Remodeling Your Kitchen Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive and Stressful
When it comes to major home improvements, no project has the impact, potential recoverable value, and potential for cost overruns and major stress production than a full-on kitchen remodel. But getting your kitchen remodeled doesn’t have to be as expensive as some would have you believe. And with the following nine tips to guide you through the process, it doesn’t have to be tremendously stressful, either.
1 – Evaluate Your Needs
Not having a good understanding of your needs before getting too far along the path of what could be, is where many homeowners go wrong in planning for a kitchen remodel. Sure, an eight burner commercial quality gas stove might look great with a hand-hammered copper hood fan, installed in its own island with a sink and pot faucet next door, but do you actually need all that? Being realistic about what you do in the kitchen and what isn’t currently working for you is a great first step toward a successful remodel.
2 – Make a Plan
Now that you’ve evaluated your needs, make a plan for your remodel that fits into your budget and won’t cause you too much stress in dealing with contractors, cabinet makers, building inspectors and the like.
3 – Stick to Your Existing Footprint and Floor Plan (If Possible)
Nothing drives up the costs of a kitchen remodel more than expanding space and/or switching the floor plan around. Moving plumbing and electrical, knocking down walls, building bump outs, etc. are very quick ways to drive up the cost of your remodel. If you can, try to stick with your existing floor plan, or at least your existing footprint.
4 – Don’t Skimp on Task Lighting
Many homeowners report that their level of satisfaction with the finished remodel had more to do with the quality of light in the task-oriented areas of the kitchen than it did with the new backsplash, countertops, or cabinets. Make sure that your lighting design works with the functionality of your kitchen. This is one area where you don’t want to cut corners.
5 – Consider Keeping Your Cabinets or Buying Pre-Constructed Ones
Custom cabinetry is very expensive — sometimes as much as ten times as expensive as similarly constructed, similar looking pre-fabricated cabinetry. But for real savings, consider upgrading your current cabinets with a new finish, or new hardware. You might be surprised at how far you can take what you’ve already got with a little work, and a couple of trips to the hardware store.
6 – Pick Your Appliances Early
This one should go without saying; it’s so simple. If you pick out the appliances you want as early in the process as possible, it gives you more time to comparison shop and scout out the best pricing. Almost nothing costs as much as having to buy something because you need it immediately.
7 – Research Your Contractor(s)
Like many things in life, not all contractors are as knowledgeable and capable as you might expect them to be. Some are great at getting jobs based on their acumen at bidding, only to have a history of terrible cost overruns. Use the local Better Business Bureau, builders and real estate associations, online reviews, and any other information you can get your hands on to vet your potential partners in this remodel.
8 – Get Multiple Bids
Rarely is there one price for anything. This couldn’t be more true than in the world of remodeling. You would benefit greatly from learning what you can about evaluating bids, and applying that knowledge to selecting a contractor.
9 – Stay Involved During the Process
Cost overruns have a tendency to grow in the dark. And, while no contractor does their best work while being continually hassled by a paranoid homeowner, staying at least somewhat involved in the process and the accumulation of costs that come with it is a wise idea.
Remodeling Your Kitchen Can Yield Big Rewards
No other home improvement project has the potential for recovering costs when you sell your home than updating a kitchen. While most homeowners can expect to recover somewhere around two-thirds of what they put into a kitchen remodel, with a little planning and due diligence using the tips above, you can control both your costs and the stress of getting the job done right.
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