There is a great web site called Remodel Estimates that is worth a look if you are considering a renovation. It requires a US Zip Code so I used 98009 which is the city of Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle.
My sample renovation was to finish a 750 sq. ft. basement of a $ 500,000 home doing a bit of the work myself and using average finishings. The estimate I received was as follows:
“For your project, Basement, using average cost materials, where you will manage the project yourself and do a little of the work yourself, we estimate cost will be between $13,058 and $15,120. Estimated amount your home would appreciate by making this change is $17,242.”
I then went back and changed my assumptions to hiring someone to manage the project, doing none of the work (that’s more like me) and using expensive finishings. Here is the estimate:
“For your project, Basement, using expensive cost materials, where you will hire a contractor and do none of the work yourself, we estimate cost will be between $22,587 and $26,153. Estimated amount your home would appreciate by making this change is $17,242.”
While I can’t comment on the accuracy it is interesting to compare the cost of doing it yourself or hiring someone and it is also interesting that while the return on your investment is positive, it does not get any better by using expensive finishings.
The site is primarily designed to match people with local renovators, but I think it is a good starting point for any renovation. There is an affiliated site called Remodel or Move that is also a good resource.