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Everyone loves a designer-quality chef’s kitchen, and it shows in the real estate market.
According to a 2021 report published by Zonda, a California housing data and consulting firm, kitchen remodeling ranked third among home improvements that provide homeowners the highest return on investment (ROI) during the resale.
“You don’t always get a dollar-for-dollar return on your investment,” says Elizabeth Gomez, co-owner of Bridge City Contracting, a contracting firm that specializes in home remodeling in Battleground, Washington. “However, a kitchen remodel can update the freshness of your home, making it more pleasant to live in, even while giving you a way to add a little more to resale value.”
But kitchen upgrades come at a price. The average cost of a kitchen remodel can easily reach five figures, which means most Americans need time to prepare. If you’re thinking of updating your kitchen, here’s what you need to know to estimate the cost of your kitchen remodel, as well as to get the best bang for your buck.
- 1 Average cost to remodel a kitchen
- 2 Budget for a kitchen remodel
- 3 Add value to your home
- 4 HELOC vs. Cash Out Refinancing to Finance Home Improvements
- 5 Alternative financing methods
Average cost to remodel a kitchen
Determining the cost of your kitchen remodel can be difficult, made even more so by the recent global supply chain disruption. The report “Cost vs. value” from Zonda indicates that a minor kitchen remodel is likely to cost around $26,214.
There are a wide variety of costs that can be included in the cost of a kitchen remodel, says BiggerPockets Money Podcast host Mindy Jensen, licensed real estate agent and home remodeling expert. “You can easily spend $50,000 on cabinets, or spend $10,000 just as easily,” says Jensen. “Flooring can cost upwards of $20 per square foot or as little as $0.99 per square foot. It all depends on the materials and finish you choose.”
Yet right now, Gomez says, it’s realistic to spend $60,000 on a kitchen remodel for a typical 10-foot-by-10-foot space. This includes “environmental testing and rental of dumpsters, as well as materials, such as new cabinets and countertops, and the labor to install them,” he says. “Just be sure to shop around and see what makes sense to you while you figure out how to afford it,” Gomez says.
Here are more examples of what you could pay:
Depending on where you live, there may be additional costs, Gomez says. For example, in the Pacific Northwest, where Gomez works as a contractor, mold and mildew testing is required before kitchen work begins. The cost of environmental testing often starts at $1,200, Gomez says.
Not only that, there may be other expenses that many are not aware of. “Usually you have to rent a dumpster to put outside your house, and that can cost $600 to $800 a month,” Gomez says.
In addition to the extra details, you can expect to pay anywhere from $350 to $20,000 to get the proper permits for the job, Gomez says. A smaller remodeling project can have a fairly low permit cost, while obtaining permits can cost tens of thousands of dollars if you want an addition to your home as part of the remodel.
Don’t forget about the professionals you may need as part of the remodel. Jensen says that if you need to move or add plumbing and electrical, you can expect to pay around $100 an hour to have professionals do the work for you.
Installation often costs extra, Jensen says. When getting a quote, confirm that it includes all expenses, including installation.
Avoid estimating your budget based on quotes you see on popular home renovation TV shows. Instead, ask your contractor for a range so you know the lowest and highest amounts possible.
Budget for a kitchen remodel
Deciding on a budget for your kitchen remodel requires you to step back and think about your circumstances.
Jensen suggests getting an idea of cost by visiting a big box retailer like Home Depot or Lowes. Talk to the people in the kitchen. Bring photos of your current design and talk about what you want to do differently,” she says. “They should be able to give you a decent estimate, but it will be a range. They will not be able to give you a fixed price, due to changes in the supply chain and the uncertainty of the work.”
know what you want
Make sure you know what you want before you start, says Gomez. Changing your kitchen fixtures after the process has begun can result in long waits for new items, plus restocking fees from the original order reduce profitability. Gomez suggests looking for reused wood from other projects and checking secondhand warehouses and sourcing for low-cost materials that are still high-quality.
“Backorders are expanding, and the longer we are on a project, the more it costs the customer,” Gomez notes. “Know what you want up front and make sure it’s available before you start. If it takes time to get what you want, it can delay the start of the project and reduce its cost.”
Jensen suggests finding out what you can do on your own and what you could salvage from the original kitchen. With planning, you can cut costs by reusing what you already have, as well as completing the simplest tasks on your own.
“Are your cabinets in good shape and just plain ugly? If so, you can cut a huge expense by simply painting existing cabinets,” she says. “If the design works for you, a total remodel may not be necessary. Trade in 1970s hardware for something new and get a whole new look for much less.”
Set realistic expectations
Finally, Gomez cautions against using popular TV shows to get an idea of your remodeling budget. “A lot of those programs get items for free or at a reduced cost, and that’s reflected in the smaller list of expenses they claim,” she says.
Add value to your home
The best way to get the best return on investment for your kitchen remodeling cost is to appeal to the masses, Gomez says. She suggests thinking about what a homebuyer might want in a kitchen and try not to customize it too much to your tastes.
“Create something that a lot of people can enjoy,” says Gomez. “If you get that hibachi grill, you might like it, but it’s expensive and it won’t really increase resale value.”
Gomez says her own kitchen remodel resulted in a sale price of $70,000 more than similar homes in the neighborhood because people liked the kitchen.
“People always look at kitchens, bathrooms, and the closet in the master bedroom,” she says. “Keep a neutral color palette and make sure everything is convenient and accessible.”
HELOC vs. Cash Out Refinancing to Finance Home Improvements
When deciding how to pay for the cost of your kitchen remodel, here are some options.
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is based on your available collateral. It has a disposition period (when you take the money out) and a payback period (when you pay it back). You only borrow what you need and can make payments similar to a credit card. Jensen recommends using a HELOC for short-term projects, unless you can refinance at a significantly lower interest rate.
Refinancing with cash out
On the other hand, a cash-out refinance can provide you with a lump sum up front. You replace your old mortgage with a new mortgage that is larger than the amount you still owe on the house. You can keep the difference in cash between the new mortgage and what you owed on the old loan. A cash-out refinance is basically financing your kitchen remodel for 30 years, or as long as you’re paying off your mortgage,” says Jensen.
Alternative financing methods
0% APR Credit Cards
A credit card with a 0% introductory APR on new purchases allows you to pay off home improvement costs over time, and some also offer rewards for your home improvement spending. Before you choose this option, just make sure you have a plan to pay off your balance in full before the introductory period ends, or you’ll be charged interest at the card’s regular APR.
Here are two credit card options to consider:
“Another option is a store credit card. With a relatively small project, you can get 0% APR and pay it off before the promotion expires,” says Jensen. Popular home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot offer retail credit cards with promotional financing offers on eligible purchases.
It is important to note that these promotional offers are deferred interest. Unlike a 0% APR intro period on a general credit card, which will only start accruing interest on any remaining balance after the period ends, deferred interest means you’ll charge interest until the date of purchase if you don’t. pay your balance in full before the end of the promotional period.
Gomez points out that you may be able to use a personal loan for home improvements, and that smaller community banks and credit unions often have flexible products that can be convenient and inexpensive. Just be sure to check all applicable fees, including origination fees and prepayment fees.
Home Improvement Grant
Gomez recommends looking for home improvement grants. Some federal, state, or local governments issue funds to help homeowners improve their homes. Check the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for programs and qualifications.