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Cost Factors

Remodeling your kitchen is a good investment. Updated kitchens provide pleasure for the homeowner and the home seller — commonly fetching back 80% or more of their expense at sale.

But that’s no guarantee! Only smart planning, budgeting and prioritization can ensure a smooth installation and hearty return on investment.

What Does a Kitchen Cost?

There’s no blanket answer, as each project varies widely in style, budget and scope. In general, though, material costs such as flooring, cabinets, counters, and appliances will consume around 80% of your budget, while labor and design will account for the remaining 20%.

The costliest item is typically cabinetry, making up around 30% of your budget, followed by appliances at 15% and countertops and 10%. Flooring, lighting, window treatments, walls and fixtures compose the remainder of your budget, at around 5% each. In general, the cost of a kitchen renovation should be in the range of 10% of your home’s value.

Keep in mind that the species, door style, and finish you select will impact the cost of your cabinetry, in some cases in a significant way. Work with your dealer designer to help you navigate the choices available to help you achieve the look you want at a price point you can afford.

The best way to guard yourself against cost creep is to arm yourself with information so do your research, make an informed plan and stick with it!

Separate Needs from Wants

Don’t feel like you have to keep up with the latest and greatest on the home shows or in the decorating magazines. It’s your family that will be spending time there, and it’s their enjoyment that matters. To keep it simple, make a list of features you really need and work from there.

Depending on how long you’ll be in the home and how you’ll use your kitchen, you’ll begin to decide between what you really need and what you sort of want. If you don’t plan on moving soon and you can’t live without that brick pizza oven, go for it. It’ll make your family happy, and that’s what’s important.

Splurge Wisely

If you may be moving soon, splurge on choices that’ll boost your return on investment. Cabinetry with functional features like rollout trays, pantry storage, and soft close doors and drawers may boost appeal to a future homebuyer. Upgraded appliances and countertops also add to the curb appeal of your kitchen.

As a rule of thumb: be consistent with the neighborhood. A subpar kitchen will lower your resale value, but a Gatsby-style kitchen won’t raise it.

Be Flexible

Your cabinets and your countertops are the largest visible surfaces in your kitchen. They have the opportunity to make a large visual impact, but at 40% of your budget, they can make a huge financial impact, too.

Know your budget, but start by planning your cabinetry choices as if you didn’t have one. Select the look, material, hardware, glazes and finishes you’d like if money was no option. Then take that design to your dealer and let her know how much you’re planning to spend. The big secret is that you can find comparable choices that stay true to your original design at pretty much any price range.

Cherry wood may be out of your price range, but your designer might recommend a Maple alternative that can be stained to mimic the look of cherry. You may love the look of quartz, but your designer could recommend a granite or even a laminate option that gives a similar look at a more attractive cost.

Be willing to be flexible and let your designer guide you to make choices that will fit your budget.


Plan for Surprises

It’s not uncommon to start your kitchen remodel and find some underlying issues that also need to be addressed. There may be surprises, but planning for unexpected costs and delays will ensure you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.

Imagine pulling out your dishwasher and discovering rotten floorboards due to an undetected leak. Or discovering electrical wiring that is out of date (and frankly, dangerous). There are a slew of budget-busting scenarios that can cripple your project if you don’t plan for the unexpected. A good estimate is to work in a 20% overhead, especially if you have an older home.

Factor in Eating Out

Remember, remodeling doesn’t happen overnight. Your kitchen may be a fully or partially out of commission for up to a month depending on the size and scope of the project, so set aside a portion of your budget for take-out and convenience foods for the family.

Remarkably, this is a cost that many overlook… and believe us, PB&J loses its appeal after about the 4th day.

Published on: September 7, 2015

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