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What do you need to know about budgeting for a kitchen renovation?

If you are considering a kitchen remodeling project, you may be focused on finding pictures of the perfect cabinetry, countertop, or appliances.  Perhaps you dream of adding specialized storage to your kitchen or an island fit for food preparation and casual dining.  Have you considered how much this will cost, how much you are willing to spend, or how you will fund your project?  Here is our guide to the expenses involved in a kitchen renovation to help you understand how to budget for your next project.

Kitchen remodeling expenses can be categorized as follows:

  • Appliances:  depend largely on the specific models you want, plus applicable taxes, delivery, and installation fees.
  • Cabinets, countertops, other materials, and fixtures:  vary in price but a design professional will help you find the best solution according to your requirements and budget.
  • Contractors: depends on if you work with a designer/project manager who acts as general contractor or hire and supervise each individual subcontractor yourself.

Actual costs vary widely, but approximately represent the following amount of your overall budget:

  • Cabinets and appliances: 50%
  • Other materials and fixtures such as countertops, sinks, lighting, and windows: 25%
  • Labor: 25%
  • Unexpected costs/contingency: be prepared to tack on up to 20%

No matter how much planning goes into your project, you must allow for contingency in a kitchen design budget.  There are always surprises when remodeling, especially in an older home.  Big culprits are problems with electrical wiring or plumbing/leaks that can only be discovered once you begin looking underneath the surface.

The budget required to redo your kitchen can vary widely depending on your requirements, but on average an upscale remodel for a kitchen in the Philadelphia area is about $120k. This includes a complete layout change, deluxe details and architectural elements, top quality materials and accessories, custom and furniture-like cabinetry complete with storage accessories, professional stove and hood, and built-in or paneled appliances.

A mid-range kitchen remodel is around $64k, and includes plenty of high end features.  Some changes to the layout may be made, along with higher end built in appliances, custom island and cabinetry with customized storage, and better quality materials such as stone countertops and wood or stone floors.

A partial remodel can cost $20-30k, and includes replacing countertops, cabinets, and some minor design details.

While you may want to completely change your kitchen and include deluxe details, it is important to consider a number of factors before determining your remodeling budget:

First of all, how much can you afford to spend? 

Once you decide your requirements, set your budget and stick to it by limiting the scope or selecting materials that fit your budget.  Spend money on your top priorities, but look at where you can save on costs to stay within your chosen budget.  For example, select semi-custom or stock cabinets, or change the “best appliances” out for “better appliances”.

Second, how long do you plan to stay in your house?

If you plan to sell within five years, then view your renovation as an investment and only spend what you plan to get back when you sell.  If you plan to stay in the home longer, then do a remodel that will enhance your family life.

Finally, stick to your plan and stay on budget!

This can be difficult when there are so any design options available, so here are a few more things to consider:

  • Set your priorities and focus your budget on those items.
  • Do not make last minute decisions to change out items for higher end alternatives.
  • Be aware of permit fees charged by your local building authority.
  • Debris removal can add to costs, but is part of an overall budget if working with a design/build firm.
  • No functional kitchen for a period of time means you have to eat out or live somewhere else while the renovation is taking place.
  • If you are taking a DIY approach there is more potential for unforeseen costs that would typically be identified and managed by a design/build firm.
  • Finally, think about how you will pay for the remodeling project and find out when you will get money if taking out a loan.  You need to plan in advance to pay for deposits and materials. 

A kitchen renovation is an exciting project that can make a huge difference in your home and quality of life.  Make it a positive experience by considering your requirements and priorities, researching the costs and setting a budget, and then sticking to your plan!  Your kitchen design professional can help you find the ideal solution to meet your requirements and fit your price range.