Monday, June 27, 2011

Kitchen Remodeling and the Budget – Factors 1-4

How much is this kitchen going to cost?  This is one of the questions we hear most often.  And we often answer; are you trying to stay within a particular budget?  It is very important to determine a budget for any remodeling project, and kitchens are no exception.  Kitchen remodels are detailed, home specific, and influenced by each homeowner’s goals and tastes. This makes average project costs, square foot pricing, or ballpark guesses often unrealistic.  In this and the following blogs I will attempt to provide the background information and factors you can best use to determine a kitchen-remodeling budget that works for you.

As a first step you can look on the worldwide web and find some sites giving general budget costs.  Probably the best known is Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report that covers the entire country and then is broken down by region and city.  Informative, but still a one size fits all approach.  Just imagine kitchens in the Baltimore area that may range from small spaces in city townhouses, large multi-room spaces in Roland Park or Guilford that were first set up for a house with servants (wouldn’t that be nice), modern suburban homes with open design, or what were once country farmhouses.  The range is endless and limits the importance of the average kitchen price in your city.  A more detailed and systematic approach is better.  In the remainder of this blog and the next are eight factors to consider.

  1. Home Value – What is your home worth?  If you are a new homeowner this is fairly obvious.  If you have owned your home for a while you can talk with neighbors or realtors or review information on similar homes for sale in your area.  A good website for checking neighborhood values is  I find it less than accurate for any individual home but fairly accurate as an overview of a neighborhood.  Also, you have to consider the condition of the home.  New or remodeled kitchens or baths will add home value; we will have more on that in later blogs.
  2. Condition and Type of Home – In general newer homes with modern framing and sheetrock are less expensive to remodel than older homes with plaster and lath on old framing and block walls.  An older home may need window and door replacement as part of the kitchen remodeling.  Electrical and plumbing upgrades may also be required.  If the structural framing is going to change by opening the kitchen to other rooms or combining existing rooms, a larger budget will be required.  And if an addition is required or requested, a whole additional set of factors need to be considered.
  3. Length of Time in the Home – Give thought to how long you intend to live in the home.  If you are planning to be in the home for a long time, that calls for a different approach than if you plan to move within the next five years.
  4. Size – If your kitchen is abnormally large or small, this will typically mean increasing or decreasing the budget.  Larger kitchen more cabinets, counters, flooring, wall and ceiling finishes and an increased cost.

The next blog will review four more factors to consider.  The following blogs will have some information on putting it all together to arrive at a budget.

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