The scariest part of your kitchen remodel is going to be the cost. Sure, opening up walls and finding a cockroach, or seeing a dead mouse under the fridge may be frightening too, but shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for a kitchen remodel can be nerve wracking. Part of the reason it’s so scary is that you have to pay for it before you ever get a chance to look at it. It’s not like buying a car where you can take a test drive or rent it for a couple days to see if you like it. It can be more worrisome than buying a house. At least you can tour the house a few times before you make an offer.
If you feel a bit overwhelmed at the financial investment you are about to make, you should know that it’s a normal reaction. Now, you know why I stressed at the beginning of the book the importance of determining whether or not you actually need to remodel your kitchen in the first place. It’s a big investment.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect to pay for your remodel and some strategies you can use to keep your renovation costs from growing. We’ll also discuss the different material options you have for your project. If you have a solid understanding of what your material and labor costs will be before you meet with a general contractor, then you’ll be able to better scrutinize their estimates. You’ll also be in a much better position to identify areas for savings.
Typical Kitchen Renovation Costs
According to PopularMechanics.com1, a minor kitchen renovation will average around $18,500 while a high-end remodel averages closer to $54,000. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t get a high-end look for less than $20,000. Of course, you can also pay well over $60,000 and still have a basic looking kitchen.
What’s the difference between a $20,000 kitchen renovation and one that costs $100,000? It’s going to come down to the amount and quality of the material, and then the scope of the labor involved to install that material. If you select lower cost materials or reduce the scope of the project, you’re going to save money. If you pick expensive items for your new kitchen and the amount of labor involved overall is significant, then you’re going to pay more. It’s that simple. How much will your new kitchen cost? Let’s figure that out next.
Remodeling Material Costs
Your material costs will likely be the biggest price driver in your renovation. A collection of kitchen remodels and their respective budgets on Fixr.com2 reveals that the material costs will end up being roughly 70% to 80% of your overall budget! This trend is pretty consistent across all kitchen remodel budgets.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Roughly one third of the material budget will be for new cabinets. The fact that the majority of your budget will be materials should be welcome news to you. Guess who controls the material selection for your project. That’s right, you do. Granted, your designer will make suggestions for material, but ultimately, it’s your call. If your budget starts to get too high, you can always pick less expensive items.
Believe it or not, we already have enough information to start making some rough estimates for the cost of a kitchen remodel. Here’s a helpful example. Let’s pretend you have a renovation budget of $25,000 (after you pay your kitchen designer, of course). As we discussed, you can assume around 75% of that will be for materials, which is $18,750. Subtract that amount from $25,000, and that leaves $6,250 left over for labor. Of the $18,750, around one third will go toward cabinet costs, which in this case is another $6,250.
Knowing these rough numbers, up front, can help you while your shopping for cabinets. If you see a set of cabinets for $10,000, you’ll know that it’s more than your budget can afford, or you’ll need to identify savings elsewhere in your plan if you absolutely have to have them. Conversely, if you see a cabinet set for $5,000, you’ll know that you can afford them, and you’re likely to save some money in the long run.
Your Kitchen Redesign Budget
Ultimately, your kitchen renovation will fall under one of two categories: it will either be budget driven or goal driven. That is to say, you’ll either have a total amount for the remodel that you’ll have to stay under, or you’ll simply buy what you want and it costs what it costs. I suspect that most kitchen remodels are budget driven. For example, if you take out a home equity line of credit for $30,000 to renovate your kitchen, you’ll want to keep the renovation at $30,000 or less. If however, you have a large enough budget that you can pick out whatever appliances or cabinets you’d like, you are goal driven.
The decision on how much money to spend on your kitchen remodel is a personal decision you need to make, and I’m not going to suggest any type of bare minimum value. I will, however, urge you to make sure that you’ve planned properly by considering all of the expected costs.