault of the builder.


  8. Expert Member

    Rightly or wrongly, just like most other services - dog walking, contract killing, etc. - the cost of a project in any given place is what you can get a builder to commit to d0ing the work for.

  9. ohioandy | | #9

    Another reason for high quotes is that the contractors and professionals simply don't want a small job. They lob in an absurd number just to make you go away. This is the labor market we're in now.

  10. onslow | | #10


    Somewhat like the seven blind men describing an elephant, everyone has described one possible element of why the quotes you got are so high. The real elephant in your room quest is whether you can ever recover enough of the excessive cost should you need to sell the home. Not to be harsh, but can you guarantee you will have a job for the next 10 years? The payments you need to be making will.

    I am also doubtful that you will be increasing the resale value of your home by a quarter million dollars with the addition of one bedroom and a freshened up kitchen. Even in Westchester. You also will be on the hook for increased insurance premiums, higher property taxes and the principle and interest on any money you need to borrow for the project.

    The recovered percentages of remodeling costs is a subject that has been written about many times. Those historical percentages are likely pretty far off due to the current materials inflation. Google "recovered values of remodeling" for further reading. Be sure to note the year any article.

    If your need for the bedroom and kitchen do over is urgent, then maybe the total of direct and carried costs is supportable. Whether you will ever recover a reasonable percentage of those costs is doubtful. Maybe Westchester home values will skyrocket or maybe they will deflate. If you remain in the house for 10 years the kitchen redo will be essentially meaningless. I would refer you to the home shows; the first thing the clients or builders say must go is the kitchen. Doesn't matter if it is spotless and functional, the cry for subway tile must be satisfied. Of course, subway tile will be the first item that looks sooo dated in next season's show.

    The per square foot you derived is outlandish at best IF the 200K figure was for the bedroom only. If a kitchen "guesstimate" was rolled into the 200K number, then the number is a lot less wacky. I have done kitchens over with tiny budgets, but it is very easy to blow past 50-60K depending on appliance, cabinet and surface choices. I think it is safe to say that architects in your area regularly see kitchen only jobs in the 100K range. Add their 10-12% and the bedroom part seems less crazy. PortaPotty and permitting costs may also be a larger factor than you realize. If it really was 200K for the bedroom alone then that is just a number to make you go away or hold your ankles.

    As others have noted in various threads on GBA, the current covid crazy time is distorting just about everything. I am delaying my next build with the client's agreement. I have recently heard that the local lumber yard is not able to deliver goods already ordered for a new build and has no clear dates for when they can. I can't afford to get part way into the build and then be stuck not dried, crews going elsewhere, fighting weather while the job stalls.

    The futures market for lumber suggests relief ahead, but fire, tornado, and hurricane season may keep all of us in suspense. Edit: Just saw DC's update on futures out to March 2022 which are higher than I last saw. Maybe the great Texas freeze is affecting more than drywall demand. The great tech shift to Austin certainly generated some distressing posts about lumber quality in at least one build there.

  11. PLIERS | | #11

    Roger, thank you for breaking down all the possibilities. My intent is to stay in this home for the long haul, but no I will never recoup anything in a remodel. I think people seldom do unless they find ways to remodel in a smart way with gaining value and spending little. Seems to be impossible with the volatile market. Mentioning job security unless teachers are replaced with a robot I should make it 10 years. But nothing is certain these days.

    I need a bedroom soon but with everyone doing work on their home, getting permits is at least 3 months out. I could plan and remodel a little here and there myself for some time and try to price this out in 2022. Hopefully prices or supply at least stabilize, certainly not back to normal but something reasonable.

    I still think I have the option to only finish my bedroom and that is the architect or builder looking for only larger jobs. Are they trying to push me away for a larger job? It's possible being that 2 out of 3 said they couldn't take the work on right now. 1 architect flat out said I have big jobs lined up until next December.

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #12

      Architects, engineers, and contractors would all prefer to have a big job over a bunch of smaller ones. Big jobs are easier logistically, and typically are more profitable -- and also more secure since they run for longer periods of time. If you have someone with a year's worth of big projects lined up, you'll have to pay a lot extra to pull them away for a small job, and even then they might say "no".

      All the trades are really busy. That's going to make labor more expensive -- there isn't any spare capacity right now. If your project is part way done and you just need to finish a little, try to see if any of the contractors have some downtime between the big jobs. Sometimes you can be "filler" if you're flexible with scheduling and are OK with them setting the timetable based on when they have the occassional spare day or two.


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