Cost of new kitchen?

cayuga2008August 2, 2008

Is there a rule of thumb for the cost of a new kitchen?

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Some say 15% of home value, but really, it depends market to market and often home to home.

Mine is about 25% of the home value, but I've also seen some kitchens around here done at 5% or even less, that are FABULOUS, and easily look to be in the 25% category. (Look at the finished kitchen blog for some great DIY kitchens).

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 8:57PM
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Sure... take your worst nightmare and double it! Sorry, couldn't resist. (In truth, that's almost exactly correct in our case.) It really depends on the extent of construction needed, your taste in cabinets, fixtures, countertops, flooring and appliances, and your geographic location. Even our KD was appalled at how high the bids were. In our case, we had to completely demolish 350 square feet to the studs and subfloor, reframe, rewire, re-plumb and install big cabinet runs in our old 1930 Spanish. We also have champagne taste in appliances. You'd be shocked at the final number, even though we shopped around carefully and cut quite a few corners. Many members here have found ways to save $$$ on remodels. The most recent Consumer Reports dealt with cost-effective kitchen remodeling. Good luck. And plan, plan, plan. Even then you'll be surprised!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 9:00PM
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my very small kitchen in our current home for which I got cabinets at Lowes and was my own GC cost about 20K. That included new flooring, appliances, lighting, etc. We did not do structural work or even change the position of our plumbing.

we are moving to an old farmhouse at the end of the month and expect that kitchen to cost a lot more.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 9:44PM
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I think the rule of thumb is what can you afford. We spent 10% of the value of our home. We did overshoot our budgtet but ultimately wanted a kitchen that we would enjoy as we're not planning on moving anytime soon.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 9:55PM
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I think it is hard to say on a % basis... I think if it a starter home and in a neighborhood where you shouldn't over improve, you need to REALLY pay attention to how much you put into the kitchen. If it is a house you'll live in for a long time or a house in an area that will support whatever sort of improvement you'd want to make, I would say put as much into as you can afford.

My situation is the latter and we stretched to do as much as we could afford... it was part of a larger renovation so it is hard to say an exact amount as labor costs were not specifically broken down for each individual room.

We went for built-in and more pro-style appliances which cost more and factor significantly in your budgeting (our appliances cost about $15K... some people would spend this just on a range, others could do a whole kitchen for this... it varies so much!!).

My granite was about $6K - butcher block countertop almost $3K, and cabinets were $26K.

Flooring, windows, and labor... hard to say. I don't have a number on that.

Your final number will largely depend on the choices you make... you can see with my two big numbers, cabinetry and appliances, that I could have certainly spent far less. I didn't because we'll be in this house hopefully forever and in the event that we do have to move we'll get the money back in the selling price.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 10:09PM
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I wouldn't go with a percentage of the value of the house right now because where we live (So Cal), what we paid for our house last year has nothing to do with its current value or its value tomorrow or the value next month or next year. PLUS because of the wonky real estate and loan market right now, everything we put into the house that's not already part of the mortgage has to come directly out of our pockets instead of using a construction loan or HELOC. This means that our reno has suddenly become a much less expensive proposition. We are therefore looking for creative solutions -- such as ikea cabs and a lot of DIY. DH will be installing the new wood floors. We'll assemble and install our own cabs, we'll be doing our own demo, finish plumbing and finish electrical, installing our appliances ourselves, painting, baseboards, trim, etc. The outside contractor work will be limited to tasks that we just can't do ourselves, and our appliances will not be crazy expensive luxury brands. We'll be reusing our 2 yr old LG stainless SXS refrigerator, and possibly using our countertop microwave on a mw shelf, too, so that we can put the money to better use on backsplash, counters, flooring, and a better layout.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 1:12AM
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I thought 10% of the home's value was a good place start. After getting five estimates (3 from local kitchen stores; one from a builder and finally one from a custom shop) the actual cost is going to be closer to 15%. All estimates were within two to four thousand from high to low. We are going with the custom shop, not the highest estimate received. Remodel includes cabinets, new appliances, electrical, backsplash tile and granite tops. Hardwood floor already in place. It's more than we ever imagined!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 10:02PM
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A new kitchen costs about what you'd pay for a new car. Now, that new car can be a Ford Focus, or a Nissan Altima, or a Chevrolet Corvette or a Mercedes SL500 or a Ferrari anything. You know where you are in that priceline. The goal is to try to not put a Ford kitchen in a Mercedes neighborhood or a Ferrari kitchen in a Nissan neighborhood.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 11:12PM
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This thread is interesting. When we redid our kitchen 2 1/2 years ago the cost of our kitchen was about 15 % of the value of our home. Today the price of homes has fallen significantly. We are not in a hurry to sell so it is o.k.,but something to think about. I say spend what you are going to be comfortable with now and in the coming years.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 11:33PM
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After reading this forum for 3-4 months I've come to the conclusion that you could spend any amount on a kitchen. The car analogy by live_wire above seems the most logical to me.

In our case we're in a neighborhood that likes to think of itself as a Prius but is actually becoming a Mercedes. For that reason, I wonder if we're underspending -- we'll probably end up spending about 5-7 percent of our home's value -- but in the end it's what we were comfortable with. We'll be here for a while, maybe 10 years (we've already lived in the house for 14 years), and I know we'll enjoy the new kitchen over that time. Would we enjoy it more if we'd spent double? Maybe, but we spent the money on the things that were important to us.

I used to edit an architecture magazine and one truism I heard from architects was "put the money in the things you touch every day." Another was "there should always be one really cool thing." Our cool thing -- which we'll touch multiple times every day -- is our soapstone counters. We spent as much on them as on our IKEA cabinets and it seems like a good trade-off.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 12:04AM
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I like the car analogy. I also think its a little more complicated than a percentage of the home value. At 10-15% of my home's "value", my 10' x 10' kitchen should cost anywhere from $70,000 to $120,000, BUT my house (and my budget) and neighborhood would not warrant that. Granted, I live in an area where housing prices are over-inflated; there are many other places where 10% of the home's value wouldn't get you even a basic kitchen.

I will probably put some features into the kitchen that are a bit over the top for the neighborhood because I plan to live in this home for a long time and would enjoy sw_in_austin, I also like to have one (or two) "really cool things"...if I were planning to sell anytime soon, I probably would not do that even. Even with this I'll probably be within 5% of the home's "value".

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 12:59AM
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My kitchen is part of my new house construction, but for the kitchen, here is where I am. this house is a DIY job, so there are no labor costs added in here. I finished laying the hardwood this weekend and man do I have a whole new appreciation for the professionals!! That is HARD work!! Our cabinet builder is a great guy. When he quoted the price, we told him he would not have to deliver or install....we would take care of that part to save some money. Well, he's coming up from charleston Saturday to help us install them anyway. Anyway...we are looking at around $18,000 for the kitchen part of this house. Not bad considering the size of the kitchen. I am a happy camper.

Flooring: 3/4" x 3" wide quartersawn white oak $800 (finishing will be around another $100)
3 pendant lights (on clearance) for $90
5 recessed lights $100
Paint (2 gallons) $50
Custom cabinets $6000
Appliances $6500
granite (projected cost) $3500
undercabinet lighting $250

grand total $17,390

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 8:18AM
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Hi all Great community here. I mostly lurk, but this topic is very interesting to me, and IÂve given it a lot of thought lately. My wife and I are about 2 weeks away from breaking ground on our new home. To that end, IÂve been obsessing over budgets and pricing and "percentage of total cost" scenarios. IÂm also a Realtor by profession, and do a lot of work with developers and new construction, so have a good idea what things cost to build vs. what they cost (or are worth) to a consumer.

Regarding kitchen value as a percentage of total home value, and whether 10% or 15% or whatever, is a good starting point, IÂve got an observation/theoretical example that might be helpful and fun to discussÂ

Fist of all, the big question; Are we referring to Âhome value (what your house cost to build OR replacement cost for the same house on the same lot) or Âtotal property value (what a buyer would pay for your home)? My guess is that houses cost about the same to build wherever you are (ie: the same size house with similar amenities and workmanship would probably cost about the same to construct whether itÂs in Seattle, Chicago, or New York). Depending on where you live in the US however, your lot (land) might be worth $20k, or it might be worth $2m+.

I live north of Boston where thereÂs not a lot of available land, and property values are high. The average million dollar propertyÂs value here is probably split evenly between home and land. The same exact property 2 hours west or north of me however, might be marketed for 40% less, with the value of the house at 80%+ of the total.

Take Boxford, MA for example (Classic New England 30 miles north of Boston). A semi-custom, 4000 sq/ft home there, on 2 acres with a 3 car attached garage would probably list between $1.2m-$1.4m. Now drive exactly 2 hours west to Belchertown, MA, an equally beautiful, quintessential New England town, but thatÂs 100 miles from the cityÂwhere the same home on a similar lot would probably list for $600-$700k. Based on the 10-15% (of TOTAL value) kitchen scenario, the Belchertown buyer would want to spend $60-$90k on their kitchen, while the Boxford buyer would want to spend $120-$180k on their kitchenÂin the same houseÂjust because of the difference in land value. On the other hand, if you figure that both houses cost about the same to build (letÂs say $500k), both buyers would look to spend $50-$75k on their kitchensÂwhich not only sounds more reasonable, itÂs probably more accurate ($30-$40k for cabs and counters, $10-$20k for appliances, $5-$10k for flooring, lighting, etc.).

The bottom line, as many have already mentioned, is spend an amount you feel comfortable with, keeping in mind that kitchens are by far the most expensive room in most peoples homes. If you really want to use a percentage of value equation however, itÂs probably best to consider the value of your house, relative to the value of your total property.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 10:51AM
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The percent-of-home's-value rule doesn't work in either very low end or very high end communities. I spent about 8% of my home's value but 2 years ago it would have been 6% -- I'm in Southern CA where everything was crazy. Try calculating the cost of the cabinets (NOT the wildly misleading cost per linear foot of cabinet that HD uses) and tripling that.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 11:53AM
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This community is a small (

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 12:03PM
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The 15% figure is normally on market value not cost to build, which is actually a wildly different number in each market. Here it's about double what it is elsewhere. In Houston I could build a mansion for what a house goes for here. In our rural communities it costs about $200,000 to build a 1000 sq ft Basic home(without plumbing which would add another $50,000 to the figure normally). So 15% of market (or total) value stated above :)

But again Live wire nailed it LOL And I am afraid to even look up what car I could have bought. I do know in our corporate rental I'm limiting the kitchen to under $20,000 (some sort of used VW?)

Sadly I'm buying a car next month :) (Ok that's ok) I guess it might be close to our rental maybe that kitchen is an Audi Allroad heh heh and my other kitchen...we'll lets just say I like driving a nice cup of coffee in the morning more than I care what car I drive.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 12:17PM
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I think it becomes more complicated when you consider the local cost of labor. I live in CT, also in a NE town but with relatively modest home values. The cost of labor in CT is sky high compared to, say, outside the Dallas Texas area where my sister lived for a while. It is a bargain, however, compared to what it costs in NY City. Even if the price of materials were the same, the price of labor would mean you have to spend a lot more for the same kitchen here than in Texas. Even within CT, a modest kitchen will cost me a larger percentage of my home value than someone in nearby town with higher housing costs. The labor rates are about the same for me as they are for very high priced areas in CT. So, it will cost me a lot higher a % of my homes value for my kitchen even if I get a Chevy rather than a Mercedes, so to speak, because the cost of the plumber, electrician and carpenter are often the same whether they are installing a high end sink or a budget one, a 1000.00 light or a 100.00 light. The person in the higher priced home will spend a lot more on higher end materials, but base cost of installing the rough electrical and plumbing will be close for similar sized kitchens in either place. There might be a $20,000.00 14 x 16' kitchen going in one house and a $75,000.00 one of similar size going in within a 20 mile radius, and the same plumber and electrician on both jobs. The 20,000.00 kitchen may have electrical, plumbing and installation costs of 10,000. with materials being the other 10,000. The 75,000.00 kitchen might have labor costs of 20-25,000.00 (more detailed or complicated work, etc.) and materials of 50-55,000.00. But labor is going to be a higher percentage of the cost in a lower end kitchen than higher end one and that means a kitchen will probably cost a higher percentage of the home value even if they keep the costs of materials down. The guys building the Chevy want just as much for their time as the guys building the Mercedes. The cost of labor also means locally built custom cabs might cost a lot more in some areas of the country than others in part because they are so labor intensive. So, while they might be very reasonable in some places they might not be a budget option at all in others. I could be wrong, but I think you could find a custom cabinet maker to produce the same cabs for a lot less money in Dallas than Boston. I think DIYers are kind of the great equalizers. They take much of the labor cost out of the equation, and the costs of materials, esp. cabinets from large manufacturers, and and other things like appliances, are often similar across the country or at least are accessible through the internet at costs that are close across the country.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 11:59PM
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live wire's advice seems to be spot on. Going by a percentage of house value would have us spending more than we felt comfortable and probably more than the modest 1950's style house would need. However, using the car analogy - what we would feel comfortable spending on a car and the types of cars in the neighborhood think Toyota Camry typical - Acura MDX on the upper end. Also quite a few houses are torn down to build the huge 4000 square foot home - so for all the money we put in the house my DH swears it will end up being a torn down someday.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 3:22AM
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Sue_CT, you nailed it. I'm in NYC - but in Queens, not Manhattan. Which means my coop is worth way less than one in Manhattan, but my labor costs are just as high. I looked at one of the cabinet company's online budget estimators - it suggested spending 10-20% of my home's value, and defaulted to 15%. But it only allocated about $6k of that for labor (and so was able to allocate a much larger percentage for cabinets :-)). $6k???!!! I don't think that would buy me *demo* in NYC!! My labor costs are over half my budget.

So I'm ending up spending *much* more than I ever anticipated, and I'm not getting a super high-end kitchen. I'm getting a *nice* kitchen - very nice for my neighborhood. Extremely nice for my building - I'm not sure how many non-Formica countertops and stainless steel appliances there are here (though maybe I'd be surprised).

But I'm improving it for *me* - not to sell. I'm planning on living here for many years, and it becomes a matter of - hey, I'm spending the same on labor whether I do nicer materials or not, so I may as well try to squeeze in as much as possible. I saw someone's renovated kitchen and they'd cheaped out on materials and it looked like a cheap kitchen, and I *know* they spent a fortune on labor! (It was one of my contractor's references.)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 7:52AM
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This is a great thread. Your kitchen can cost as much as you can bear and/or it can be a great value depending on your approach. We are doing a major remodel with lots of plumbing and electrical - but doing it ourselves so saving a ton. But you can hire out that sort of labor and still save a ton if you're a good value hunter and know what you want. And buy direct as much as possible so you don't have extra mark ups.

Our kitchen is 16x11 and the cost with new everything and high-end appliances, stone counter, bells & whistles cabinets.. will be about $26K.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 8:39AM
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I'm in Brookyn, another one of NYC's outer boroughs, and I believe the labor fees I'm paying for this kitchen reno are as high as they would be on average in Manhattan. Like yours, Charlikin, they are a whopping 50+ of the total budget! However, on top of that 50%, the GC takes 20% in management fees: 10% of the fees that the not-cheaps subs are charging and another 10% on the cost of allocations (including items I have purchased!). As such, I don't know whether to view the allocations charges as an increased cost of materials or as the increased cost of the GC's labor. All I know is that it appreciably raises the cost of my already expensive project!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 9:15AM
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Circus Peanut

I'm up in Maine, and we have the opposite problem of NYC: labor is extremely cheap (my plumber for example charges $50 an hour), but materials and supplies are often more expensive and I've paid a lot for shipping.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 10:26AM
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I live in Morris County New Jersey, our kitchen cost a fortune and I shopped around for about 6 months before we made a final decision. Everyone that sees it oohhs and aahhs, but when my husband & I looked at it when it was done, we said, this was worth six figures!!!I am not complaining, but it was a lot of money.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 11:33AM
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a new kitchen should last a lifetime. A new car , you'd be lucky if it stays in good condition for 5 years!
also. your new kitchen should ADD to your home's value, so you should be getting some return on your money at some point down the road.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 12:54PM
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>>your new kitchen should ADD to your home's valueAh, but that's the catch. It's been shown time and again that a modest remodel actually returns more in resale than a fancier remodeling does. And in either case, the longer period as time passes by, the less and less percentage-wise, any remodel adds in value to resale.

Now, the bottom for that value-added remodel depends on any number of variables: how bad was the electrical/plumbing or layout in the old kitchen, how much costs have risen in your area over time, etc. The most you can hope for in 20 yrs is that you got a lot of enjoyment out of it in the interim, and that any updating (whether by you or a new owner) wouldn't have to involve a drastic remake. IOW, if you decided to sell after 10 or 15 years, prospective buyers would be able to nod and think, "Okay, I can definitely live with this for a few years."

I love live_oak's analogy! We live in a neighborhood where it used to be minivans and beat-up Corollas, and is now solidly a Mini Cooper/Honda Element or Accord locale. I am dying to put a Lacanche Cormatin in my kitchen...except that I know if I do, it will cost me at least $20K in additional labor, countertop and code upgrades. Plus I will have to take the stove with me when I leave, because it is way, way beyond the usual GE Profile or Whirlpool appliance standard here (and after all this lusting after the Lacanche I'd no doubt never want to give it up, anyway).

Because we remodeled our entire house, this enabled us to spend proportionately less on the kitchen since everything had to be gutted and brought up to code. As a result I splurged on the kitchen cabs, spending (in 1989 dollars) $7K instead of the usual $3K. The layout was completely revised with everything from roll-out pantries to double-pane windows and proper plumbing/wiring.

A minor updating in 2003 cost us almost as much as the original kitchen remodel did! Just replacing the floor, counters, sink, faucet and venthood was a shocking $7K for a modest 13x14' space - all with middle-tier, slightly upscale materials. Remember, I'm in a starter neighborhood so cheap ceramic tile counters are original here. Using solid surface or granite (even tiles or precut) immediately impresses people.

Despite the age of the original remodel, what works - according to my friendly local realtor, who helps us out once in a while with advice - is the layout is now open (very rare in this older neighborhood), it's well designed with lots of storage and 25' of counterspace. It's also well-maintained, so a new buyer could easily live with it until they can afford a redo. Everything works, the view out the expansive picture windows is gorgeous, and the cabs are still rock-solid and in perfect shape (let's hear it for high-density particleboard with good-quality laminate inside and out, LOL).

Our mindset is that we are here for as long as possible, but we will not be keeping this house forever. It's too hard to maintain for elderly people - we bought it from a pair of elderly sisters who had let everything go to the dogs (literally). So for us resale is always critical - we don't mind being on the high-end for our neighborhood, but to go all the way over the top is reserved for our own personal self-indulgences (like the Lacanche) where we won't expect any return, and in fact could even be a negative. I want the 3-burner configuration, for instance, which is highly unorthodox and wouldn't fly here at all. Any additional $$$ I put into this kitchen, I know I will not get out any value except my own enjoyment.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 2:21PM
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I love this thread because we just signed our contract and demo is about 3 weeks away. My husband is a finance guy and 'return on investment or ROI' has been bandied about constantly in the last few months.

We live in an affluent area outside Philadelphia and we are going with 15% of the home's current worth. I did have to cut back to get to that number actually... labor is not cheap here by any standards. Said goodbye to stacked cabinets, some glass cabinetry and a halfwall of cabinetry to arrive at this percentage but we felt it was the smart thing to do. We don't intend to live in this house forever and could see ourselves selling in the next 7-10 years.

Now we could've been fine with the 10 year old kitchens builder's grade special for the next decade but eventually in order to sell this house we'd have to make the upgrade. No one would buy our house with cabinets that are held together with 'gorilla glue' (Our existing cabinets are Amerikraft builder grade and I have unaffectionately nicknamed them Amerikrap) It came down to us saying.. shouldn't we get to LIVE with and ENJOY that upgrade??

So we bit the bullet but stayed under 15%. I've read online that for our area the ROI on kitchen remodel is roughly 80%. I think you need to also take into account what kind of neighborhood you live in. If you are in a suburban development of 40+ houses having that extra 'umph' of a fabulous kitchen will certainly make your house more desirable when your neighborhood has 20 'for sale' signs up at the same time. So if that's what sells your house.. it was worth more than 80% ROI!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 5:14PM
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I live in NYC (Manhattan even) and my labor quote was 5k. But I have an incredibly reasonable contractor. He works on most of the apartments in my building and did my place for the previous owners.

They did everything but the kitchen, naturally. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 11:09PM
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The labor quote also depends on the size of the room, if a lot of moldings are being done, if extensive plumbing or electrical work needs to be done, the presence of a back splash and how intricate it is, etc. It really is hard to compare apples to apples.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 11:36PM
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I think you have to carefully distinguish between renovating with an eye to sell in the near future, and renovating with an expectation that you'll be living there and enjoying it for a long time. (Of course circumstances may change unexpectedly). For instance, we're just about finished with our kitchen in our NYC apt. We don't expect to live here more than another 5 years (or less), so we didn't go crazy with custom cabs (ikea) and countertops. We did get nice, mid-range Bosch appliances.

As for a percentage of value, we spent about 3 pct., but our prices here are out of whack with reality. Our main cost was indeed labor--full gut job. I think we'll more than make it back when we sell.

If we were planning for the really long haul, we would have saved another year or two for custom cabs and killer appliances. It would have doubled our reno cost, but those are expenses we probably wouldn't recover in a near-term sale.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 2:05PM
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I don't think, as a measure, percentage of house value, is
useful at all, especially in california.
I think most people want to know how much it would cost!
My kitchen will cost about 75K, of which roughly 50K is
for materials. I can't believe the same appliances
in the midwest cost any less than they do in California.
Now, about 25K of the cost will be labor, and that cost
may indeed vary quite a bit. Anyway, I think it
would be more interesting to know actual amounts.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 11:36PM
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To add value to "actual costs" you would also need to know how much effort was made on cost savings. While I have a six figure kitchen going in, it would be an even higher figure if I didn't ebay and shop my brain out in advance of the build (for instance, the powder room sink sells locally for over $1000. I paid $170 plus $30 shipping).

No appliances probably don't cost much more, but shipping is a killer. Shipping added a good 15% to the costs of my kitchen if not more. For instance, same powder room...toilet cost $450, shipping...$400.

It's tough to put it all in perspective :) But I'd agree that details sometimes help. Percentage of value isn't in my mind the best benchmark. What you can afford should be your first thought, and then you move from there. I wouldn't even consider doing a 15% kitchen in my's far more than 15% but it's what we wanted. I expect about a 60% ROI, which is good for a high end kitchen. But in our corporate rental, just a few doors down from our house, I'll be doing a budget kitchen for less than $15,000 (about 5% of value) but again...I've been pinching my pennies and figured out how to do it it should end up looking like a 75 grand kitchen :) On MUCH less.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 1:45AM
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How much you should spend really depends on a lot of factors. What you can easily afford, how long you plan to stay in the house, re-sale, the market you live in (i.e. being in line with the neighborhood etc), personal enjoyment. Depending on real estate costs in your area I'd imagine anywhere from 5-15% of your home's value would be about right - once again, taking into account your personal circumstances. The one caveat is that in today's market I'd guess you'd be hard pressed to recoup much of a kitchen remodel (unless it is pretty minor). It would help sell your house FASTER, I think, but getting much of your outlay back would be pretty iffy (at least in our area).
All that being said, we spent about $50,000 on our kitchen remodel which was a gut job including reconfiguring everything and adding all new windows & exterior door (in new locations) as well as new electric, plumbing, walls, ceilings etc. Nearly half our budget went to construction costs. I am delighted with the results and actually feel that we did well cost-wise considering the extent of the project (not to mention the "surprises" that come with a 100 year old house).

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 8:52AM
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The link between kitchen remodeling and resale is nebulous. If your kitchen is horrible and you re-do it, and the prospective owners like what you did, it should really help. But what if they want something different and plan to tear it out anyway? Some people would just as soon buy a house with awful baths and kitchens, and know they're not paying for someone else's decorating, and have no guilt about gutting.

I think that having what you want in your own house is just terribly important -- and I am redoing the baths and kitchen to suit myself. I will wind up paying whatever it feels like it's worth to me, (and will exceed guidelines cause where I live real estate is cheap) but I have no illusions about resale value.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 9:08AM
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We live in a suburb north of Seattle. We have a 20 year old home approx 1960 sq feet. Right now, our house would probably go for around $425,000. I would say we have a medium-smallish kitchen? We completely gutted our kitchen and put in new lighting, flooring, granite counters, Schuler maple cabinets w Glaze, new SS Kitchenaid appliances and our total was $32,000.

I know for myself, that the only way I could get even an "idea" of price, was to get out there and start getting estimates. (By the way, I had ESTIMATED about $25,000...but had also been told to plan for it to be 10 10%-20 over, which we did). I do love it though!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 10:46AM
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I think that first you have to have an idea of what items you want to have, then go out and get some prices - and see how much that comes to. This forum is great to get ideas of what people end up spending - just to get a ballpark figure. Then you have to decide if that price point is something you are comfortable with. We had an idea of what we wanted, and came up with a number and pretty much shopped around to get in that range. We didn't get the best cabinets in the world. But they are still really good cabinets with the bells and whistles (which I love!). However, we didn't want to over-remodel for our neighborhood. Our 'hood is about 10 - 15 years old and people are starting to upgrade, but most builder grade kitchens here are very basic - no thought put into actual use of kitchen and just some cabinets thrown up on the wall and where it fits. I think we ended up with a much much nicer kitchen, but I might be biased!

That being said, a number is a nice thing to have. We ended up at $25K for cabinets, appliances, countertops, sink & faucet etc., and labor. We did save some $$ as DH works for GE and we got discounts on all our appliances. We didn't have any major construction work and minor plumbing and electrical. I think it looks like it cost a bit more than $25 K - but other neighbors just about faint when I tell them what it cost to do. At any rate, it definitely adds value to our house whether we sell next year or next decade - compared to what was in the house before.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 2:47PM
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"Ah, but that's the catch. It's been shown time and again that a modest remodel actually returns more in resale than a fancier remodeling does."
When we buy houses we look at the location, the sizes of rooms, the number of bathrooms and whether we can live with the decor until we can finish our own renovations. Most people I know that are buying mid to high end homes plan to put thr own stamp on their new places.

Elaborate renovations can not really be justified from a sensible use of dollars standpoint, I think that the only reason to do anything more elaborate than builders' standard is for personal enjoyment. The return on investment is not great.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 12:36AM
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Several people who've seen our new kitchen and one I recently designed for a friend have asked about costs. My advice to each of them was the same. Spend whatever you can afford without borrowing or using your retirement savings and keeping in mind what other fun things you could do with the money. If you can't afford to remodel without borrowing, don't do it.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 3:27PM
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How badly do you need the kitchen and, if you sell, how much are you willing to "lose" on the home sale price v. your purchase price plus whatever $$ you put into it?

We HAD to change the kitchen. We could have simply (ha!) replaced the existing galley, but that would leave us with minimal storage, a cramped laundry/utility room and a huge, under utilized DR in the adjoining space.

Instead we created a kitchen in the DR and, by replacing some old rotted wall & cabinets, converted the old kitchen to laundry/butlers pantry. Doing so involved running water/wastewater pipes about 25' to the adjacent DR, and that cost A LOT.

We had a HELOC and a lot of other projects to complete (HVAC, irrigation, guest house renovation, etc.), so we chose Kenmore Elite appliances, simple cabs and fixed windows to keep the cost down. We paid about $19k for labor, cab installation, countertops and supplies, about $7k for cabs, over $1k for windows... Appliances ran about $4k. Tiles, paint & stools were another $1k.

We really had no choice. We moved so we could have a large eat-in kitchen. In order to fulfill that dream--and ensure resale--we had to pour in the money. We think labor was high but, all in all, we got a great kitchen for a price we can live with.

Old galley view from DR:

Old galley view to DR (see open space below countertop):

After renovation:

New kitchen:

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 2:32PM
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I like the car analogy.

Funny thing is, I spent more on my car (30K) than I did on my kitchen (20K). And my kitchen LOOKS a heckuva lot more expensive than my car! And I'm planning on both of them lasting me a long time, but the kitchen better outlast the car....

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 3:31PM
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