In this hot Austin real estate market, many homeowners are taking advantage of their equity to make improvements on their homes. To get the best bang for the buck, remodeling the kitchen is often the most valuable area of the home to target. Although a kitchen remodel isn’t as daunting as a whole home overhaul, updating a kitchen can become overwhelming if you let it. If you’ve decided to on take a kitchen renovation and feel like you may have bitten off more than you can chew, then read the following guide to help you develop your own recipe for kitchen remodeling success.
1. Don’t over-improve.
To make sure you don’t spend more on a kitchen than your home is worth, cap your kitchen renovation budget at about 15% of what your home could sell for. To find out what that number is, reach out to your trusted real estate agent for a Comparable Market Analysis, or CMA. Your real estate consultant will be able to access recently sold data in your area as well as features of kitchens in homes that have fetched the highest prices in your neighborhood. Based on that data, your real estate agent can help you figure out the best improvements to make for your home based on your budget and location.
For budgeting purposes, figure about 30% on cabinets; 14% on appliances; 10% on countertops; 5% on lighting; 4% on plumbing fixtures; 2% to 3% on paint; 1% to 2% on tiles, and 35% on construction costs, such as windows, flooring, and labor.
For a house that could sell at $250,000, that translates to about $11,000 on cabinets, $5,250 on appliances; $3,750 on countertops, $1,875 on lighting; $1,500 on plumbing fixtures; $1,125 on paint; $750 on tiles; and $12,000 on construction costs.
2. Pay for design services.
Before you go to work on your kitchen, you’ll need a strong plan of action. Without one, you can easily go over budget or lose control of the project. Although free design services at local home centers, kitchen stores and cabinet shops offer great services with the most appealing price tag, paying for professional independent design services can allow you access to more resources and better design expertise. Expect to pay 3 to 10 % of your project costs for design—a fair price for a design that really works.
3. Get creative with space.
Unless your house was built within the last few decades, your kitchen is almost certainly undersized. If you’re doing a major renovation (in other words, tearing things out and starting over), now is the time to expand the kitchen; here’s how to do it affordably.
- Steal space. Repurposing square footage from an adjacent hallway or a no-longer-needed chimney, closet, or porch and you can expand your kitchen at perhaps half the per-square-foot costs of an addition.
- Open the floorplan. You can make the kitchen feel much bigger by taking down a wall and creating an open floorplan between the kitchen and adjacent dining, family, or living room. In the context of a renovation project, this may cost $1,000 to $6,000, depending on whether the wall is load-bearing or contains major plumbing or electrical lines.
- Bump out. If you need to expand, you may be able to add a two-foot extension along one whole side of the kitchen by hanging it off the house like a bay window rather than putting it on a foundation. It could save you thousands compared to a full-fledged addition.
4. If it ain’t broke…
It can be easy to get carried away with making improvements. But you can keep the cost of your remodel under control by limiting how much of the old kitchen you replace. Keeping your existing windows can save you $500 to $1,000 per window; keeping the original wood floor hiding underneath all of those layers of linoleum and vinyl could save you $2,000. Keeping the plumbing fixtures and appliances in the same locations likely means you can reuse existing plumbing, saving you hundreds.
5. If you’re planning a move, keep it superficial.
If you expect to put your house on the market within the next 5 years, skip the elaborate renovation and go for a cosmetic upgrade instead. You can have old cabinets painted for $1,000 to $5,000 or refaced with a new wood veneer and new doors and drawer fronts for some $5,000 to $7,000. A new faucet and fresh cabinet hardware can be yours for under $500, new lighting for $500 to $2,000, depending on how far you take it; even new granite countertops might cost less than $4,000.
Even if you’re already gotten started on your kitchen remodel, you can ensure your remodel success by reaching out to a trusted real estate advisor for a free CMA. Reach out to David Brodsky Properties and within 24 hours we’ll schedule a complimentary consultation where we’ll provide you with a CMA and help you decide on the best selling price for your home to set the budget for your renovation project.
Read more about selling your Austin home.