A kitchen remodel is a huge undertaking, no doubt about it. However, careful planning will reap rewards. Remodeled kitchens not only help pay for themselves by increasing home value, they’re also an investment in homeowner enjoyment. Follow this checklist and embark on a kitchen remodel with confidence that time and money are being spent wisely.
1. Creating a Vision
Make a list of goals for your kitchen remodel. Helpful questions to ask are:
• How many people usually work in the kitchen together?
• Is someone in the house a serious chef?
• Is the kitchen a hub for social activity?
• Is easy clean-up a priority?
Write down what defines your dream kitchen. Then, go back and prioritize based on your necessities, small wants, and absolute splurges.
2. Assessing the Space
Get either an architectural rendering or a to-scale drawing of your kitchen showing the location of doors, windows, and outlets as well as heating and plumbing lines. If you have your original blueprints, this will be extremely helpful. It’s important to get accurate measurements—to at least 1/4″— and also include vertical (floor to ceiling) measurements. Have the contractor verify your measurements.
3. Setting a Budget
A good rule of thumb is to spend about 10% to 20% of the home’s current market value on a kitchen remodel. Keep in mind that it’s possible to return up to 90% of this investment when the home is sold. Set two numbers: the expected cost and the maximum cost. Other factors to consider are where to save and where to splurge. Avid cooks will want to splurge on appliances, while other people may choose to spend more on aesthetics, like tile. Finally, but most importantly, anticipate and budget for added expenses (up to 20% on average).
4. Selecting Materials
This process requires doing some homework. Consumer Reports and other trade websites are a good place to see how different materials have been rated. Talk to family and friends who have experience with a kitchen remodel and see what worked for them. It may be worth it to spend the money on an interior designer or kitchen planner who can advise on the best materials for your project.
5. Selecting Vendors
Although it may add to the cost, finding a reputable contractor is important. Get bids from several contractors and ask them for three former customers who can give references. Contact the customers and ask about their satisfaction with the product. Was the project completed on time and within budget? They may even let you visit them to see the work that was done. Make sure to check proof of licensing and current insurance coverage on all potential contractors.
By keeping a checklist, your kitchen remodel can be a smooth process with minimal surprises (there are always some). And remember, when the kitchen is torn up and dust is everywhere, there’s a long-term reward in a beautiful, more functional kitchen.