Houzz announced July 8 the launch of Houzz Real Cost Finder, a service that pulls data from a survey of more than 100,000 homeowners to give estimates of potential costs of remodeling projects in more than 50 metro areas and every state.
"With the Real Cost Finder, homeowners can research real costs for completed projects gathered from homeowners in their area ranging from high-end to modest, for virtually every space inside and outside their home," Houzz said in a news release.
The Cost Finder tool opens by showing average costs for a project in the area located close to where Houzz software thinks the viewer lives. Kitchen projects are the default, but a viewer can see costs for 20 different projects, including baths, closets, decks, pools, and custom homes.
The first page also gives three price ranges for the project selected, lists the percentage of people in the area who hired a pro to complete the project, and gives the average home value and household income for those completing the work. Other tabs show popular products for the project in three price ranges, as well as basic guides to managing a remodeling project.
A final tab links to professionals in the area involved in doing remodeling work or selling products for a project. For kitchens, four groups of two companies each are listed. It appears that each pair represent the first two companies in Houzz's "Find a Pro" listings for the area. As reported previously, Houzz has begun selling guaranteed placement in half of the first page of those listings in a program called Houzz Pro+.
While Houzz boasts that its data comes from more than 100,000 homeowners, some numbers may be more reliable than others. For instance, on kitchen projects you can get data for Huntington, W.Va., but not Buffalo, N.Y. Some projects give numbers for as few as 20 metro areas. And when you seek data for the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Montana, an asterisk next to the name warns the viewer that the data is for a census region, not just that state.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Houzz promoted its new service as a way to help homeowners set and stick to a budget. The same survey that provided the core data from the 100,000 homeowners also found that 41% of homeowners who remodeled their homes said they went over budget, and 28% said staying on budget was a challenge.
Houzz claims more than 14 million unique visitors each month, 90% of them homeowners. It also counts 230,000 remodelers, designers, architects, and other home professionals as users of Houzz to help promote their work. A recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that 30% of the remodelers who responded said they use Houzz. —Craig Webb is editor-in-chief of REMODELING. Follow him on Twitter at @craiglwebb or @RemodelingMag.