3 Factors that Determine the Cost of Your Boston Remodeling Project

We’ve all heard that the price of a home depends on three things: Location, location, location. We all know that’s an oversimplification, but it has more than a grain of truth.


Although it’s sometimes overlooked, geography also influences how much you’ll pay when you undertake a remodel or renovation. Partly because Boston is a desirable city and we’re experiencing a building boom, prices here are higher than in many other parts of the country. Our particular building styles, favored materials and the prevailing wage scale also factor in to the higher prices we pay, both for new construction, for resales and for remodeling.
Remodeling Magazine has an interactive recap of prices in various areas for many different kinds of projects, from adding insulation to replacing a garage door. You can compare  “average” prices for similar remodels in New England versus other regions, and you can also zero in on the data for Boston to get a broad picture.

Whether you’re planning a kitchen redo or you want to add insulation in your attic, you might wonder if spending the money is a smart move. Will you see a return on that investment should you decide to sell? The data also provides an insight into the improvements deemed most valuable at resale time. FYI: Saving energy is always a good deal, sometimes returning more than 100 percent of the cost!

Scope of Work

The type and extent of work is the biggest price determinant. Renovation can run to many thousands of dollars, even for simple cosmetic updates. But repainting and replacing materials, even throughout an entire house, will obviously be easier and, almost certainly, less expensive than removing and rebuilding walls, replacing windows, rerouting plumbing lines or adding new square footage.

As you prepare for your remodel, there are some good online resources to help you with initial legwork. Always consult with knowledgeable professionals before you get too deep in the process. Ask about the need for permits and inspections as well as getting quotes for materials and labor, especially if you plan exterior alterations in Boston historical districts, or you have a condo in a high rise or historic building to redo.


If structural work is needed, or if your dream includes adding on, building up or carving living space out of an unfinished basement or attic, call in the pros. Consult with an architect, structural engineer, space planner and/or an interior designer. Houzz.com provides some interesting statistics, in addition to having impressive photos and articles; you’ll also find listings of local professionals.

For major remodels, it’s not only the cost of the actual work, but the unexpected “surprises” that can boost the price. A “contingency” category in an estimate is not uncommon. Especially in old buildings, it’s difficult to know what lies hidden behind walls and under floors. Also, depending on the work being performed, there might be environmental concerns, including asbestos or lead paint. The need to bring older electrical and plumbing up to current code, or mitigating mold, mildew and decay will also add to the price.

Then there’s the stress factor! Weigh the pros and cons of living through a remodel project. That’s a cost of a different kind, but renovating can contribute to severe “lifestyle disruption.”

How Can NEBS Help?

Because we’ve been in the business for many years, we have a unique insight into the world of Boston home remodeling. No matter where, how hard or how big your remodel plans are, we have the requisite experience and expertise to help you and your contractor source proper materials and keep costs as low as possible. We even have kitchen designers on staff.

And if you want a new light fixture rather than just buying a new bulb, or if you’d rather replace the entry lock instead of having a new key made, we’ll help you with your DIY projects as well!