george_liang

Before & After $17k Full Master Bathroom Remodel (Modern)

George Liang
June 29, 2018
last modified: June 29, 2018

Hello everyone, I just completed my bathroom and I wanted to share it! Thank you for viewing.

  • Matte White 12x24" tiles, Carrara Marble Hex tiles for shower pan
  • Arc TrueDEK curbless shower pan
  • Opti-clear glass partition
  • Delta SS Ara fixtures
  • Amazon vessel sinks
  • Soaker tub (no fixtures installed yet)
  • Custom Walnut cabinets and wardrobe, white quartz countertop
  • Dyconn LED Mirrors
  • Dyconn bidet toliet
  • Velux Skylight
  • LED recessed lights

After:











Before:









Construction:











Comments (98)

  • PRO
    George Liang thanked Greenfield Exterior Painters
  • Sharon

    Love the skylight over the shower. Whole space is an amazing update!

    George Liang thanked Sharon
  • Related Discussions

    Master spa bathroom finished! Before & After photos

    Q

    Comments (10)
    Hi ritasj The shower is actually huge, it's just hard to get a photo that shows it. It's 3.5 x 5 feet. But I didn't know you could put a hanging fixture in a shower; do you have an example? amelialouise3 It is porcelain Leonia Sand from Lowes, but it wasn't ideal because each piece had a crown so it couldn't all be made flat. My tile guy worked hard to balance it all out on the floor, but by the time he got to the shower he was losing it so the unevenness is more obvious there. After that he bailed and we finished the job ourselves. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend the tile due to the crowning. The black tile in the shower and on the back splash is lava, which is appropriate since the bath is on the Big Island of Hawaii.
    ...See More

    Before & After Bathroom Remodel

    Q

    Comments (21)
    i'm uncomfortable with it too, stamps design. i'd want a longer stem on the rainhead, but then of course the glass panel isnt wide enough to keep the water in. its looking like style over splashes to me, please everyone who has a panel that small let me know if i'm wrong, i'd love it for a 3rd floor bathroom instead of a shower curtain.
    ...See More

    Bathroom Remodel Before & After...

    Q

    Comments (10)
    As long as the customer is happy. Not my style tho. Tired of tan bathrooms.
    ...See More

    Our Master Bathroom Remodel - Before & After

    Q

    Comments (23)
    The remodel is amazing! The white gives it a fresh, clean look. The subway tile and fixture choiceS really makes the design pop! AMAZING JOB!
    ...See More
  • ksc36

    Doesn't the "industry" require contractors to post their license number on all their advertising? Nit picking a nice job completed by a homeowner does nothing for the "industry".

  • Helen

    Tundra - My remark was in response to a poster stating that it was laminate rather than wood veneer since I found it impossible to determine from the pictures. Wouldn't the appropriate post to have been to ask what materials the cabinet was made of rather than to make a derogatory comment about their cheap construction which turned out to be wrong.

    I have no issues when people with expertise point out actual discernible issues in something. I have learned a lot by commentary on how things should be done but there seems to be some posters who thrive on just being nasty when there is absolutely no objective educational reason for the post.

    What was gained by stating it was laminate - even if the information had been correct. The cabinet was already done. There was no advice regarding future maintenance of laminate versus wood veneer. The OP hadn't been snookered by paying for wood. The sole purpose of the post was to make the OP feel embarrassed - there was nothing educational about it nor was the intent to educate anyone.

  • PRO
    Creative Tile Eastern CT

    @ksc36 No the industry does not. States may require it. Again misinformation. The OP hired tradesman and did not do the work himself. More misinformation. Notice Tundra, myself and others stated "nice job" before questioning the cost of such a project. Which the OP himself agreed may be inaccurate. George has researched several threads and put a good effort into executing his project. Certainly more than many. (capillary break). He has also been very open minded throughout this thread. A credit to him. Having things such as improper CBU installation pointed out may actually help someone reading this thread or even the OP if a problem were to arise down the road. Perhaps instead of nit picking a thanks for pointing out the proper method would be appropriate. This is not advertising. It is pro's using personal time to help folks weed out the BS found on public forums. Yes we do it to help our industry. What accurate information did your comment provide? None. My apologies to the OP I'm usually reserved.

  • Sammy

    “"assumptions people make from a picture on the internet and then feel free to criticize for no constructive reason."

    Plenty of reason starting with correcting misinformation that effects the entire industry we work in.”

    Exactly—the misinformation YOU are posting does affect your industry, Tundra Finish Works LLC.


    “"we followed the instructions"

    Hardiebacker 101. Tiling 101.

    From J Hardie:

    2 | Determine layout of HardieBacker® cement board
    • Stagger all HardieBacker® cement board joints. Do not align with subfloor joints.
    "Never allow all four corners of boards to meet at one point".
    • We recommend an 1/8” gap
    between board edges.
    • Keep sheet edges 1/8” back from
    walls and cabinet bases.
    • Score and snap boards to required

    sizes and make necessary cutouts.”

    Unless a picture was removed which showed it, Tundra Finish Works LLC, I’m not seeing four corners of Hardiebacker—installed as underlayment—meeting at one point.

    Nice looking bathroom, George!

  • Sammy

    “Doesn't the "industry" require contractors to post their license number on all their advertising? Nit picking a nice job completed by a homeowner does nothing for the "industry".”

    I don’t know about industry requirements, ksc36, but I’m fairly certain that Houzz requires a contractor who sets up a professional account to post his license number and perhaps his phone number.

  • Helen

    Since my comment seems to be the source of this digression I want to clarify that I have NO issues at all with professionals or others with expertise who critique techniques or advise against certain materials for functional reasons.

    My comment was solely in connection with a barbed comment that seemed to have no purpose other than to make the OP feel bad.

    Even if the post was solely regarding cost of the cabinetry, wouldn't it be kinder and more productive without taking additional time to write something like - that is a great price for walnut veneer - is it veneer or just laminate.

    My post actually was a question since I couldn't figure out how anyone would determine from the posted pictures whether it was veneer or laminate and I was genuinely curious as to how someone would make that determination and then post about it.

    Generally when posts are constructive, they are pointing out why something is wrong - or even in terms of aesthetics, how a floor should have been laid or tile been set.

  • PRO
    Creative Tile Eastern CT

    That barbed comment was directed at another barbed comment which lead to your comment which I took as a barbed comment:) Things don't always come across properly in type. Just think we have an entire generation with typing as the main form of communication. What could possibly go wrong? Best to all.

  • Helen

    Without belaboring it further, I understood that something went awry in terms of posts offering genuine helpful information - even if the posts are bed news for the poster - versus some posts that seem to just be critical of stuff.

    My post was extremely micro as it really was just to determine how you could differentiate laminate from wood veneer based on the snapshots posted since to me I could hardly tell it was walnut on it my pretty good monitor except for the color :-)

    And then I posted out that unless you actually have expertise why post a negative comment at all or even post at all? What was the purpose of stating unequivocally that it was laminate especially when it turned out to be veneer?

    Personally I have no problems with people critiquing because that's how I gain information and I don't need people to pussy foot around to spare my feelings but I do think there are certain posts that aren't informative but merely are posted to make the OP feel stupid or embarrassed or whatever. When directed at me I just generally shrug them off but in this specific instance it the original post claiming it was laminate seemed egregious since it served no purpose.

    Anyway, not that George needed defending but it's pretty hard to remember every single line item for a specific room when multiple rooms are being done - and in my case I am avoiding adding up everything to some extent because the totals might keep me up at night :-) Whether his bathroom was $17,000 or $22,000 I think the real point is that he managed to get an extremely high end looking bathroom for far less than people might think looking at it so congratulations to George who choose materials and fixtures wisely for a great end result that looks far more costly than whatever he actually paid since it clearly wasn't $50,000.

  • Sammy

    Wait: Who’s barbing whom?


  • pennydesign

    Oh, please...Don't try to make yourselves look good by touting your criticism as 'helping someone else down the line' or 'correcting misinformation to help others'....

    Nobody's buying it...

  • Simona Stafano

    George, very ,very good transformation for this cost! You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. It is amazing that SoCal have these lower labor cost. Sometimes watching some HDTV shows fro So Cal, I could not believe the cost mentioned... I did something similar double electric mirrors, quartz countertop and glass tiles behind the mirrors 3500 DIY for 8ft double vanity. Electrical was done by friend and o no.. permit was not needed... very bitter posts in regards to permits. Looks like normal people like us without doctorate in electrical installations can not understand when permit is needed.


    George Liang thanked Simona Stafano
  • George Liang

    It is unfortunate that my tiler didn't stagger the cement board, I didn't do enough research on proper the installation. In the event that the tiles crack in the future, I'll have him redo it following the manufacturers installing instructions.

    I appreciate the heads-up. I do believe that the pros are here to help and provide knowledge for everyone, had @Thundra not mention the installation error, I and others here may have never known.

  • lc

    Bathroom looks very nice. We are also in SoCal and in the middle of an addition and renovation. Your costs do seem pretty incredible. Wish ours were similar. Your house must not be in a fire zone. We tried to get skylights but were told they were not allowed because we are in a fire zone.

    George Liang thanked lc
  • chispa

    Simona, SoCal does not have lower labor costs. I paid $40K in labor alone, to gut and remodel my master bath about 3 years ago. Paid about $25K (labor only) to gut/remodel a small secondary bathroom last year. I am currently paying about $50K (again labor only) to gut/remodel my kitchen. Using skilled and insured GCs with permits.

    Notice the invoice was in Spanish, so yes you can find some cheap labor in this area and many of them are not not licensed or insured, some aren't qualified for the job either. Buyer beware. And before the PC police come at me, I am not a native born American either and can read that invoice.

  • hemina
    Ok-I called the number you sent but I might have written it down wrong, and can’t figure out how to dm you. Can you resend?

    Also, was the ARC true Dek cost included in labor/plumbing? I saw it was around $1300 on Amazon, depending on size. Tub and sinks were also in the plumbing cost of $9122? Did you do your own electrical? So once I add in the missing pieces and items gifted (and taxes, profit, and permits) and we’re looking at much more than $20k for the rest of us. Especially once you add in costs for plumbing/fixtures for when the tub gets installed.

    Don’t get me wrong...I think you did a great-looking job, and you clearly got great deals on what you used, but I do think it’s misleading to not include some costs if someone was using this as a guide for how much this kind of work should cost them. Most people can’t be as involved to watch the installers, know when they are doing something wrong, and have the desire to potentially wreck their investment by disregarding permits/inspections.
  • lc

    Tundra Finish Works, I did read the thread. Probably didn't understand some of the technical discussions. That is why I have a GC doing the work. It took us two years to get our permits on what the architect said was relatively straightforward scope of work. We have spent way more money than what the OP spent on the bathroom just getting the plans approved. This whole process has been a wringer for us. We are trying to do things the right way, but we can't believe this process can be so convoluted. It has been almost three years since we started. Can't I just comment on what I thought was an incredible price and wish the best to the OP? Maybe if we had gone the route the OP selected we would be in our house already!

  • George Liang

    @hemina, Daniel (909) 630-3294. The some items like the fixtures and tub I received as gifts. But I did pay around $1300 for the Arc TrueDek. The only major electrical work was the recessed lights, which cost $35 per light, running the mirrors was also $35 each. Like with anything, you can spend $200 on all your fixtures of you can spend $2000. If I were to purchase the Delta Ara fixtures, it would have been about $1000 for the two faucets, and shower trim kit, plus the rough in valve kit. The tub was around $1,000 from Homedepot.com, plus you need a faucet for that.

    But overall, if you include some of the items I forgot and items that were gifted, it would have been around the low $20s. I tried to change the title, but I clearly didn't spend $17k, but out of my pocket, I spent closer to $20k

    12x24 Tiles: $2455.66

    White Quartz Counter top: $794

    Installing: $200

    Tile and plumbing labor: $9122

    Glass: $998

    Walnut Cabinets: $1285

    Walnut Closet: $1950

    Dyconn Toilet: $1350

    Dyconn Mirror: $660

    Velux Skylight + install: $710

    Delta Rough in valve kit (multi choice with diverter): $106

    Arc TrueDek: $1300

    Arc TrueDek drain: $200

    Total out of pocket: $21230.66

    Gifted items:

    Delta Ara SS Fixtures: $1000

    Tub: $1000

    Vessel sinks: $110

    Demo of the entire house: $1500, but if I was to separate the masterbath, then I guess it would have been $300-400.

    This was all I can think of, I don't believe I'm missing anything now.

  • George Liang

    @Ic, I understand the importance of permits and doing it the right way, but 2 years to get permits seems unusual. I remodeled my entire house which is only 2500 sqft, including 1 master bath, 1 half bath, 1 quarter bath, full kitchen, wall removal, stair cable railing, complete garage makeover (including new drywall, lights and epoxy floor), new outlets, new extra wide solid wood pivot entry door with glass inserts, 10 new modern solid doors, Cement plaster accent wall, Dunn Edwards primer, and Benjamin Moore Aura paint, plus exterior paint and patch up stucco for less than $90,000 and it took less than 4 months. I used the best quality materials I could afford.

    Here's my kitchen reno:

    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/20k-modern-kitchen-remodel-before-and-after-dsvw-vd~5351775

    Pics of my master bedroom and living room


  • hemina
    Thanks!
  • PRO
    Designer Drains

    From green carpet nightmare, to modern luxury! Great job!

  • Erika Burchfield

    Wow! Great job! How much time did it take?

  • lc

    George L., we are located in an unincorporated area, so it is Los Angeles county jurisdiction. It is not unusual unfortunately: combination of large volume of work and plain stupidity, pardon my language. We had to go thru three building planners to get approval. The first one got fired, the second one retired, and the third one is young and just started and everything had to be checked. Of course, each one interpreted things differently, so lots of revisions.

    Our house will be similar size when done and we can't afford to touch the garage. I can not even begin to relate to your budget. We are adding about 1100 sq ft to the original 1500 sq ft, so scope of work is different. Just the construction budget without any finishes will be at least four times your number. This is by far not even the highest quotes we got. Our highest quotes from GCs are at least 25% more.

  • aprilneverends

    George, you've been incredibly gracious throughout the thread..kudos to you, really. It's a reveal, and reveals usually have slightly different rules..well at least in my experience. Congrats on your beautiful bath!

    But having said that, I do find it a very interesting and informative discussion..as I live in So Cal too and we went through a huge remodel..the costs of yours are really hard-to-imagine-good..the timeline too...where in So Cal are you? if you don't mind answering, of course. After all So Cal is quite big too. It might make a difference? Apologies if you mentioned it already, and I missed it when reading the thread.

    (we're in Southern OC. yes permits are needed, yes labor costs are very high, yes to many things mentioned upthread)

    George Liang thanked aprilneverends
  • PRO
    Mint Tile LLC

    Me neither it should be 1/2

  • PRO
    Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.

    The issue here is that the cost wasn't really $17k. Based on hermina's post, it was actually $24k, using unlicensed contractors and no permits, which is still a really good price if you are ok with not exactly doing it legally and if you, the homeowner, take on the bulk of responsibility in ensuring everything is done to code. I'm confident given George's honesty here that he will fully disclose to future buyers that he did not have a permit for the remodel and hopefully any future inspections will show that everything was completed professionally and safely. And again, I give him a lot of credit for being so forthright after being questioned about the cost listed in his title. I think this thread turned out to be very informative because of it!

  • Simona Stafano

    Why we are so obsessed to be more expensive? You don’t know George and how he obtained total cost. Looks like he went thru a complete remodel of the whole house. Very nice and congrats to him! Some people have their own design sense and he followed thru and he should be proud with it. There are still plenty of people that will need designers and someone to guide them thru remodel. He saved money from design, general contractor, material cost, smart choices and found effective cost labor. Don’t call it cheap - cost is relative thing from state to state, area to area. Also it is not mansion, neither is multimillion dollar house to be so critical. So, these permits again, please explain for this bathroom remodel on existing house which one is so important and how much is it to obtain?

    George Liang thanked Simona Stafano
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    The cost of the permits is significantly higher when you can’t sell your home because of an illegal remodel. Or, if you want to get one retroactively, in order to sell your house with no hang ups, and the AHJ wants it all torn back to the studs do that it can actually be inspected. Tell me how much not getting a permit costs then, over getting one now?

  • Denita

    ^This is exactly right. The liability rides with the property. So OP, make sure you get the permits otherwise the improvements go to waste (essentially). Here the fines are up to $1000 per day from code enforcement for work done without a permit. Find out the remedy available to you before you have to get penalized.

  • PRO
    Ancient Stone

    What a stunning remodel!

    George Liang thanked Ancient Stone
  • Simona Stafano

    Let’s help George,what permits he needs to get? Very close friend did very similar remodel without skylight, with general contractor, designer and 51k spent. No permits were needed.

  • chispa

    Simona, permits can vary by town and county, so George needs to figure that out by going to his local Building/Zoning office or look it up on his town's website.

    It also goes beyond just a permit cost. The assessor is also involved. I already got a letter from the LA County Tax man wanting to know what I put in my new kitchen, that isn't even finished yet. You can bet they will use that information to increase my RE taxes. Will George be paying his share? No one wants to pay extra taxes, but when you don't pay your share, you just put that burden on your neighbors.

  • Helen

    Chispa - I also just got that letter which was an unpleasant surprise. :-( They even ask about appliances which would seem to have nothing to do with assessed value. In normal circumstances who even reports a new refrigerator.

    When I checked the permit website for Los Angeles, I saw that it listed a permit for a dishwasher which I had installed. Evidently the installers pulled the permit since I believe in Los Angeles, any improvement about $500 needs to have a permit but I'm not entirely sure.

    Also there seems to be some differentiation between improvement and maintenance. I have been told that once you receive a new assessment you can fight it and they even have companies which do it for you - which I might do since they probably have more expertise than I would in how to minimize the assessment.

    If I am paying a GC his fee and sales tax on lots of the materials, why wouldn't those be excluded.

    Also it would seem to have no rhyme or reason since someone could actually increase FMV but spend less than someone else.

  • Brittney E

    We're redoing our bathroom ourselves and pulled a permit - it was only $300 - they basically have to come after we're done with electrical and plumbing to inspect, back when we do the water proofing for the shower to do a flood test, and then final inspection at the end, this is in the Bay Area which I have to imagine has similar pricing as LA

  • bry911

    You can bet they will use that information to increase my RE taxes. Will George be paying his share? No one wants to pay extra taxes, but when you don't pay your share, you just put that burden on your neighbors.

    I am not 100% sure I agree with your logic. When the premise is doing your share for ad valorem taxes, I would argue it is questionable.

    The other side might note that property improvements have an effect on the value of surrounding homes as well. So while you paid to improve the value of your property, your neighbors got value from your improvement without paying. So they, rather than you, are the freeloaders.

  • Helen

    It's not the permit itself that is expensive but that you would have to make sure that everything is up to Code and also nothing can be grandfathered in which means you might have to do upgrades you weren't contemplating.

    Not that I am suggesting one shouldn't get a permit and actually if one is remodeling, it might actually be a good idea to ensure that everything is now up to Code standards especially stuff having to do with safety like electrical wiring and plugs.

    Of course some of the stuff is unnecessary IMO like not allowing certain types of knobs that aren't ADA compliant since there is no reason for all people to need certain kinds of door knobs if they have no issues since it is pretty easily changed if necessary.

    And I am still frothing about having to have a kitchen sink that is UPC certified with a stocker when the sink I wanted was actually higher quality and made of 100% virgin copper versus cheap stainless sinks of questionable origin.

  • Helen

    Internal improvements have no impact on your neighbors' property value until your property is sold in which event it would be used for comps for homes of comparable square footage value.

    If a tree falls in the forest does it make a noise if no one hears it?

  • chispa

    Helen, I am basically doing a kitchen replacement for an 18 year old kitchen. You would see nothing wrong with the old kitchen in photos. The appliances were high end and all working, although having some service calls. The remodel is for our enjoyment and not really bringing that much added value for the money we spent. I am not sure how to tackle the LA tax form, as far as the appliances go. I just got new versions of what was there. I replaced the DW which was newer with an integrated version, so the only improvement was in looks ... but they are going to tax me on that? I could have kept the appliances, but it didn't make sense to size opening based on appliance sizes that might no longer be available. I might make a call to my Realtor and get her opinion on the form.

  • jellytoast

    Im in So Cal and my kitchen remodel and bath remodels (with permits) did not increase the assessed value of my home. Without increasing square footage, the assessed value stayed the same. It appears the same is true in LA ... "Assuming you are remodeling or replacing what already existed, [kitchen and bath remodels] would typically be excluded from assessment." Adding A/C to my home (with a permit) did result in a reassessment because I wasn't simply replacing an existing A/C unit, but was rather adding A/C where there was none previously. It didn't amount to much.

  • chispa

    jelly, then why bother sending out the letter when my permit was clearly for a kitchen update with no square footage change? And they specifically ask for the cost of the appliances and cabinets.

    I guess when you have Prop. 13 you have to try to get whatever extra dollars you can from home owners!

  • bry911

    Internal improvements have no impact on your neighbors' property value until your property is sold in which event it would be used for comps for homes of comparable square footage value.

    Why in the world does that matter?

    The entire property tax argument is a bit silly, the marginal gain of increased property values (even if deferred) versus the spread cost is just a rather precarious position. The entire idea of being penalized because you decided to improve your home is a bit ridiculous. Especially if you are simply remodeling.

    Made worse by the entire assessment process. When I teach students how property taxes are assessed, they all think I am joking so I pull out dozens of examples to prove it. The formula for property tax ssessment is

    (tax revenue desired × (1 - uncolloectible rate)) ÷ tax rate = property values.

    In other words, they don't take the rate times the property value to figure out how much money they have, they instead use the money they need to find out how much they need to increase property values.

  • Helen

    FWIW it's somewhat different in California because of the Jarvis amendment since property taxes can only go up a very small percentage and the base price is one's purchase price.

    Those above 55 have the ability to carry their original tax to a house bought after age 55 even if that house has a higher purchase price (with certain guidelines).

    Therefore at least in California, there is no reassessment ordinarily except when a house is sold and except for the relatively small percentage increases permitted. In my building the same apartment can be assessed for $100,000 to $800,000 depending on purchase price.

  • chispa

    bry911, look up Prop 13 in CA. In addition to what Helen said, you can pass your house to your children and they get to keep that original tax base too. You can't support schools and other services when 2-3 generations get to pay RE taxes based on a property's 1970's value or whatever year they bought ! I'm sure it seemed like a good idea, but those of us who are new to the state get to make up the difference. Coming from other states that used the method you mentioned, it was hard to understand the CA system, but that goes for many of the ways that CA govt runs things ...

    There was also some loopholes for commercial properties and many are also paying taxes on their 1970's values (I don't remember the exact year Prop 13 was passed, maybe 1976). One reason why many businesses will never expand out of their current buildings.

  • Helen

    Not to hijack the thread but the justification for the amendment wasn't really terrible although it now has appalling results in terms of funding for necessary services. That along with the 2/3 rule for taxes has essentially turned California in to a third world state to a certain extent versus what it used to be in terms of education and roads and services.

    To some extent it was intended to help people stay in their homes when the neighborhood property values had escalated but those people still had relatively modest incomes.

    However, in practice that rationale shouldn't also protect commercial property owners who aren't in the class of people who bought before their neighborhood became exclusive.

    Protecting private owners isn't that unique. In New York City, property taxes for homeowners are also far below their normal assessment because the property base includes so much valuable commercial property and other sources of income. Conversely tax rates in the NJ and Westchester suburbs are incredibly high because private housing is almost the only source of income for the school systems and people in those areas move principally because of the reputation of the school districts.

  • chispa

    Helen, I know those markets too! What we did in my old town in MA was pass an exemption for the elderly/retired who can show a need to have reduced RE taxes. I have no problem paying a bit more to help individuals like that, who qualify.

    Plenty of very wealthy people in my town in LA who bought 40 years ago and are paying taxes on a $200K valuation, on a house that is now worth $3 million. That is the other problem, retirees who have no incentive to move, making the RE market more competitive for the fewer houses that do turn over.

    I'll stop now ... Prop 13 just annoys me and forces parents in my town to spend lots of time raising private funds to keep our public schools competitive.

  • bry911

    We generally prefer historical cost basis over any time of assessment, so what you paid for an item. However, one problem with the historical cost basis for ad valorem taxes is it adjusts for realized gains and losses while not adjusting for holding gains and losses. This means that two identical houses would pay two different taxes based on the last time they were sold. This isn't quite fair so to remedy this, ad valorem taxes are occasionally adjusted to compensate somewhat for holding gains and losses.

    In other words, we don't want people who bought 3 acres next to Central Park 65 years ago, to be paying property taxes on $100,000 when an identical property next door pays taxes on $15,000,000. That is the entire purpose of adjusting property values.

    Improvements aren't simply holding gains, it is putting money into the structure so that it is nicer. If you want to fairly tax improvements you would need a tax on the increased value less a tax credit the amount paid over the marginal assessment value.

    So, the premise that you have some moral obligation to pay marginally higher taxes because you spent $50,000 for a nicer kitchen that adds only $20,000 to the property value, is one I find questionable. In other words, if you paid more for the remodel than it added in property value you should get a tax credit against the increase. However, that is far too complicated and thus taxing jurisdictions who are acting efficiently and attempting to be fair, avoid increasing valuation for improvements and replacements, but do increase valuation for additions.

    Now this is completely different than rules that allow select groups to avoid assessment for holding gains and losses.

  • Helen

    Out of curiosity, how does the issue of permits come up during sale.

    As far as I know, permits are required for any work over $500 here in Los Angeles and so theoretically even replacing a faucet with an expensive faucet.

    People pull permits for major work for the most part but how would someone know whether your counter was "permitted" or the cabinets or wood floors or whatever else that is required to be permitted.

    I didn't get a permit when I changed my counters or put down wood flooring a few years ago (just examples) because it didn't enter my naive mind that it would be required. If I were changing electrical or doing major plumbing work or doing structural work, of course. But changing a sink? Changing a faucet which all theoretically require permits - at least my understanding of the literal meaning of the permit law. As I posted upthread, the installers of my Bosch DW pulled a permit - do most people pull a permit for a dishwasher or new stove?

  • chispa

    Helen, no I don't think people pull permits for replacing appliances with similar ones. The permits are mostly about money and safety/codes comes second! We didn't get a permit when we bought the house and added wood floors to the second floor. We didn't know and no one told us otherwise. Our Realtor, long time resident in the same town and also from a family of Builders, said the same thing you did, not to bother unless it involved structural changes, plumbing, electrical, etc. I just tried to look up my town permit laws and I couldn't even find them! My GC submitted the permit form before we started the kitchen. I can find the form, but no details of what project would need the form!

    As far as during sale, I know that my realtor went to the town offices and checked what permits were pulled for the property, which was newer, so it was mostly the main building permit. I think the obvious ones are when buying a 1950 property that has all new bathrooms and kitchens, but no permits. For my house, which is much younger, you wouldn't really be able to tell if the bathrooms were done 5 years ago or when the house was built.

    So getting back to the OP, if they have an older house and they need to sell, the contemporary looking remodel will not match the age of the house and a competent realtor will check for those permits. That is when the fun starts!

  • Denita
    Plus it's a disclosure item. Our disclosure forms specifically ask if any work has been done without permits. Our county building department shows permits and status online. Not all of our cities are online, but most are very cooperative with permit info on the phone or in person.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268