Flipping through magazine images of beautiful kitchens is so wonderful and painful at the same time. It’s wonderful because the kitchens are so inspiring. I can see lots in all the images that I’d love to have in my own kitchen – a large fridge, a centre island with its own sink and seating on the opposite edge, an expanse of counter space. And that’s the part that’s ultimately painful.
I can’t have most of those things unless I knock out a wall or two. My kitchen is a pretty typical 10 x 10 square foot … well, square. I already have a lot packed into it. But, what if I really was to embark on a renovation? How much would it cost?
The truth is that my kitchen has seen a few major and minor remodels over the years. No matter how many times I go through it, the same question pops up: how much is this going to cost? The whole process feels less than straightforward to me.
So, I thought I’d set out a kind of a guideline to help you, and ultimately me when I decide to remodel again, outline a budget.
A typical reno can run between $10,000 and $100,000. Because that’s a huge range, you might think that it’s not very helpful. But, in actual fact, it tells us something very important about kitchen remodels. It tells us that there are more important questions that need to be answered before a budget can be set in place.
The first question is how much can you really afford. Also consider how long you plan to live in your home. If it’s 5 years or less, you should probably undertake a minor renovation instead of a large-scale change. The logic here is getting back (in the sale price) what you put into it.
You should also analyze how you use your kitchen. Do you really need a 6 burner stove when you’re cooking for only a few people a few days of the week?
Create a spreadsheet on which you can record the specific appliances you want to purchase and how much each will cost. Add a line for labor costs as well. That last bit could cost you approximately one third of the total renovation cost. Finally, add a contingency fund line, usually about 10% of the total project. Hopefully, you’ll never have to dip into this. But, speaking from experience, and if you live in an older home, there are bound to be surprises behind the walls.
hiring the right people
You’ll need to think about whether you need to hire a designer to come up with the renovation blueprint along with a contractor. Or, perhaps you can find a contractor who can create the design template him or herself. The latter option could save thousands of dollars.
Seek out at least 3 quotes. If you’re lucky, your contractors will submit quotes that fall within the same ballpark. That will tell you how much a renovation should cost. If your quotes come back to you in a range, do a little more research. Ideally, beware of hiring the most expensive and the least expensive offers. A quote that falls somewhere in the middle should indicate the skill and integrity of the contractor.
paying for it
Regardless of whether or not you have the cash in the bank, it’s a good idea to qualify for financing from a bank. Look for a low interest rate and a flexible payment schedule.
Share with us your own renovation tips!