If you’ve been dreaming of renovating your kitchen, you are not alone. A study by home renovation website Houzz found that a kitchen remodel was the most popular home improvement project in 2019. But it’s also one of the most expensive. The median cost for a major kitchen renovation lands at $35,000.
While renovation costs can run high, the investment in a kitchen remodel typically pays off. According to the National Association of Realtors, homeowners can expect to recoup about 59% of what they spend. The benefits don’t stop there, though. After completing a kitchen remodel, homeowners report better functionality and an increased desire to be home.
So whether you’re looking to personalize the space in a new home or your kitchen is long overdue for some updating, here's how to get the most of your renovation.
Start with the best financing option
The cost of renovating a kitchen can range vastly. According to HomeAdvisor, kitchen remodels range from $4,500 for small projects to $50,000 or more for large-scale or high-end projects.
Since remodeling can be an expensive undertaking, it’s crucial to make sure your budget and finances can handle it. When thinking about getting the most bang for your buck, you need to remember that it's not just what you pay that determines your ROI. It’s also how you pay. There are multiple ways to finance home improvement projects. Here are some of the most common:
Cash from savings
Store financing or credit cards
Home equity loan
Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
If you finance the project, you’ll need to factor in any costs associated with the funding. For example, if you’re considering paying with credit cards, consider that interest rates for new offers range from 15% to 23% APR. On the other hand, tapping into home equity may be a cheaper way to finance your remodel. Interest rates tend to be lower for home equity loans. However, you’ll also need to factor in additional expenses, like closing costs, and the term length before deciding if it’s a smart move.
Narrow down your wish list
To keep your costs down, as well as the time it will take to renovate, be selective about what to tackle during your kitchen remodel. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) suggests you create a priority list of your top 10 projects.
Also, don’t assume that a massive kitchen remodel is the best way to go. Remodeling Magazine estimates that homeowners who do minor kitchen remodels can expect an ROI of about 78% compared to 59% for homeowners who opt for major renovations.
When looking for ways to save, consider the areas that make up most of your budget and seek to keep those costs down. For example, cabinets make up almost a third of a kitchen renovation budget. Choosing to refinish or repaint them instead of replacing them altogether can provide significant savings while still delivering plenty of “wow” factor. Not to mention when it comes to countertops, opting for granite will run you about $58 per square foot.
Avoid these common mistakes
Before you jump into renovating your kitchen, be aware of common mistakes homeowners make. Avoiding these will keep your renovation costs low and your ROI high.
Not planning enough. The excitement of renovating may cause you to want to get started as soon as possible. But make sure you spend enough time on the planning phase. Take the time to nail down the projects you will tackle and compare the costs of materials, services and labor. Changing your mind mid-renovation can be a costly mistake.
Over-renovating. There’s such a thing as doing too much when it comes to remodeling. Putting in a luxury chef’s kitchen may be your dream, but consider whether it makes sense in your home and neighborhood. If your kitchen has over-the-top features that are not typical in your market, that could hurt you when it’s time to sell.
Over-customizing. Your kitchen design should reflect your needs, preferences and how you function in your home. But you should also think about how it appeals to a variety of tastes. If you incorporate features or design elements that are too unique, they could be a turn-off for prospective buyers and ultimately detract from your home's value.
DIY-ing when you should hire. Be realistic about what you can handle on your own. You’ll end up paying more money in the long run if you have to call in a professional to fix your mistakes.
Changing the footprint. Before you decide to knock down walls and swap the fridge with the stove, consider whether you can work with your kitchen’s existing layout. Changing around plumbing and electrical wiring is expensive. And it’s possible to misjudge the function of a new floorplan.