What Does It Really Cost to Remodel a Kitchen?

Are you toying with the idea of redoing the kitchen? Before demolishing cabinets, compare apples to apples and get a realistic estimate of expected expenses. Once you have this figure in hand, add a quarter of the sum as a fund for unexpected costs. So how should you get started? Perhaps more importantly — when doing the remodel yourself — how tight a reign do you need to keep on the man in the house, when he gets that demolition bug?


Redo, Remodel or Update?

Before evaluating if a kitchen remodel is worth the price, have a heart to heart with your checkbook. Replacing yellowing wallpaper, adding a new coat of paint, and perhaps updating some light fixtures or window treatments is relatively inexpensive. It is a lot cheaper than the average cost to remodel a kitchen — if it involves the replacement of cabinets and appliances.

Even the size of the room matters. A small kitchen remodel is a lot less labor-intensive and cheaper to furnish than a large space with perhaps enough room for a center island or two. Remodeling, a site owned and operated by Hanley Wood, LLC, identifies a minor kitchen remodel as a job that costs only about $21,411. On the flipside, a major kitchen remodel easily reaches $57,215 in costs.

Average Cost to remodel a Kitchen vs. Return on Investment

Even though spending in excess of $21,000 sounds like a lot of money, it is spent surprisingly quickly in the kitchen. Appliances alone quickly appropriate a large chunk of the available funds. Add to this the potential need for plumbing, electric, and gas contractors’ services — especially if the kitchen needs to get a few code upgrades — and it stands to reason that labor and materials costs may quickly hit the budgetary ceiling. The return on this size investment is only about 78.3 percent or $16,773.

A major kitchen remodel only offers a 72.1 percent return (or $41,260). It is interesting to note that the ability to recoup on a kitchen remodel is going down in the 2009 – 2010 reporting period. For a major upscale kitchen remodel – a complete gutting and do-over with above average appliances and finishes – that eats up to $111,794 in costs, the return on investment is even worse. Remodeling outlines that only 63.2 percent ($70,641) can be recovered during a sale of the property.

Change in the Real Estate Market dictates Frugality

Could it be that a standard Home Depot kitchen remodel or DIY project is the way to go? Should you avoid the costly granite, cork flooring, the spiffy warming drawer, built-in wine rack and the imported Italian tile? In a word: yes. The prime year for recouping the cost of a major kitchen remodel would have been 2004 or even 2005.

At that time cost and value were the closest. A major drop occurred in 2006, when the cost of a major upscale kitchen remodel skyrocketed above $105,000 but the value only caught up to about $80,000. As costs increased, value dropped.

Kitchen Remodel Cost: Worth the Price?

At this point, a minor kitchen remodel is the most cost-effective method to receive the greatest return on investment. Spend the leftover funds on up and coming home improvements that offer more financial advantages, such as an entry door replacement with a steel door or the basement remodel.

As always, individual figures differ from the average national cost to remodel a kitchen. Discuss your kitchen remodel with a realtor friend to get a feel for the local market and the preferences of home buyers in your area. Of course, if you are planning on staying put in your home, go ahead and buy what you like!


Remodeling; “Cost vs. Value

Remodeling; “Major Kitchen Remodel – Upscale

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