Estimating the Cost of Home Improvements Before You Buy

Unless you’re buying a brand-new home in Lake Oswego, chances are you are looking at a lived-in one that needs some updating.

Knowing what those updates might cost should factor into your decision as to whether or not you can afford the house, and/or what your offer should be.

How do you determine that?

The best-case scenario is to have a builder/remodeler visit the home with you and give you an idea as to what type of budget you’re looking at.

But in the seller’s market we’ve been experiencing, time is not often on the buyer’s side to make an offer, and so having some “rough” idea of costs can help, and is often information a good Realtor can provide.

If you’re able to get your offer accepted, you then buy yourself the time to bring in a contractor and get the more nailed-down estimates you need.

But if you don’t find yourself with that luxury of time, here are some “rough” estimates provided by Remodeling Magazine specific to Lake Oswego.

Of course, costs will vary depending on the size of the project and the materials you choose as you can see with the estimates for a midrange kitchen remodel and an upscale one. In my experience, I have seen some of these updates add more to the resale value than what Remodeling Magazine is estimating, but again, this is where a hyper-local Realtor like myself can provide you with the information you need to make an educated decision.

One item that often comes up when looking at existing homes is replacing the hardwood flooring. According to Bob Villa, former host of This Old House, the national average for hardwood flooring is $8 a square foot. But again, the range is great depending on the materials you choose and he suggests figuring that 50 to 75% of your costs will go towards materials and the rest towards labor.

As for carpeting, materials alone can average $2 to $7 per square foot, reaching as high as $20 or more for high-end options, according to Home Advisor. Labor adds $0.50 to $1 per square foot.

Renovation costs are just one piece of information you need going into making an offer on a home. Local real estate values and appreciation are also key. Let me tap into my over 30 years’ experience as a Lake Oswego Realtor to provide you with the information you need to make the best decision when it comes to buying or selling your home. Give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at and/or check out my website. I look forward to working with you!

About lovelakeoswego

I feel pretty lucky—I live where I work and I love where I live. As a Realtor in Lake Oswego, I get to share that enthusiasm with clients every day. Through this blog, with the help of my freelance writer wife, Genita, I’d like to share that enthusiasm with you. The quality of life you’ll find in Lake Oswego belies its size—there is so much to experience here from a fireworks show over the lake on the 4th of July to the Festival of the Arts--one of the premier arts events in the region. So please check in each week for another reason why I love Lake Oswego and who knows—maybe you’ll fall in love too! If you’re interested in experiencing Lake Oswego personally, please feel free to contact me either on my cell at (503) 939-9801, via email at or check my website by clicking the link in the "Contact me" section in the right-hand column. I would love to show you around.
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