Rehab Costs Revealed: The Living Room

This will most likely be a series in which I outline what it cost to rehab each room and ending with the total cost of the project.  I’ve kept careful track of my expenses and have categorized them by room so I could reference them for future projects and have an idea of what actual expenses are for work needed.

Some rooms where relatively cheap to complete, but some were expensive, especially for the size.  For example bedrooms didn’t cost much at all, but the bathroom was pricey for its size.


Taken from kitchen entry.  This was one large open space; my blank canvas.

I’m writing this to give those who might be giving self rehab real estate a consideration, but keep in mind that I’ve done 90-95% of the work myself and that is reflected in the cost.  You could take the same property but hire the work out and the cost would be substantially more.  There is real value in sweat equity if you have the time and the desire to do the work yourself.  I know for many this would not be a favorable solution.

Taken from the opposite end looking at what is now the living room.  Notice tiny window, ceiling fan that doesn’t work and peculiar ceiling vent that I had never seen before.

The living room was just recently completed and by recently I mean December of 2013.  I really wanted to finish this room as I wanted a place to relax other than just the bedroom, one of the first rooms I completed.  One of the things that caused me to procrastinate though was the dry wall work that needed to be done.  Drywall work comes in two forms, new construction and old.  By new I mean a whole room that has been built and your working with all new drywall.  I consider old work to be that which is combining some new drywall along with old work.  For example maybe you have a door you want to remove and close off (something I did in the bathroom) or you want to add a window to a room and need to patch new drywall with what already exists.  To make a long story short it takes different methods to handle each situation.  Drywall is not one size fits all, nor is anything else in construction for that matter.

Vent for AC/Heat that I thought was ugly.  Removed, patched hole, moved vent to different locale and replaced with a standard looking vent cover.

Since I had the new wall and closet to do from adding the third bedroom along with patching the dry wall around the newly framed double window I really, really, really didn’t want to take on this project.  However, I finally found motivation and set out to complete the living room.  After  multiple rounds of applying drywall compound and sanding it down (and repeating, repeating, repeating…) I had a finished product I could live with and looked good.

Framing for new bedroom.  This would add a wall and a new closet to the living room.

After the drywall was complete I spent a little time experimenting with different primer/paint combinations for new drywall.  The theory is that new drywall will soak up paint differently than a wall that has previously been painted.  Part of the enjoyment of this project is allowing myself time to try things out and not just be in a rush to complete.

Dry wall hung, finished and ready for primer.

I installed a new ceiling fan, two closet doors, flooring and replaced all the outlet/switch covers.  New flooring, baseboard and crown molding was also installed.  Giving the finished product a nice relaxing feel.

Big difference eh?

Enough commentary.  Lets take a look a what this cost.  Here is a list of what each item cost in transforming this room from the first photo you saw into the last one.

Rehab Costs: Living Room

  • Ceiling fan: 87.26
  • Outlet/Switch covers: 26.85
  • Paint/Primer/Supplies: 144.05
  • Flooring: 456.98
  • Crown Molding: 97.12 (includes hallway)
  • Closet shelves and corner bead: 36.74
  • Closet door (hallway): 82.83
  • Closet door (living room): 73.29

Total: $1005.12

As I mentioned before I performed this work myself which saved me a substantial amount of money.  Another thing to consider is the size of the project; the living room is only 182 sq. ft.  The foot print of the house itself is just under 900 sq. ft.  This is a benefit of a small home; you save a lot on material costs.  The numbers I provided above would have been much more if there was more space.

Could I have cut costs?  Sure.  If I hadn’t experimented with different primer/paint combos I could have cut the cost.  I could have also saved on going with basic outlet/switch covers instead of the brushed nickel ones I chose.  I could have opted not to install crown molding.  I will admit that I’ve been guilty of letting my personal preferences come through on many decisions involved in the rehab work.  This could be seen as good or bad depending on your perspective.  I believe that as long as I stay within my budget then the details will be appreciated when it comes time to sell.

If you have ever been curious of what some of the costs associated with rehabbing a home are I hope this sheds some light on the subject.  I’ve shown what some of the exterior costs were and will continue to do a break down of each room in the near future.  Plus keeping these records lets me know how I stand on the overall budget as well as giving me solid numbers to base future projects on.

3 thoughts on “Rehab Costs Revealed: The Living Room

  1. Congrats! I do most of my own maintenance and it definitely pays. This would make a great rental, if you ever decide to trade in for a larger home, or a different home.

    See my blog for a few tips on renting!

    • Thanks for stopping by! I’ve thought about possibly renting it out but I will likely try to sell first and move to the next one.

      I’ll certainly check out your blog as I’m consumed by all things RE these days. Have a great weekend!

  2. Pingback: Five Ways To Maximize Your Emergency Fund | The Stoic Investor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s