Given a hot real estate market and low interest rates, many Austin homeowners are looking for ways to improve the value and enjoyment of their properties. If that includes remodeling a house, there’s one room that promises more bang for your buck.
We’re talking about the kitchen, of course!
Kitchen Remodel ROI: A Look at the Numbers
The kitchen is arguably the most important space in a residence. It’s the focal point and gathering place for eating, cooking, and entertaining. It’s the first room that many prospective buyers gravitate toward, and the one that leaves the most lasting impression.
According to a study by Zillow, 58 percent of buyers say having a modern and updated kitchen is extremely important in their purchase decision. And although every buyer is different, you’re almost always going to get a strong return on investment when it goes into this space.
If you’re going to remodel part of your house, the kitchen should appear at the top of your list. The question is, how far should you take it?
Most kitchen remodels can be grouped into one of three categories:
- Minor kitchen remodel. In a minor kitchen remodel, cosmetic upgrades are the goal. You’re not gutting the kitchen down to the studs, you’re just giving it a light facelift. This may include any combination of: refacing cabinets, painting walls, installing new countertops, or upgrading the flooring. The ROI of a national minor kitchen remodel is 81.1 percent.
- Mid-range kitchen remodel. If you want to overhaul your kitchen and create a brand-new look and feel, you might be better off doing a mid-range kitchen remodel. This can involve tearing down a wall, removing cabinets to install new ones, swapping appliances, relocating plumbing, etc. The ROI of a national mid-range kitchen remodel is 59 percent.
- Upscale kitchen remodel. An upscale kitchen remodel involves many of the same elements of a mid-range remodel, but the finishes and appliances tend to lie on the luxury end of the spectrum. They may include high-end stoves and refrigerators, custom cabinetry, marble countertops, and similar classy touches. The ROI of a national upscale kitchen remodel is 53.5 percent.
You’ll have decided which type of remodel is right for you. If the goal is to turn around and sell the home, you probably won’t get all your money back, so an upscale kitchen remodel would be a waste; a strategic minor or mid-range remodel would be better.
If you’re expecting to live in the home for another 10 years, however, and you have the budget to justify the expense, an upscale remodel could make excellent sense. It’s all about identifying your goals and planning ahead.
Five Kitchen Remodeling Tips
Regardless of the type of kitchen remodel you select, some useful techniques will ensure you get the highest ROI for your project. Here are five essential ones.
1. Don’t DIY
The average homeowner can perform plenty of home remodel projects on their own. Whether it’s installing a couple of shelves, painting the walls, or replacing a light fixture, certain tasks are entirely manageable.
But an entire kitchen remodel is probably way above your level of skill and expertise. This is an essential room, and one for which you don’t want to cut corners.
Although it’ll cost you a bit more up front, hiring a professional will deliver a much better ROI when it’s all done. We recommend doing it right the first time.
2. Arrange a Temporary Kitchen
Depending on the extent of your remodel, the work could last several months. Rather than trying to live out of the same kitchen you’re remodeling, we recommend setting up a temporary one in another area of your home.
If your laundry room is large enough, that could be a good option, especially if it has a sink and available counter space. The garage is another option. Try using your old cabinets for storage.
3. Budget for the Unknown
You can’t plan for everything. We recommend having a detailed budget, but there are certain things you won’t encounter until you’re in the middle of the project.
For this reason, we recommend adding 10 to 20 percent to your estimated budget. Thus, if the remodel is expected to cost $30,000, you should assume it’ll cost somewhere between $33,000 and $36,000.
If it ends up being less, great! But if it ends up shifting into this upper range, then at least you planned for it in advance.
4. Install Cabinets Before Doing This
Don’t make the mistake of ordering all your materials at once. It’s better to work in stages.
For example, always install the cabinets before you order countertops. Otherwise, it’s possible the final dimensions of your cabinets will be different from what was called for in the plans.
5. Small Additions = Big ROI
Look for small and easy ways to improve your ROI. In many cases, paying attention to the following will help you recoup thousands more on the back end:
- Quartz counters. If you’re already going with granite countertops, upgrading to quartz doesn’t cost that much more (assuming you have a moderately sized kitchen). Yet, when buyers walk through, they’ll notice the difference.
- Backsplash. A backsplash doesn’t cost much. You might as well go with a quality material (such as individual tiles as opposed to sheets).
- Hardware. There are plenty of kitchen hardware options on the market. If you search online, you can usually find cheaper options than what’s available in the big box stores. However, be warned that cheaper options typically feel cheaper, as well. You’ll be touching your hardware every day – so don’t skimp!
- Lighting. Hanging light fixtures make a big statement. Likewise, you can totally upgrade the feel of a kitchen by installing inexpensive LED strip lighting.
As always, be certain you’re creating a cohesive look. Piece-mealing random elements together just because they add value won’t typically work. Use discernment and collaborate with a professional designer to get a second opinion.
Sell Your Austin Home With Green Residential
Looking to sell your Austin home? At Green Residential, we’re proud to be one of the only Houston realty companies to offer a flat-fee commission structure.
You’ll typically end up spending 6 percent of the sale price on buyer and seller agent commissions, but our structure will save you thousands of dollars at closing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can save you more of your hard-earned equity.