Marshall and Swift Cost Estimator Book

6 Replies

Does anyone use this book...good?...bad?...indifferent?...Is there a better resource?...

Hi @Brandon Sturgill   , I haven't used it but just looked it up and it looks pretty comprehensive. How are you looking to leverage it? Are you an appraiser? Have you seen J. Scott's book on estimating rehab costs?

It's good for determining retail cost of renovation tasks.  As an investor, you probably don't want to pay retail, but it could give you a gauge of the very, very high end of where you'd ever want to be.

I used M&S when I worked at a property and casualty insurance company. It is definitely not designed with the intent of estimating repair costs as an REI. As @J Scott mentioned, the pricing is typically based on retail/commercial information and is generally high compared to what you should pay as an investor.  The book is very comprehensive, but I can't see it being very well leveraged for individual use.  There's a reason why a lot of contractors (roofers for example) love to work on insurance claims instead of for individual customers :)

I had a one of my neighbors trees come down in a storm.  Right through the roof of the carriage house/garage.  The adjuster happily offered $18,000.  Actual price?  A little under $7000.

Those books tend to use regional numbers.  They have to, really, in order for the sample sizes to be large enough to yield significant results.  But I am not going to be paying anything like what someone will pay in Boston, 50 miles away.

Last time I saw that book was when I was in grad school.  It is definitely designed for the insurance industry so that they can come up with a ball park figure.  Would not use it for any actual construction estimate.


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