Large kitchen

Kitchen Remodeling Costs: Basics for Budgeting and Hiring a Contractor

The new year brings with it a new to-do list for your home. Is a kitchen remodel on it for 2013? If so, then ask yourself the following questions when putting together your plan.

What is my goal?

Is your kitchen the last room in an older house to get a complete remodel? Or do you simply want to give it a surface makeover? The difference between these two goals can be thousands of dollars.

If you plan to completely remodel the kitchen, make a list of everything you want to do. Do you plan to replace or resurface cabinets and countertops ? Is a new floor in the plan? How about new appliances? And will they go where the older ones sit now or elsewhere in the room? Do you want to add windows or doors ? Install new lighting ?

If you simply desire a surface makeover, then refinishing cabinets instead of replacing them, and updating hardware, will get the job done in that area. New appliances can still be on the want list, but you will need to keep them where the current connections exist. The cost of moving water and gas lines can add thousands to the cost of the project.

Consider all of these factors before speaking with a contractor or professional handyman about the project.

What is my budget?
Mr. Handyman-Kitchen-Remodel

There are two ways of putting together a budget for a kitchen remodel. You can either take your list of wants and go window-shopping for ideas, then add up the costs, only making compromises once you see how expensive the project has become.

Or you can set a dollar amount and shop only within your means. Frankly, this option proves the best way to not overspend on a kitchen remodel, as you won't even see the super-expensive appliances, granite or custom cabinets, and be tempted to go above and beyond what you can realistically afford.

With either approach, you should always keep resale value in mind. In the right market, you can recoup up to 90 percent of the cost of a kitchen remodel during resale. You also should consider resale when making your design choices. If you plan to move in the next five years or so, you might want to stick with finishes and floors that suit a wider homebuyer base, as opposed to creating a quirky kitchen only your family will love. Potential homebuyers will factor in their own kitchen remodeling costs when making an offer on a house that does not meet their own tastes.

Do I already have a contractor or handyman?
If your kitchen is the last room in an older house to get a complete remodel, you likely have a contractor you like or one you were happy to see finally leave. Even if you have a contractor you trust, consider opting for a professional handyman instead for this next project.

Get the project going by calling your previous contractor if you have one or reaching out to your professional handyman. Ask each for a meeting during which you can discuss your wants and needs, providing the information needed to provide an accurate estimate.

You likely will find that a professional handyman can offer the same level of work at a fraction of the price. He or she also can typically get the job done in significantly less time, as you will not be a the mercy of various subcontractors and their busy schedules.

Ask anyone will who has remodeled a kitchen will tell you, days and even weeks can go by with little to no progress being made when working with certain contractors. Unless you plan on being away on vacation for the length of the project, that just won't work for most families.

This article is part of the Kitchen Remodeling series. Read more for more kitchen makeover tips from Mr. Handyman.

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