As a homeowner there’s probably nothing more frustrating than thinking you’re going to pay X for your kitchen renovation and learning you’re actually going to pay Y. Most people wait years to renovate their kitchen because they fear they’ll have a renovation nightmare like so many of their friends and family. Here are some things to think about to help you avoid those costly mistakes.
Where Budgeting Goes Wrong
First of all, 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. It costs you more time and money because of poor planning up front. You have to map it out first and share that plan with the person who is going to get you there – your contractor.
One common renovation mistake we see is not being clear with your contractor about your desires when discussing your budget (why not to conceal your budget). 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 discovering what you really wanted included as part of your kitchen renovation. An estimate of $55K quickly turns into $75K when unexpected costs arise, causing stress and tension between you and your contractor.
- On the flip side, you can spend months designing the space you’ve always dreamed of only to find out the price tag is more than you’re comfortable spending. It’s heartbreaking to hear stories about homeowners that has to spend more time re-choosing items they’ve already spent so much time and energy picking out in order to stay within their original budget.
Neither of these scenarios are ideal and both can easily be avoided.
When determining your kitchen renovation costs, some things to consider are 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.
1. You could keep all the walls intact and just replace the appliances, cabinets, 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.
2. You could 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. Now you’re probably in the range of $75k-$95k, depending on your materials you select.
3. 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.
Many of our clients come to us wanting to know what their kitchen renovation will cost, but quickly realize what they really want is to renovate their entire first floor!
Ways to Renovate
Regardless of how large or small your renovation is, the first (and most important) thing to do is align yourself with a trusted partner (here’s a Ways to Renovate Guide that can help you find that partner). Once you’ve done that, 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.
Question: What did we leave out in this article? We get questions every day from homeowners on how best to budget for their renovation, so please email us your questions, we’re here to help!