Popular San Diego Home Improvements and What They'll Cost You

By Craig Donofrio

Posted on August 24th, 2022

pool with flamingo

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One of the best things about owning a property is being able to improve it, both to add value to and customize your space.

While there are few restrictions on how you can transform a house, most of us are working with finite funds. This post covers what you can expect to pay for five popular San Diego home improvements.

Landscaping Improvements

Landscaping is one of the most popular home improvement projects simply because it makes such a fantastic visual impact – but what about its financial impact?

🌻 Small projects
According to Home Advisor, San Diego homeowners will foot a bill of about $200 for small projects, such as mulching, aerating and applying fertilizer.
🌄 Big projects
More in-depth landscaping projects include sod installation ($1,000-$3,000), hiring a landscape designer ($2,000-$7,000) and grading ($1,000-$3,000).
🚿 Sprinkler installation
The lack of San Diego rainfall can wreak havoc on the health of your lawn. Having a sprinkler system installed can combat that issue with an average cost of about $1,800-$3,500. Depending on drought conditions, you may only be allowed to use this sparingly, so take that into consideration as well.

Upgrading Kitchen Countertops

Improving your kitchen by installing new countertops increases the appeal of one of your home’s most functional rooms. In addition to adding a great deal of visual interest, countertops also serve a crucial practical purpose, making them one of the best uses of your remodeling dollars.

Granite
Home Advisor says that San Diego homeowners can expect to pay about $4,500 to have new granite countertops installed.

Granite tile costs $5-$15 per square foot while slabs will run you $40-$100 per square foot, not including installation costs.
Quartz
Quartz is expensive, with an average cost of about $125 per square foot. You're looking at spending $3,000-$7,500, or even $12,000 for high-end finishes.
Laminate
Laminate kitchen counters are a budget-friendly home improvement option, with a typical average cost to install of $850 and a range of $600- $1,300 in San Diego.
Butcher block
A trendy home upgrade, butcher block countertops can be pricey. Expect to pay $3,500 on average with a high of $15,000 for custom counterwork with exotic woods.

Installing a Pool

San Diego is the ideal location to have a pool installed. With a nearly perfect year-round climate, you’ll be able to enjoy your pool 300+ days a year.

Of course, it's expensive.

  • In San Diego, the average cost to install a pool is $85,000 with a low end of $51,000 and a high end of $150,000, according to HomeAdvisor.
  • The average cost to maintain a pool, whether you choose to do it yourself or you choose to hire someone, will typically range from $100-$370 a month.
  • San Diego Gas & Electric offers rebates of up to $200 for homeowners who purchase a variable speed pool pump.

Upgrading to Energy Efficient Appliances


Unless your appliances are only a year or two old, chances are you will be able to save a significant amount on your energy bills by replacing them.

  • Washers and dryers are almost always cheaper when purchased as a pair. Individually, you can expect to pay at least $600 for each but together, you can usually find a deal for $1000-$1,500.
  • Refrigerators vary by style, but you should budget at least $1,500 for a baseline energy efficient model.
  • An energy efficient gas stove is going to start at about $500, whereas an electric model starts at about $350. To contrast, an energy efficient duel fuel range retails for $2,500+.
  • A new energy efficient dishwasher is going to cost you between $350-$650.
  • Energy efficient air conditioning units can save you lots of money on cooling. A unit that cools a moderately large room is going to run you at least $500. Units with more cooling power will go up in price.
  • If you want to update multiple appliances, look for appliance bundles at your local home improvement store. Buying several items at once will ensure that they all match and that you get the best price.
  • As an added incentive, San Diego Gas & Electric offers numerous options for rebates to help offset the replacement costs of new appliances. New rebates are usually available in the fall, when new residential programs become available.

Installing Solar Panels


It’s well known that installing solar panels can save you big money long-term, but what does it cost?

According to Energy Sage, the average solar panel cost in San Diego runs $2.80 per watt, and the average system size in San Diego is about 5 kilowatts. That means most home owners in San Diego will pay about $14,000.

However, you'll also be eligible for a 26% Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which drops that cost down to $10,360.

Understanding the costs associated with various San Diego home improvement projects will help you determine which ones fit into your budget in 2016. What projects will you be tackling this year? Share with us in the comments.

Spend On Home Improvements that Make Sense

When considering upgrades, you should take into consideration what might increase the value of your home, and for how much. If you plan on staying in your home forever, then this is less important - but if you might sell in the few years, hugely expensive upgrades, like a pool, can prove to be a waste of money if they don't increase your home's value.

Use a site like Home Advisor and get quotes from 2-4 contractors before committing to any one big project.

And when it's time to sell your house, consider our friends at Clever Real Estate. Clever can save you thousands in agent fees by matching you with a local San Diego agent who can help sell your home for just 1%, vs traditional agents who charge 2.5-3%. The average Clever seller saves $9,000!

All of the savings, none of the compromises.

Our friends at Clever Real Estate pre-negotiate major savings on listing fees. You'll pay just 1% — which translates to $8,000 in savings for a $400,000 home!

Best of all, you'll never have to sacrifice great service. Clever's nationwide network of trusted real estate agents provide full-service support, from brokerages like Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, and RE/MAX.

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Posted in DIY Home Projects, Home Improvement