“What is your budget?” This is one of the questions you’ll be asked by your kitchen designer and remodeling contractor. Before they begin work on the development of a design, the designer will want to understand the financial limitations and expectations of the client. And since determining a kitchen remodel budget can be a shot in the dark for some homeowners, we’ve tried to put together some practical steps that may help you. Here’s how you can come up with a budget that will fit your financial situation and the goals you expect to achieve through a kitchen remodel.
Financial Considerations for the Kitchen Remodel Budget
There are several factors that homeowners should be considering when determining their budget. One of those relates to how long you intend to own or be living in this particular home.
The majority of Americans will move out of their home in less than 10 years after they have purchased it, according to statistics kept by realtors. Many of these homeowners will remodel their kitchen during that time as well. Where you are in the buy-sell cycle of your home can make a big difference on how much you will be willing to invest into your kitchen. Your kitchen remodel budget strategy will be different if you are remodeling with the intent to put your home on the market within the next year than the person who has just purchased a home and is remodeling the kitchen to meet their own needs and lifestyle. In either case, you should be looking to realize a return on your remodel investment at the time you sell the home.
How you plan to finance the remodel will also be a factor in setting your budget. Do you have a set amount of cash available for the remodel or will you be borrowing funds? If you are borrowing funds through a home equity loan or refinancing your home, how much can you afford for a monthly payment, and what does that translate into for available funds?
Create a list of the major components to your kitchen remodel in order of priority. Your list might look something like this:
- Demo and install labor
- Light Fixtures
A general rule of thumb for full kitchen remodels is to expect approximately 65% of your budget to go towards cabinets and countertops. A large portion of your remaining kitchen remodel budget will be needed for the demolition and installation labor, which will also include your electrician and plumber. Flooring, appliances and light fixtures will make up the rest of your budget. Remodel budgets should always include some room for unforeseen costs, which may be uncovered in the process of tearing out the existing kitchen. If no surprises develop, that budget cushion then becomes available for upgrades or décor extras that weren’t originally in the budget.
An important factor in keeping within a kitchen remodel budget that many homeowners don’t fully account for is the ability for the remodel to remain on schedule and be completed within the agreed upon timeframe. Since each stage of the project depends on the timely completion of the previous stage, delays during the initial phases of the project cannot also be compensated for later on. Changes to layout or material choices after the project has begun can often create delays and associated cost overruns. Homeowners need to recognize their role in keeping a project on time and in budget by taking the time to finalize their selections prior to the project start date or by deadlines provided by their contractor.
The Inconvenience Factor
There is a personal budgeting item that homeowners also often overlook with a kitchen remodel, that is the inconvenience factor created by having your kitchen torn apart for a stretch of time. The kitchen is such a central element to home life that having it nonfunctional for several days or weeks in a row is bound to have an impact on, not only meals, but food preparation and storage as well. Eating out, ordering take-out or, at the very least, simplifying your meal preparation is bound to affect your dining budget as well.
Bringing It All Together
Hopefully, this article has given you some idea of the various factors that need to be taken into consideration when creating your basic kitchen remodel budget. It is best to settle upon a budget range for the remodel, with the bottom number being what you would ideally like the costs to be and the top number being the very most you would be willing and able to spend. Once you have that budgetary range established, it is time to work with your designer and contractor to detail out the line items in your budget and determine what your priorities are. We’ll discuss that process in our next post.