The Average Cost of a Kitchen Remodel

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Thinking of remodeling your kitchen? You’re not alone. Kitchen remodels are the second-most popular home renovation, according to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), accounting for 78% of projects last year.

It makes sense when you consider the fact that your kitchen is likely one of the most-used rooms in your home. It’s the site of cooking, eating, food preparation, family dinners, and even the occasional homework spot.

But a kitchen renovation isn’t a small project by any means. In fact, HomeAdvisor puts the national average of remodeling a kitchen at $23,166, or at about $150/square foot.

But there's definitely a range when it comes to expected spends for a kitchen remodel. Kitchen remodel projects can range from $12,545 to $34,423, depending on the size of the kitchen, materials needed, the level of finishes, cost of appliances, and if any other major spends are expected, such as installing new flooring or purchasing new appliances. Materials usually account for a majority of your budget, so keep that in mind if you find yourself having to cut costs.

If you’d like to stay at the lower end of this range, consider refinishing your existing cabinets, keeping the original footprint of the space, and incorporating your old appliances into the design. Other money saving tips? Buy materials such as tile and hardware from a wholesale retailer, or do some of the work yourself. Though, you'll need professionals for the plumbing and electrical.

But if you plan to knock out walls, install custom cabinetry, and finally splurge on that high-end Viking range, then expect to spend the big bucks.

Other Costs to Plan For

Regardless of the level of your kitchen renovation, you’ll likely incur the following costs: paying a contractor. Unless you’re a contractor yourself or very experienced in the construction aspect of things, it may be wise to hire an outside contractor. He or she will manage the other workers who come to your home, such as plumbers, electricians, and cabinetry installers. They will also ensure your supplies arrive on time, coordinate work days and installation dates, and ensure the process goes smoothly from start to finish.

You’ll also pay for demolition unless you feel you can do it yourself. Though with a kitchen the margin for error is high. If you are designing a completely new space, you may also hire an architect. You also have to factor in expenses for the materials: cabinetry, appliances, tile for the backsplash, hardware, appliances, flooring (or floor refinishing), and even any specialty touches like a custom vent hood or pot and pan rack.

Don’t Bust Your Budget

Before you begin a large-scale project like a kitchen renovation, you’ll need to set a budget. While it can be tempting to bust your budget on the high-end cabinets you’ve been lusting over, resist the urge. Chances are, some unexpected costs will inevitably pop up that you’ll need to cover.

Start by creating a budget of how much you’d like to spend. Say your home is worth $400,000. A good, middle of the road budget for a kitchen renovation would be around $40,000. Then decide how you’ll fund this – from cash flow, from your savings, maybe your rainy day fund.

Regardless, be sure you have the bulk of these funds set aside before you begin work in an easily accessible, fairly liquid account.

When you pay contractors and other workers, you’ll likely pay a portion of their work’s cost up front (usually 30%) and then the rest upon completion of the job. So if you are paying out of cash flow, be sure to keep your timeline in mind. Also, it never hurts to ask for a cash discount, since sometimes it can save you big.

Research ROI and Resale

And before you jump headfirst into your remodeling project, be sure to do your research. After all, you want to make sure you’re getting a return on your investment (ROI), especially considering the cost of your average kitchen renovation.

Experts suggest spending between 5 and 15% of the home’s value on a kitchen renovation to ensure you don’t negatively impact resale of your home.

This will give you the greatest potential for ROI on your investment.

It also may be helpful to speak with a real estate agent in your area, who will be able to give you a fuller picture of the real estate market in your area, as well as what type of renovations will procure the best ROI.

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