Cost to rebuild from the studs? New construction?

7 Replies

Does anybody have a ballpark idea of price per sqft for what it would cost to rehab a house that has to be taken down to the studs? Including demo, electrical, plumbing, walls, flooring, roof, etc. Basically just working with the existing foundation and what ever studs/framing can be salvaged on a house that has just sat vacant for however long. 

Similarly, what about new construction like adding more square footage onto an existing structure?

@Christina Traffanstedt   About $40/SF for me in Vermont, including the initial demo and hauling away of old materials.

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$40 sounds low if you need plumbing, electrical and heating work. Depends on s.f. the smaller the house the higher the s.f.

It will depend on several things. $40 is a decent overall average for more cosmetic and no structural issues, but some areas will charge more than others.  New build usually runs from $80-120 sqft (at least around here).  A lot will depend on what you put in the place. Formica counter tops, bottom of the line HD/Lowes cabinets, laminate floor will of course be much cheaper than granite, custom cabinets, and hardwood floors. When it comes to the wiring and plumbing it can be all over. Older houses have cast or galvanized pipes and aluminum or asbestos wire. Updating that would be significantly more costly than say a home from 15 years ago that has the wire you need but code requiring that it needs to be updated to say gfi's/afci breakers. So unless you get more specific with the age and amount of work needed, it will be hard to give even a close estimate. Building new is much easier to estimate because you know exactly what you are working with and can price the stuff out ahead of time (and most have the plans that have been built several times before). And if you are going to do it on the legal side (getting permits) then when you start messing with structure/supports then that opens a whole new aspect and expense having to deal with engineers and general contractors licensed to do that type of work. Most places wont let the home owner replace load baring walls/trusses/floor joist on a investment property. 

Originally posted by @Darrell Lee :

$40 sounds low if you need plumbing, electrical and heating work. Depends on s.f. the smaller the house the higher the s.f.

I've done a few in the central VT area, standard 3 bed / 2 bath, 1200 SF and came in around $50k.  Again, that's a gut rehab of the inside and includes minimal outside work as the clapboards were good and no painting was required.  New windows however.

Once the place is gutted, the electrical and plumbing go pretty quickly.  Most plumbers are using the new "plex" flexible piping, so no copper soldering,  extra fittings, etc.  We generally use the same contractors so that probably helps a bit on the price.

So that's my experience but I'm sure it varies a little across the country.

Agree with Pete's post too - certainly if you're adding bathrooms or things that require additional permits, certainly that can add up.

100 to 120 a foot for new builds in Oregon is about right .. what it really depends on is if you pulling new build full permits or just doing an addition and don't have to pay system development charges.

that can be 15 to 20 bucks a foot right there

@Pete Schmidt thanks! basically what I'm seeing are houses that were built in the mid to late 1900s and either the demo has already been started or they've just been left for years and you can stand on one end and see through to the other end. Entire walls missing down to the studs, patches of the ceiling gone, pieces of the pier foundation caving in, windows missing/broken out, etc. To the point where you can't even tell which rooms are supposed to be which, no cabinets, sinks, or doors in sight.

I don't see these and automatically think teardown but I do think it needs just about everything inside and out, up to rehabbed standards with granite and laminate hardwoods on the finished end so I am trying to get a better understanding for more significant level flips like this as opposed to just the standard cosmetic updates to a livable house that we'd otherwise be doing. Or maybe it is cheaper by that point to just finish the demo, teardown the house all together and rebuild from the foundation up?

@Jay Hinrichs Thank you! We wonder if adding onto the houses to say add more bedrooms or bathrooms would be worth the cost and make it sell for more on the back end. And are mainly thinking of new construction when it comes to getting bigger lots that can be subdivided then adding more units onto them and making them into rental properties so if we have a better idea of new builds with permitting and everything of course that would help when trying to analyze if it would be worth the cost on that front as well. If I'm understanding correctly, adding on to an existing structure will have potentially cheaper permits than separate new construction? would this apply to turning a single family into a multifamily with shared walls as well?

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