Gut Rehab Costs

61 Replies

I am just curious, what do you guys budget for a gut rehab on like a 1500 SqFt Single Family? I know it ranges, but I am interested in what the different costs are out there. When I mean gut, I mean, putting in new pipes, electric, walls, doors, everything. Even siding outside.

It will vary based on costs in your area and how high or low end you are going. You could easily be looking at $25-50 per sq ft.


If it is that extensive you should also get estimates based on just pushing it over with a bulldozer and starting from scratch at the foundation.

Nah, no need to bulldoze, there is still a lot of things that can be used, the structure, plus the brick. Basically at times I buy 4 walls and the inside has to be completely redone.

So, with that, I am curious as to what everyone on here budgets for that.

I own the construction company that does my rehabs, so my costs are not normal for the average folk. I can gut and rebuild entirely for 18-25K depending on level of finish. Thats of course me saving 50% over what most people do on materials, and paying my guys directly instead of paying full priced contractors. Normally I would budget 40-50K if hiring alot of it out, but then I wouldn't be in business either.

I do watch my guys and act as a general contractor, though your numbers are a bit lower than mine. I budget 30-35 per property for rehab. What is a good resource for getting the materials?

you are going to spend 35 easy. Could go to 50 depending on exterior plan.

PS, my last post was in thousands. If you want to see what you can do for $50/ s.f. check my site and look for "the abandonded house" Complete gut down to the studs with a mid/high end finish out including all new mechanicals, roof, windows, exterior stucco and landscape. Good luck!

Just checked out your "abandoned house" project and it was spectacular. I love what you do with the wood floors. That finish is superb.

Thanks Fake Guy, those floors are a glue down engineered 5" plank. They are available at Lumber Liquidators for around 3.50/s.f.

I must say, you did a damn nice job there. I love those floors. What are some other good resources for hardware?

My trick is to get "the look" without spending "the money" ha ha. All the tile is porc, not real trav. Cabinets are the cheap stain em' yourself models from Lowes. All the hardware is from big box local stores. You can find cheaper online but if you have a problem... the vinyl windows and roman style interior prehung doors are from a builders supply house. Thanks again for the props buddy.

I'de guestimate arund $75-80k. Any special reason your tearing the walls out?

Can't say I'm really familiar with the labor costs in CA, but I would estimate around $20- $25/sq ft for a complete interior remodel. That is assuming an average to above-average finish level on materials (i.e. no granite, travertine, etc.).

This is based on my experience in my area, so adjustments may be warranted.

$25 /sqft is only $37k. I doubt that would cover a gut rehab (incl. roof + siding).

Owen did say that was for an interior. $25/sq.ft. for a full remodel seems in the right ball park. A full gut to the studs with total wiring, plumbing and sheetrock replacement would be a bit more. Maybe $35/sq.ft.

Easy enough to call a few siding companies and just as a per square foot price. Some with give you a song and dance about needing to actually see it, but with a few calls you should find someone who can give you a ballpark figure.

$35 /sqft sounds better for the full job.

What design level does it need to be so that you are competetive with the surounding homes? Where in California is this house?

$35/ft for a 1500 sq ft house entire gut and rebuild would equal $52,500.. Thats probably using basic finishing. Not including exterior.

Originally posted by Sunil Bawa:
$35/ft for a 1500 sq ft house entire gut and rebuild would equal $52,500.. Thats probably using basic finishing. Not including exterior.

Depends on the area, but where I am (Atlanta metro), $50K would get you a full rehab (interior/exterior) on a typical 1400-1600 sq ft home.

I use $35 sq ft for complete rehab, basic finishings...

Guys your estimates are a trip.

Are you using licensed contractors with insurance? Workers comp, health insurance?

What are you or GC paying labor per hour?

Is your GC (sounds like you) doing any mark up or making any profit at all?

Totally to code rewiring a house, new HVAC, new plumbing PLUS finishes and cabinets, new roof and new siding (you must mean cheap vinyl), new windows and some landscaping for how much?

Please clarify.


Hi Diane,

I am in the same arena as J Scott with 35-50 bucks for full rehab. Not cheap stuff either. I am not sure why this shocks you as you are a contractor yourself. Of course we use licensed subs as we have to pull permits for our work. Its always advisable as unpermitted work can come back to haunt you in a RE transaction. Most investors are not paying GC's. As an owner/builder you can pull the permits yourself and oversee the subs saving 30%. Rewiring a house to code with permits and inspections in my town costs 3000 bucks. Complete new HVAC system runs about 1200/ton. Plumbers are getting 3500 to re-do a remodel from scratch. I just did a 36 square 30-year roof for 5k for materials and labor. Labor runs 20/sq for each layer (meaning tear off or new layer install etc.)

Vinyl dual pane windows can be found anywhere/anysize for under 180 each. Installing them is very simple for most DIYers. Exterior siding varies in different parts of the country. Stucco is very cheap in California running about 1.50 s.f. but here in Texas its the "new thing" and there are not as many tradesmen so it runs 3.50 s.f. Hardiplank is popular here in Texas but looks very "track home" so we stay away from it with our rehabs. Vinyl siding isnt really all that cheap either but we stay away from it as well.

How do these numbers differ from your experience Diane? I dont see many rehabbers make it long in this business paying General Contractors. Remember, we are trying to make money here, not make the most fancy and expensive high-end remodel possible for ourselves to live in.

I think it needs to be said, the materials you choose should fit the price range and neighborhood that you are working in. For example we wouldnt put custom mahogany windows in a 200k neighborhood where most homes have single pane alum. and the nicest existing remodel has dual pane vinyl.

Also it should be said that we dont pay "homeowner" prices. We make it clear to our sube that we are investors and dony pay phone book prices. By the way, none of our subs come from the phone book, only referrals. You cant pay retail prices and make money flipping houses.

Check my site, "Abandonded House" was done for under $50/s.f. and you can see everything was redone. On the "Craftsman Bungalow" I spent $35/s.f.

We are working on a new project called the "Hat trick House" where we have added a 450 s.f. master suite and we will still come in well under $45/s.f. for the complete remodel with all new mechanicals and interior finishes.

Good luck everyone, I hope these numbers serve you well.

Tom your projects and your web site look nice and I hope they sell quickly. You put some very nice features in these homes. I also want to point out that you have good taste. Things really "fit" esthetically when you are done.

Do you have employees? Do your subs? Or are they hiring day labor? Whats the labor rate where you are? Are you paying yourself for your time on the job working? Do you track your own time? Do your employees have health insurance? The subs employees? What happens if they get hurt on your job?

Are you a member of one of the pro remodeling groups?

When you buy, do you look at Sale Price minus COGS and fees to arrive at your profit? Or are you looking at COGS multiplied by mark up, plus all costs/fees, plus profit = sales price?

In our area, I'm pretty sure our pay rates are higher than in your area. A plumber and a helper is going to be about $250 a day here. My electricians labor is a little lower. Both of course are effected by material cost fluctuations.

Another thing we must do in our area is only hire fully insured subs which includes workers comp + CGL. Our own insurers insist on it and will back bill us if we have under insured subs or "sole props".

We do have to wait 4 weeks for permits minimum here. We need permits for dumpsters on the street for example and we pay to park them there every week.

Around here you are going to spend closer to $70 - $80 a sf cost. for any gut rehab using nice products, not high end, nice lighting designs, and having some design help.

To stay on top of costs to rehab here, we are very surgical in the demo so we can't use "neck down guys". We need skilled fast guys who know how to be careful. Then we rehab surgically as well. We pick out particular rooms or areas to focus on and then tie in with the finishes.

Also I rarely buy a shell since the costs to rehab combined with the shell costs can get too high. The owners of shells here all think they are full of money making potential or maybe gold.

I know a remodeler in western California and they had to pay $90 in FICA and similar state and insurance fees for every $100 they paid their employees. Ouch.

All this goes to say there are clearly costs to where you work in the country. "Cost" is never gonna be "price" for any subs, suppliers, or other pros.

Thanks again


Wow, glad I don't try to work there. My $35 estimate including permits, and licensed electric and plumbing. In my area, only a GC can pull permits for a non-OO property, so that's included, too.

That said, I spent about $140 a foot for a kitchen remodel in my own house. That's very high end finishes, moving walls, and a fair bit of plumbing and wiring.

Keep in mind that there are different "levels" of contractors...not necessarily better or worse, but focused on different markets.

Certainly, I can find a GC who will remodel a kitchen for me for $30K (or even $60K).

At the same time, I can get custom cherry/oak cabinets for $3K, WilsonArt countertops for $1K, new ceramic tile flooring for $800, a travertine backsplash for $200 and all new stainless (the fake stuff) appliances for $1400.

So, basically the same job for under $6500. That includes permits (where necessary), and I would never use any contractors who didn't have workman's comp and general liability insurance.

What's the difference between the $6500 contractors and the $30K contractors? The clientele that they serve.

The $30K contractors are getting about 10% of the jobs they bid, but are getting huge profit margins on their work. The $6500 contractors are doing seeing much smaller profit margins, but between me and a couple other investors, they're staying busy all year round.

To Tom's point, if I were to replace a roof today, I'd pay about $70/square in materials and $42/square in labor (plus $310 for the dumpster). This EXACT SAME roofing company (they're a reasonably big company here in Atlanta) would charge a typical homeowner about $170/square. What's the difference? The relationship we have and the fact that we can provide some volume (they've gotten three roofs out of me in the past two months).

I can't speak for others (though I suspect that the previous posters are the same), but all my jobs gets the required permits (and in Atlanta now that often requires a GC), all my contractors and their subs have insurance, and they all sign W-9s (tax reporting form) and Independent Contractor agreements before the work begins.

Btw, here is an interior gut rehab (half the house to the studs, the other half to bare drywall, all new mechanicals, fixtures, etc) that we just cost was just under $36K for the 4/2 1400 sq ft house:

Here are the demo pictures to give an idea of the work that was done:

This didn't include new plumbing or a new furnace, but that would have added $3500 and $1500, respectively. The price did include a new back deck ($2000) and a LOT of landscaping ($2500).

Overall, it came out to $35 per sq ft for this job...and you can see the results for yourself...

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