Kitchen Remodeling 101
So it’s that time of year again and you’ve (hopefully) received a large junk of change back from your tax return. Finally, the door to possibility is opening and all those hours binge watching HGTV for new ideas for your dream kitchen are flooding back and you’re ready to take the next steps. But before you take that leap it’s important to answer some questions about your kitchen project and needs.
One of the major things I’ve experienced with clients is they’ve gathered great ideas from what they’ve read or seen but do not take the time to ask what their specific needs are. So let me ask you, why do you want a remodel? Here are some common questions that might help you get to where you need:
“What do I use my kitchen for currently? Is it every day cooking for the family of 4 or do I want the ability to cook for larger events such as holidays? Do I need a more aesthetically pleasing atmosphere to host get-togethers or more functionality with that extra back sink? Do I plan on selling within the next 5 years and need to bring the value of the home up? And if so how much money do I need to budget for such a project to get a positive return?”
Asking yourself these questions and identifying existing issues you face with your current kitchen will give you a clearer direction for your remodeling project.
Now that you know what you want from the project it’s time to dive deeper. This includes asking more questions about your budget, cost vs value, and timeline.
So how much money do you have to spend on the project? Money is the grease to the project and unless you just hit the lotto most of us have some kind of budget we need to stay within so we don’t overstretch our bank accounts. So how do you figure out how much you’ll need to invest in this project? Well, it depends on a few factors such as size of your kitchen, location, and design decisions. According to HomeAdvisor, homeowners spend on average $12,594 to $33,118 with a median of $21,751. But this doesn’t include any large renovations such as changing or moving electrical or plumbing. A major midrange kitchen project costs on average $63,829. Choosing materials that make sense to the resale value can help keep costs down and money in your pocket. An example would be choosing laminate countertop vs granite. This decision could save upwards of 60% on the cost of the countertop without sacrificing too much on aesthetics. Choosing appliances that match your needs can save you in the long run so you need to ask yourself, “Do I need a high end stainless steel range with tech-heavy touchscreen controls or do I need to fulfill a more basic need since I only cook three times a week?” It helps to have a contractor that you trust go over options and come up with the best game plan for your budget. They should be able to work with you on different options especially if you require tearing down or putting up new walls.
Okay, so you have defined your “why” and have set parameters on the cost of the project and by doing so you have accomplished about 70% of the work by planning accordingly. If you haven’t been working with a contractor it’s time to communicate a timeline. Having clear communication and defined goals can help keep your project stay on track. Some questions you need to ask; “Do we need to special order any materials and if so how long will it take to get them? Am I responsible for gathering any materials myself? Do I have a hard deadline due to a family event that needs to be communicated to the contractor?” Factoring in time for unforeseen obstacles (every project will have these) can help manage expectations. Also, any changes made during the project will add extra time too so try to stay closely to the original blueprint. Before I leave you I want to touch on one of my biggest pet peeves that I have experienced personally and heard from family and friends and that is a lack of communication. So I can’t stress this point enough, communicate! In an age of advanced communication we still can’t win with this but getting testimonials from prior customers and seeing how they communicate the vetting stages is a good way to judge. If they’re not getting back to you in a timely fashion, especially during the beginning estimates chances are that behavior will continue throughout the project.