Remodeling Costs in Minnesota Highest National Average: Here’s How to Set a Budget

With home remodeling projects on the rise and supply chain issues, homeowners are seeing rising prices to upgrade kitchens, bathrooms, and beyond.

The hard truth is that these costs may be higher in Minnesota than the national average, according to the Minnesota chapter of the National Association for the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

Some members of the Minnesota NARI criticize widely-published national estimates — such as the average kitchen price of $25,000 — that they say do not take into account regional differences.

Beatrice Owen, NARI-MN CEO, said many factors — including aging homes and severe weather — play a role in driving up costs in the North.

Minnesota has an older stock of housing [about] 65% of homes are over 50 years old. what does that mean? “We don’t usually have as much insulation as we should,” she said. “With cold weather, as we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, we have some variance that other regions don’t necessarily have. We have really dry weather, and then we have really wet weather.”

Having to ensure that electrical and plumbing systems are code compliant and, in some cases, also reducing lead paint can increase remodeling costs.

“In Minnesota, the rules and regulations are a little bit stricter than in other areas across the country,” Owen said, adding that homeowners benefit from these rules and regulations, “but with that comes the costs as well.”

Cities and counties in Minnesota may also require permits for various stages of home remodeling that other parts of the country don’t typically do, added Bjorn Freudenthal of New Spaces in Edina.

“There are additional costs associated with licensing and removal of hazardous materials,” he said. “Take that and compare it to Texas, where you don’t have the licensing-permit kind of scenario, these places get a bit like the Wild West, so the remodeling costs are lower.”

To set a realistic home remodeling budget in Minnesota, local experts from NARI offered these tips:

Determine the scope of the project. Create two separate lists – one for wants and one for needs. Then select your ideal budget. “Get your quotes after you know what the project is,” said Michael Anshel, director of OA Design + Build + Architecture in Minneapolis.

Meet with the designers. Get some estimates. This will give you a real sense of the scope of the project and allow you to compare costs. It will also help determine if you’ll need to hire an installer or general contractor, Barak Steinlage, co-owner of Anchor Builders in St. Louis Park and president of NARI Minnesota, said.

Beware of low ratings. If it sounds too good to be true, it might as well be. Online estimates usually do not take into account regional differences. Such hypothetical estimates may not take into account overall plan, design, current conditions, labor and permits, as well as removal of hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead paint, Freudenthal said.

“Bad contractor stories come from people cutting corners and hiring unqualified people,” Anshel added. “When you’re pushing the bottom of a barrel, there’s no leeway for the contractor to solve problems.”

Make sure you have the appropriate permits. Find out if your project requires a permit from your city or county. If so, make sure you or the contractor gets one. This ensures work safety and compliance with building and construction and zoning codes. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it ultimately saves costs in the long run.

“If the homeowner or contractor does not withdraw the permits and something goes wrong, the homeowner is responsible for fixing the problem,” Anshel said. “This additional cost could be a large percentage of the original job, and maybe more.”

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