Construction cost estimates were generated by RemodelMAX, a publisher of estimating tools for remodelers, using Clear Estimates remodeling software. The company prepares a detailed construction estimate for each project, then adjusts this baseline cost for each city to account for regional pricing variations. Construction cost figures include labor, material, and subtrade expenses, plus industry-standard overhead and profit. However, project costs are based on estimates for generic projects and do not account for personalized design and product choices typically made by homeowners in connection with actual remodeling projects, nor do they account for local and short-term fluctuations in pricing, supply and demand, and other factors affecting cost.

Resale value data for each project were aggregated from estimates provided by members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) in cooperation with REALTOR® magazine. E-mail surveys containing project descriptions and three-dimensional illustrations, plus construction costs and median home prices for each city, were sent to some 150,000 appraisers, sales agents, and brokers. Respondents were instructed not to make judgments about the motivation of the homeowner in either the decision to undertake the remodeling project or to sell the house. The survey for this 2013 data was in the field for approximately 8 weeks in August and September of 2012. More than 3,900 survey respondents participated.