Everybody loves a chef-quality kitchen, and that shows in the realty market. Zonda, an California-based housing data and consulting firm, released a report in 2021 that ranked remodeling the kitchen third for home improvements that provide homeowners the highest return on their investment (ROI), during resale. Elizabeth Gomez, coowner of Bridge City Contracting (a contracting firm that specializes in home remodeling in Battleground, Washington), says, “You don’t always get a dollars-for-dollar return. A kitchen remodel can make your home more comfortable and more appealing, while also increasing its resale potential.
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- Remodeling a kitchen at an average cost
It can be difficult to estimate the cost of a kitchen remodel, especially with the recent disruptions in global supply chains. According to Zonda’s Cost vs. Valu report, a minor kitchen remodeling project is expected to cost around $26,214.
Mindy Jensen is the host of BiggerPockets Money Podcast and licensed real estate agent. She’s also an experienced home flipper. Jensen states that cabinets can cost as much as $50,000, but just as easily $10,000. “Flooring can be more expensive than $20 per square feet or as low as $0.99 per sq foot. It all depends on what materials and finishes you choose.
- Environmental Testing
Gomez says that depending on where you live there may be additional costs. In the Pacific Northwest, Gomez is a contractor and mold and mildew testing are required before any kitchen work can begin. Gomez points to the fact that environmental testing can cost as little as $1,200.
- Material disposal
There may be additional expenses that many people are unaware of. Gomez states that you will usually need to rent a dumpster outside your home. This can run from $600 to $800 per monthly.
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Gomez says that permits are required for any work. You can expect to pay between $350 and $20,000, depending on the details. While a smaller remodel project may have a lower permit cost, it could cost thousands to get the permits for an addition to your house.
- Hiring Professionals
You should also consider hiring professionals to help with the remodel. Jensen states that you should expect to pay $100 an hour for professional services if you have to move or add electrical.
Jensen emphasizes that installation is often an extra cost. Make sure to confirm that the estimate includes installation costs when you get it.
- Budgeting for a Kitchen Remodel
- You must take the time to evaluate your situation before you decide on a budget.
- Research First
Jensen recommends visiting big-box retailers like Lowes or Home Depot to get a sense of the cost. Talk to the kitchen staff. She suggests that you bring pictures of your current layout to show them and discuss what you would like to change. They should be able give you an estimate but it will likely be in the range. Due to the uncertainties of work and changes in supply chain, they won’t be capable of giving you a fixed price.
Jensen recommends that you determine what you can do yourself and what you could salvage from your original kitchen. Planning can help you save money by using what you already own and completing the more difficult tasks on your behalf.
Are your cabinets in good condition or just plain ugly? She says that if so, you can save a lot of money by painting your cabinets. A total remodel may not be necessary if the layout is suitable. You can replace the 1970s hardware with newer, more modern pieces and have a completely new look for much less.
- Add Value to Your House
Gomez says that appealing to the masses is the best way to maximize your return on investment when remodeling your kitchen. Gomez suggests that you think about what a homeowner might want in a kitchen, and not make it personal to your taste.
Gomez states, “Create something that a lot people can enjoy.” You might enjoy the hibachi grill but it is expensive and will not really increase your resale value.”
Gomez claims that her kitchen remodel was successful in selling the house for $70,000 more than comparable homes in the area. This is because the people loved the kitchen.
She points out that people always see the main bedroom closet, bathroom, and kitchen. Keep it neutral and ensure that everything is easily accessible.
HELOC vs. Cash Out Refinance to Fund Home Improvements
Here are some options to help you decide how to pay for your kitchen remodeling costs.
Your equity is the basis of a home equity line credit (HELOC). The draw period is when you take out the money and the repayment period is when you repay it. You can only borrow the amount you need and make repayments similar to a credit card. Jensen suggests using a HELOC to finance short-term projects unless you are able to refinance at a lower interest rate.
- Cash-out Refinance
A cash-out refinance, on the other hand can give you a lump sum upfront. The new mortgage is larger than your current mortgage. The cash difference between your old mortgage and the new mortgage is yours to keep. Jensen explains that a cash-out refinance basically funds your kitchen remodel for 30 years or as long as the mortgage is paid.
- Other funding methods
- Cards with 0% APR
Credit cards with 0% intro APR allow you to pay down your home improvements over time. Some credit cards also offer rewards for home improvement purchases. You should have a plan to repay your entire balance before the intro period ends. Otherwise, you will be charged interest at the regular APR.
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There are two options for credit cards:
Bank of America (r) Customized Cash Rewards credit card: 0% APR for new purchases for 15 billing cycles following account opening (13.99%-23.99% variable APR thereafter), and tiered bonus category cashback rewards
Wells Fargo Active cash(sm) card: 0% APR for new purchases for 15 month, then a variable APR of 14.99% to 19.99% or 24.99% on ongoing purchases. Every purchase earns you 2% cashback.
Another option is a store credit. Jensen says that a small project can be eligible for a 0% APR, and you can pay it off before the promotion ends. Popular stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot offer credit cards that allow you to get promotional financing on eligible purchases.
These promotional offers can be used to deferred interest. Deferred interest is different from a 0% intro period for a general credit card. This means that you will accrue interest back to the date of purchase, even if you do not pay the balance in full within the promotional period.
Gomez suggests that personal loans may be available for home improvement projects. Smaller credit unions and community banks often offer flexible products that are affordable and easy to use. Be sure to verify all fees, including early payment fees and origination fees.
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Home Improvement Grant
Gomez recommends looking into home improvement grants. There are funds available from federal, state and local governments to assist homeowners in upgrading their homes. For information on qualifications and programs, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.