Magnolia Here’s What You Need to Know About “Studs-Out” Remodels

First thing’s first: In case you’re not sure what a “studs-out” remodel is, it means that a house is *totally* stripped down to its bare bones, and pretty much the only things left are the floor plan and the original charm! Everything else is replaced, including electrical, plumbing, roofing, and insulation (to start with), and then off course, you can also count on a new kitchen, new baths, new finishes, etc. 

Now, it’s important to know that a studs-out remodel is not the same as when a home is flipped—flipping is more focused on cosmetic fixes, like changing up finishes. (Home flipping has gotten a bad reputation, but not all flips are bad, you just have to know what to look for. However, there is definitely more of a quick profit motive with home flips, and redoing things like electrical and plumbing isn’t going to make financial sense for investors in most cases.) 

With a studs-out remodel, the finished home should perform just like a new home, all while retaining the home’s “old” charm. (The best of both worlds!) For example, with the new and improved house, your heating bill should be MUCH lower thanks to new insulation, new siding, new windows, and a new roof (older homes are notorious for high heating bills because they’re not nearly as well insulated as new homes).

Also, new siding means that your house is much more protected from fires and water damage. Your 1920 home will also be able to handle 2020 situations (vacuum cleaners FTW!) thanks to new electrical, too. 

Buying a studs out remodel typically means that you’re buying into an older more established neighborhood, and that also means larger lots and a popular neighborhood that everyone loves. New construction in Seattle’s most popular, core neighborhoods is frequently going to be townhomes and condos, and finding a modern single-family home is a rarity. A studs-out remodel solves this problem—you get a “brand new” home with vintage charm, a larger lot that’s so common with older homes in Seattle, and likely in a highly desired neighborhood. 

New construction homes in older neighborhoods are frequently prohibitively expensive. Part of this is because the builder had to buy and tear down a house in order to start from scratch to build the new home, likely in a neighborhood that’s already on the more expensive side to begin with. Doing your own studs-out remodel is also astronomically expensive. On a typical single-family home in Seattle this type of renovation can run you $400-$500k, and you’ll need to live in the home for several years to recoup this kind of investment. 

On that note, studs-out remodels are typically more thoughtfully done than flips. This is because if someone is going to spend the $$$ to do a studs-out remodel, it’s likely because the homeowners are doing it for themselves. Sometimes you do have to watch out for design choices that are very specific to someone’s unique personal taste, but even correcting some of these cosmetic choices is far cheaper than reading electrical, plumbing, insulation, etc. on a entire home. 

The downside of a studs-out remodel (just like with a flip) is that you might not know much about the quality of the work that was done. Ideally, there should be documentation about everything that was renovated. (Our latest Magnolia listing is a studs-out remodel, and we’ve even got the documentation that shows everything was done right.) 


Our latest listing in Magnolia has it all—this 2,550-square-foot home not only boasts a complete studs-out remodel, but you also have tons of space including a huge backyard!

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  • Matt Miner

    Real estate guru and Seattle know-it-all

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  • In everything that I do as your REALTOR®, I have one guiding principle in mind: To make certain that your home-buying experience is a happy, successful, wonderful life experience!