As a homeowner, there’s nothing more frustrating than thinking you’re going to pay X for your kitchen renovation only to end up paying 20-30 percent more than what you were told by your contractor. I’ve talked to countless people who for years put up with kitchens that cause unnecessary aggravation and angst all because the thought of remodeling sparks instant fear of an “inevitable” renovation nightmare.
I’m here to tell you, that you CAN and you DESERVE to have a kitchen you love while avoiding those all-too-common budgeting pitfalls by planning ahead and using the Renovation Roadmap as your guide.
Ready to create a kitchen you love within your budget?
Here are 4 key budgeting insights you need to know to successfully pull off an on-budget kitchen renovation:
1. Find a Trusted Partner
Regardless of how large or small your renovation is, the first (and most important) thing to do is align yourself with the right TYPE of contractor. Too many times, homeowners choose a company that doesn’t have the skill set or process that is aligned with the type of experience they want to have – leaving both parties frustrated in the end. Once you’ve found your trusted partner, you can work together to determine what you’re comfortable investing in your project and you’ll be well on your way to a successful renovation.
2. Determine Your Budget
Budgeting is one of the hardest things about a renovation, but it’s also one of the most important. Your budget, or lack thereof, can set you up for success (or failure) right out of the gate. Not having a budget is like taking a road trip without a map or enough gas money.
According to 2017 Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report the national average cost of a “mid-range” major kitchen remodel is $62,158 and a more “upscale” major kitchen overhaul average is $122,991. This is a broad range but does provide a good baseline for being realistic about the average cost a homeowner should look at when considering a kitchen renovation. Knowing this ahead of time can help you set realistic budget expectations and avoid sticker shock that leaves you dazed and confused in a meeting with your contractor.
3. Plan Ahead & Communicate Clearly
A remodel is not something you should “wing” and if you do, you’ll likely end up paying way more money than you should down the road.
One common kitchen renovation mistake homeowners make is not clearly communicating what they want and what they are willing to spend during budget discussions with their contractor.
If a contractor doesn’t know how much you want to spend or what your design requirements are, one of two things will happen:
- The contractor will tell you what you want to hear to get your commitment before fully understanding your kitchen renovation needs. The result? You’re original estimate of $55K quickly turns into $75K when unexpected costs arise, causing stress and tension not only between you and your contractor but also in your personal life.
- You spend months designing the space you’ve always dreamed of only to learn that the price tag is double what you wanted to spend. It’s heartbreaking to hear stories of homeowners that have to re-select items they’ve already spent so much time and energy picking out because they can’t afford what they fell in love with.
Neither of these scenarios are ideal and both can easily be avoided. Map out your ideal remodel and share that plan with the person who is going to get you there – your contractor.
4. Make Investment Considerations
When determining your kitchen renovation costs, you’ll want to consider how much and what part of your remodel will pay off in the long run. Some investment factors to consider include the resale value of other homes in your neighborhood, how long you plan to remain in your home, and your personal financial situation. These factors will be unique to you based on your personal situation and where you place the most value.
There are several things to consider when trying to determine your own kitchen renovation costs on your own. The first step is to decide the extent of the renovation. For example:
- Is it enough to keep all of the walls intact and just replace the cabinets, countertops, appliances, and flooring? Depending on the size of your kitchen, where you live and the types of finishes you use, this type of kitchen renovation typically costs between $50K-$75K.
- Maybe you want to remove the built-in pantry closet and replace it with a pantry cabinet, shift the fridge down to widen your walk space, and add recessed lighting in addition to replacing the appliances, cabinets and flooring. If this is the case, you’re probably in the range of $75k-$95k, depending on the materials you select.
- Alternately, you could tear down a load-bearing wall in order to expand and reconfigure the entire kitchen footprint and add an island. This might also include the option to refinish adjacent areas like the hard-wood floors, update the fireplace surround, add recessed lighting, update the powder room, etc. This type of renovation may cost between $125K-$175K depending on the size of your home.
With all of that said, how much will your kitchen remodel truly cost? The answer will depend on careful consideration of your budget and the reasons why you are looking to remodel. A good place to start is to align your budget with what you want in your remodel, and share this budget with your contractor. Transparency is key, and can mean all the difference between a remodel that’s on-budget and on-time vs. putting you and your family through a remodeling nightmare.