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post #1 of 30 Old 08-02-2014, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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What is the value of a "DIY" theater?

I was just wondering this ^ Anyone care to take a guess or make a comment ?

What exactly is the value of a DIY theater ?

Let's assuming someone had read this forum actively for a few years and built a proper theater complete with sound proofing, professional layout plan + calibration and used modern relatively state of the art components like PJ, screen, speakers, subs, AVR etc..

What is that value ? What does that cost turn key for about the same thing ? If someone wanted to hire a turn key system what would it cost them to achieve the same effect ?

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post #2 of 30 Old 08-02-2014, 07:12 PM
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It really depends what the value of time is to you, and it also depends who you get to build it. If you want a hands off approach where you can get up late, drink beers and watch the game all while your theater is being built, knowing it is being built right, and get to walk into the room upon completion in a few weeks, and all is right with the world... What is that worth to you?

On the other hand, you can do it all yourself. Spend a lot of years researching ( the experience is still lacking), spend another year to year and half building it, dealing with contractors who have no idea what you are trying to do, telling you this is how we do it (which likely isn't correct), they installed something wrong and now have to tear it out and do it again, or spending a lot of time trying to find that contractor who will even attempt to do what you are asking (they are out there), etc., etc. After its built, trying to integrate the equipment into the room is a whole other element in and of itself. This may sound discouraging, but it is the reality. I deal with these same issues a lot.

BUT!!!! You get to have popcorn in that room with the satisfaction you did it all by yourself, and likely saved quite a bit of money in the process. You exchanged $ for your own sweat equity (and stress and headaches).

It really all boils down to what's my time worth? Do I feel have the skills necessary to tackle this, and what can my budget accomodate?

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post #3 of 30 Old 08-02-2014, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
I was just wondering this ^ Anyone care to take a guess or make a comment ?

What exactly is the value of a DIY theater ?

Let's assuming someone had read this forum actively for a few years and built a proper theater complete with sound proofing, professional layout plan + calibration and used modern relatively state of the art components like PJ, screen, speakers, subs, AVR etc..

What is that value ? What does that cost turn key for about the same thing ? If someone wanted to hire a turn key system what would it cost them to achieve the same effect ?
That is way too broad a question Mfusick.

You can probably get an answer from people as to what their room cost them if they built it themselves. Especially if you see roughly what you want to build. You can ask them what they spent. Those that hired BigMouthinDC may be willing to share what they spent and that will give you an idea of cost if someone mostly / completely built it for you.

When mine is done (which will be 2 weeks other than the cloth on the wall) it will be minus projector, screen, receiver, amp and speakers all in about $19-20k. I did everything that is not the actual oak pieces myself. The Oak was stained by another guy and the oak pieces were installed by a finish carpenter. If I had done the work myself for the finish carpentry part and just painted it black or a dark brown I would have saved about $7500.

If you look at BeanPoleInterrupted Build I think that if you wanted a darker color you could copy that room if you did it yourself for a very good price. I see that theater as one of the best bang for the buck higher end builds. (Note: He had to do some engineering and pole moving which was no doubt very costly, but if someone didn't need to spend that money......)

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post #4 of 30 Old 08-02-2014, 08:36 PM
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Damelon kept a very detailed analysis of where he spent his money and there is a summary in the Bacon Race theater thread. He was very hands on but hired some guns along the way. It was a few years back so keep that in mind, prices have gone up.
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post #5 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 07:38 AM
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It's the same with any other DIY vs. contractor build. My guess is you are looking at a 40% increase in cost over DIY.

The question is can you frame, drywall finish, run HVAC, electrical to code and lay carpet?

This does not include all the specific knowledge in acoustics, sound proofing and calibration to have a very good quality theater.

When you have it done by a reputably company who knows what they are doing you are paying for that expertise and labor.

If I was a lawyer, surgeon, investment banker, upper management, or didn't have kids, I would have paid an expert and been done with it.

DIY was my only option and I'm glad I was able to make what I could on such a limited budget.

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post #6 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Yup. I agree. I don't have the option either, I'm more budget limited than anything else so DIY is my only route. My wife isn't working, we just had twins, and we are not big income earners either. I simply can't afford to pay a pro to build me a turn key. But some things you pay for, like a carpet installer for instance. I know I won't get out of it 100% DIY, somethings you will need to pay people for help or support.

My question wasn't really about that, but more about what is the value of a DIY theater after it's done. The value isn't necessarily what you paid for it, or what it would cost to replicate. I just just curious of what the value of having a DIY theater is ??

If someone pointed at my finished theater when I am done and said: "I want that, build me that!" what would it cost? Assuming I go the full double DW+GG and double walls, acoustically intelligent design and layout, etc...

But then again, the cost for a turn key pro level theater isn't what it's worth because only an enthusiast is going to give a crap about treatments, sound proofing, and a lot of the little things we do that most trunk slammer installers would not bother with. So average joe isn't willing to pay that price, which makes the resale value or true value less than a turn key Erksine masterpiece for sure. Probably like 50% less ? IDK... that is what I am asking

If a turnkey theater costs $100k, then is the value of the completed project worth $50k? Assuming the quality is nearly the same a DIY should have about the same value right ?

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post #7 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 09:23 AM
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X is worth what Y is willing to pay for it.

As to worth, whether DIY or expert installation I would posit a theater is worth no more than and perhaps less than the finished square footage it encompasses.

If you bought a speaker and then sold it later it would have worth. If you DIY built a similar speaker and sold it then you would also have worth.

As a theater is a portion of your home you would have to determine if it actually added any worth and from other threads discussing that very proposition I would say little to none.

I do think I get what you are saying, I spent X on my theater what would I have spent if they did it precisely the same but I didn't do the work? Then the result difference is the worth your DIY efforts saved you.

I don't think you would be able to determine that unless you brought in a contractor to provide you a bid just for your own piece of mind (not suggesting that).

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post #8 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 10:08 AM
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Value is determined in many ways here are my Grand Children
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post #9 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes ! That's value !!! I hope to get that with my babies and nephews and the whole family
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post #10 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
Yup. I agree. I don't have the option either, I'm more budget limited than anything else so DIY is my only route. My wife isn't working, we just had twins, and we are not big income earners either. I simply can't afford to pay a pro to build me a turn key. But some things you pay for, like a carpet installer for instance. I know I won't get out of it 100% DIY, somethings you will need to pay people for help or support.

My question wasn't really about that, but more about what is the value of a DIY theater after it's done. The value isn't necessarily what you paid for it, or what it would cost to replicate. I just just curious of what the value of having a DIY theater is ??

If someone pointed at my finished theater when I am done and said: "I want that, build me that!" what would it cost? Assuming I go the full double DW+GG and double walls, acoustically intelligent design and layout, etc...

But then again, the cost for a turn key pro level theater isn't what it's worth because only an enthusiast is going to give a crap about treatments, sound proofing, and a lot of the little things we do that most trunk slammer installers would not bother with. So average joe isn't willing to pay that price, which makes the resale value or true value less than a turn key Erksine masterpiece for sure. Probably like 50% less ? IDK... that is what I am asking

If a turnkey theater costs $100k, then is the value of the completed project worth $50k? Assuming the quality is nearly the same a DIY should have about the same value right ?
It will be a selling point for some people and others would rather have the open space. It is not for every buyer of a house, so keep that in mind. If you have a very large house and it is worth alot, then it would be a nice feature for a buyer. If you have a modest house it might be seen as a deterrent or a waste of space for some.

Either way, of those who like to have a theater about 90% won't care if you did it the right way, they will care about the aesthetics of it only. Does it look top shelf, if not, it will be no different than most peoples HT. That is to say, there is the wow it has an HT, and then there are the people (wife) who doesn't care about the HT, but appreciates how beautiful it is. An example: Gorilla's theater is awesome, but probably not one a wife or non HT person would value much above most HT's. Mario's Cinemar build, NYGiantsFan's BeamPoleInterrupted and theaters like that are more elegant and women will appreciate the aesthetics of it. Not all wives are the same but I'm basing this off showing these to my wife, friend's wives, etc.

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post #11 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 10:52 AM
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I say 4x.
That is, you will pay 4x for option B than you would option A.
Option A: you do EVERYTHING yourself. you spent all the time doing the proper research, build everything yourself, find ok deals on all of your gear. the room is properly soundproofed, properly treated, all panel'd up, etc.
Option B - You tell a professional theater building company to build you a theater. you drink beer for a month, then your theater is built, equipped, calibrated, etc. Exact same theater as option A.

This is obviously a guesstimate (based on what I know of contractor prices, and specifically specialty contractor prices in Alberta), and is based on 2 extreme cases.
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post #12 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 11:33 AM
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Mfusick, I can tell you personally I wouldn't have done if I didn't go DIY. The turn key guys in my area quoted my job out at $50K for just the construction. I might have $12K in it in total when I'm done and most of that was spent on a new HVAC unit, nicer carpet than I needed, and a god forsaken Grafik eye I hate.

If I had to do it all over again the only thing I would have spent a little more on would be the drywall finisher. I hired a guy he left me with some hairline cracks a month later so I hired a different guy to fix it. No issues now.

I would hire out the following unless you are skilled in these areas: High voltage electrical, Drywall hanging/finishing (get quotes for hanging and finishing separately per board), and insulation (i couldn't buy it for what I had it installed for). The rest you can do it will just take time such as framing, trim work, building a rack, etc. You're doing the right thing by reading up and doing your research.
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post #13 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 12:37 PM
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Some Deja-vu here, every 6-12 months guess needs a re-hash.
Idle Conversation - Value in Resale of a Home Theater?
How much value does a dedicated theater add to a small house?
Does a professial looking dedicated theater room increase the value of your house?
Home Theater Appraisal value
Resale value on a HT?
Help educate me on the value of a home theater

plus this
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbdudex View Post
A search 101 on "appraisal" shows recent threads on this, search link below.
http://www.avsforum.com/newsearch/?s...all&advanced=1
(forum ettiquete used to be try a search and feed into that thread before randomly starting a new one......oh well)

some recent ones;

ROI on a Dedicated Home Theater - 2012-2013 Edition
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1444910/ro...2-2013-edition

How much higher did you taxes go after you finished your basement?
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1316999/ho...-your-basement

One I started back in 2009....Home Theater Appraisal value
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1141813/ho...ppraisal-value
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post #14 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 12:51 PM
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If I had it to do over again, I would have hired a big firm to do my theater. I tried for almost 7 months to find someone and came up with nothing. I found lots of guys as Shane said above, but most knew nothing about theater builds and wanted to do it their way. One guy was going to use cork board. Really you get what you pay for. One thing with DIY, don't be in a hurry, give yourself a year or more.
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post #15 of 30 Old 08-06-2014, 01:30 PM
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I have essentially a 2 man crew (at $45 per hour) doing most of the heavy lifting. I know enough from reading this forum to get them to do what I want, keeping me from needing a specialized company to build my theater at a much higher cost. I work about 9-10 hours a day and have 3 kids under 8, so time was more of the enemy than ability.

I did all of the AV wiring myself, but other than buying all of the building supplies, I have had others do the build. I had no other choice, but I am not paying through the nose by GCing the project myself. That is the best way to get it done fast without breaking the bank.

It's funny, I am scared to death to close in the room (which I ordered drywall today for). I KNOW I am forgetting something!!!

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post #16 of 30 Old 08-07-2014, 02:19 AM
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Cost is what you pay for it, value is what someone else will pay for it. In my experience talking to others who were house shopping, theaters are just throw ins, nothing more. So unfortunately the value is probably pretty minimal.
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post #17 of 30 Old 08-07-2014, 07:37 AM
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its like a pool, some people puts a value on it others could care less. U will never get back everything that u put into it if u decide to sell.
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post #18 of 30 Old 08-07-2014, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Pool comparison is a good one.

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post #19 of 30 Old 08-07-2014, 09:09 AM
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Plus pools can sometime actually HURT a sale of a house. Some people don't want to deal with having a pool. Some people won't care about having a home theater. I certainly wouldn't expect a home theater to increase the value of a house unless you are in a specific market (eg: your house is pretty high end).

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post #20 of 30 Old 08-07-2014, 09:38 AM
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Disclaimer: I have almost no experience with Home Theater DIY, I do have some experience with DIY vs turn-key solutions in other areas such as motor vehicles, landscaping, a little furniture building etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
My question wasn't really about that, but more about what is the value of a DIY theater after it's done. The value isn't necessarily what you paid for it, or what it would cost to replicate. I just just curious of what the value of having a DIY theater is ??

If someone pointed at my finished theater when I am done and said: "I want that, build me that!" what would it cost? Assuming I go the full double DW+GG and double walls, acoustically intelligent design and layout, etc...

But then again, the cost for a turn key pro level theater isn't what it's worth because only an enthusiast is going to give a crap about treatments, sound proofing, and a lot of the little things we do that most trunk slammer installers would not bother with. So average joe isn't willing to pay that price, which makes the resale value or true value less than a turn key Erksine masterpiece for sure. Probably like 50% less ? IDK... that is what I am asking

If a turnkey theater costs $100k, then is the value of the completed project worth $50k? Assuming the quality is nearly the same a DIY should have about the same value right ?
The swimming pool analogy is a good one but obviously if you're trying to sell a house with a pool and you sell to someone who puts no value in having a pool you're losing a large fraction of the true value of the property, so lets assume you can find someone who DOES want a pool (or in this case home theater).

The value/worth of your DIY-whatever is given by the materials costs (fixed and easy to work out, this includes labour costs for anything you don't do yourself), plus some cost of your labour (I'll come back to this), minus depreciation/the fact it's now a used product and not brand new (this is the same as for turn-key solutions though so easier to estimate).

The value of your labour is a balance between the value that YOU place on your time (if you have kids it will be much higher for example), and the value someone else places on your time which mostly depends on how skillful in the particular area of DIY that person perceives you to be. Imagine the two things as axes on a graph, your value of your time (how busy you are) on the x-axis and the perceived value of your time (how good you are at HT DIY, or how good you can convince the buyer you are) on the y-axis.

So the value can be estimated (by someone with actual experience in this particular industry), the majority of the error/variation comes down to your ability to sell/demonstrate your DIY skills. Are you a good salesman? Maybe make a semi-detailed log of the build that you can point to when selling and say "here look how much effort/precision/care went into this project, I know my stuff".


Quote:
Originally Posted by sgolko View Post
I say 4x.
That is, you will pay 4x for option B than you would option A.
Option A: you do EVERYTHING yourself. you spent all the time doing the proper research, build everything yourself, find ok deals on all of your gear. the room is properly soundproofed, properly treated, all panel'd up, etc.
Option B - You tell a professional theater building company to build you a theater. you drink beer for a month, then your theater is built, equipped, calibrated, etc. Exact same theater as option A.

This is obviously a guesstimate (based on what I know of contractor prices, and specifically specialty contractor prices in Alberta), and is based on 2 extreme cases.
As a general rule of thumb somewhere between 2x and 5x value is common in most industries/marketplaces, so this sounds like a good starting point.
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post #21 of 30 Old 08-07-2014, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesamarai View Post
its like a pool, some people puts a value on it others could care less. U will never get back everything that u put into it if u decide to sell.
I agree.

So, if audio is your passion, you have lots of money, and a big house, and no free time, and aren't too handy anyways, then go ahead and get a pro to built your dream theatre - mebbe while you're booking some overtime down at the sausage factory to help pay for it. Oh, and it will help keep peace in the household if your wife is onboard too before spending all that dough!

But if, on the other hand, you have lots of free time on your hands, you really like this stuff (likely, since you've found your way here to ask about it!), you have better uses for your savings, you know your way around a toolbox and aren't afraid to get your hands dirty, then go the DIY route.

I think what it comes down to is how you want to spend your time and money. If you enjoy the decisions and work involved in this kind of a project then this could be your new little hobby. But if you're going to resent every hour and dollar spent then don't bother getting into it.

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post #22 of 30 Old 08-07-2014, 10:23 AM
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I could see four groups.
  1. The first won't care about the theater, and will place little value on it
  2. The second will think it's a great idea, but will have no idea just how much it takes to do it right, and will not value it as highly as they should
  3. The third will understand the actual costs, but will likely want a high-end dedicated space that meets their particular preferences. That is, they will know what "they" wanted in a well planned and implemented space. In this case, the value of your room will still be less than what it costs because it doesn't meet their expectations and would require changes to meet their goals.
  4. The final will understand what it costs and will like the room exactly as it is. I'd say this is by far the smallest of the group. Even fewer still would be people in this group willing to pay what it cost.
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post #23 of 30 Old 08-07-2014, 07:30 PM
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The value of the home & surrounding homes has to be considered too. That's true for any home improvement, especially an addition. Factor in everything everyone said above, come up with a realistic dollar value. Then see what that does to the price of your home relative to everyone else in the neighborhood. Once your improvements take you past the average value of the homes in your area, that starts holding you back.

For example, even if the house is truly worth $250k with all the improvments, if it's sitting a neighborhood with $150k homes, you're not going to get what it's worth. Most people would rather step up the neighborhood at that point and get a $250k house in a $250k neighborhood.

My guesstimate is 0% - 10% added value (for finishing out existing space).
10% for a buyer that really cares about HT.
0% if it's going to make for a ****** craft room without any windows.

My neighbors with theaters spent single digits. I was will to go as high as 10% but didn't think I would get that much back in resale.

 

 


Last edited by rabident; 08-07-2014 at 07:34 PM.
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post #24 of 30 Old 08-08-2014, 07:07 AM
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I have walked into hundreds of home theaters and recording studios and can say without a doubt that if anything you should hire a designer to help "hold your hand" during the design and build. In a lot of ways, if they know what they are doing, can save you from YOURSELF (ha ha) but also save you a lot of money.

YMMV

Glenn Kuras
GIK Acoustics

http://www.gikacoustics.com

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post #25 of 30 Old 08-08-2014, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
Plus pools can sometime actually HURT a sale of a house. Some people don't want to deal with having a pool. Some people won't care about having a home theater. I certainly wouldn't expect a home theater to increase the value of a house unless you are in a specific market (eg: your house is pretty high end).
We ruled out a house because it had a pool. It had a 4 car garage, 1200 ft² basement with a wet bar begging to be turned into a theater.

But the entire back yard was a pool. Would have saved me some time mowing, I should have factored that in

I don't think a HT adds value to a house. Or not worth the investment from a resale perspective. Personally if a home had been prewired for speakers and video to a central wiring closet I would have paid more. But not enough more for them to recoup their cost
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post #26 of 30 Old 08-08-2014, 08:13 AM
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Value is determined in many ways here are my Grand Children
Again this is the value added
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post #27 of 30 Old 08-08-2014, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreat View Post
We ruled out a house because it had a pool. It had a 4 car garage, 1200 ft² basement with a wet bar begging to be turned into a theater.

But the entire back yard was a pool. Would have saved me some time mowing, I should have factored that in

I don't think a HT adds value to a house. Or not worth the investment from a resale perspective. Personally if a home had been prewired for speakers and video to a central wiring closet I would have paid more. But not enough more for them to recoup their cost
Woof, I would have picked that up in a heart beat. We're thinking about putting a pool in but I'm not sure I want the cost of maintenance plus the fact that it narrows down the pool of people who would look at this house. And in this area, pools are easily 60k+. I just wish our neighborhood had a pool and it would be a no brainer.. But alas, it does not.

Wonder how many people I'd eliminate with both a pool and a 30k+ home theater? Hmmm...

My Home Theater Build: The Vortex Theater Build
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post #28 of 30 Old 08-08-2014, 09:26 AM
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From my thread: "The Envelope" Home Theatre 2014: Mike R(mtbdudex) DIY 11.3 Audio, 2.35 Scope 130in screen

Price: Materials / Equipment cost: $30k
Labor: mine - Many-many hours weekends/nights. Using rough rule of thumb that materials is 1/3 and labor 2/3, that would give this as a $90k HT.....even a 1/2 + 1/2 split gives a $60k HT.....advice: don't add up all your DIY bills ...
Appraisal value: Nearly nothing, as I posted in above

Value as quality of life, spending time with family, building memories: Priceless, like cw5billwade posted.....

Quote:
summary of project costs
As reference to my HT and it's budget/real costs

Front Proj: Sony VPL-VW60; say $4k for PJ for 2014/2015 PJ (my swag at when you might be done)
+ a-lens UH380 on slide, ; if you are going this route $2k for a b-stock, or more for new
with Darbee Darblet video processor; $300, suggest wait till after your HT initially done
A/V: Denon AVR-4520CI ; approx $2.2k
Emotiva XPA-3 amp; $600 - I have 11.3 set-up so needed this as no AVR currently has 11 amps, mine has 9
Screen: 130" DIY 2.35:1 curved screen; $600-ish, if you buy $1k or so
11.3 speakers: Paradigm Monitor 9's for front, CC-390 center, 4 ADP-390 for rear and back surround, Monitor bookshelf for wides/fronts.; I have about $4k in these, maybe slightly more.
>>Consider DIY speakers via the DIY sound group as alternative

subwoofer: 4 x 15" IB array on Sub1, plus 18" and 15" Stereo Integrity cubes on Sub2; My IB sub $1.3k, the 2 added cube subs $800, total $2.1k
>>Again DIY soundgroup has sub cubes, or better yet now Parts Express is carrying them with drivers bundled to save $$
speaker wire: 500 feet of 14ga/4c, all runs equal length.; $250? (copper prices change too fast)
Seats: 2 rows thru Roman $2.5k
DIY Acoustics: $1.3k

My gear + acoustics + seats total comes to $23k-ish, then add in carpet + pad ($2k top tier), drywall/soundproofing/etc ($2k), AV rack ($500), remotes ($500), $500 12ga/14ga wiring, lighting $500 (fixtures & what not, also add $750 if grafik eye), misc stuff $1k (riser, a-lens slide, etc) .
So yea $30k you should budget for seems ballpark, w/o labor of others.

For reference, that $30k gave me this, and it took 4 years initially, then 3 more for "upgrades" and applying lessons learned:
front view .............. .................................................. ....Rear view:
.
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post #29 of 30 Old 08-08-2014, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
Woof, I would have picked that up in a heart beat. We're thinking about putting a pool in but I'm not sure I want the cost of maintenance plus the fact that it narrows down the pool of people who would look at this house. And in this area, pools are easily 60k+. I just wish our neighborhood had a pool and it would be a no brainer.. But alas, it does not.

Wonder how many people I'd eliminate with both a pool and a 30k+ home theater? Hmmm...
Yeah it was a hard decision. But the back yard was about 15ft deep. And the big side yard, was all swimming pool. Fenced off and everything
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post #30 of 30 Old 08-09-2014, 07:28 AM
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i'm sitting at about $20k with full wall/wall treatment and bass trapping, materials, and about 50 hours of hired labor for assistance.
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