Step Two: Everything You Need to Know About Budgeting for a New Kitchen
The ultimate guide to planning a kitchen remodel presented by Home Depot & Coldwell Banker Real Estate.
After deciding on a plan for your kitchen remodel, the next step is assigning a budget to the project. The easiest, most accurate way to establish a kitchen-remodeling budget is to break down the project into smaller jobs. Below, we’ll show you which major remodeling expenses to calculate and other ways to keep your costs on target.
A. Appliances: Start by getting prices for each new appliance, and be sure the quotes include exact model numbers, applicable taxes and delivery and installation fees.
B. Cabinets and Countertops: Visit a kitchen showroom or home center and get estimates for countertops and the cabinets. If you’re working with a kitchen designer, he or she will help select all the necessary components to fit your budget.
C. Contractors: Call in contractors for bids to do whatever work you’re not planning to do yourself, including demolition, cabinet and countertop installation, tiling, flooring, electrical, plumbing and lighting.
Note: If you’re working with a general contractor (GC), he or she will hire all the necessary subcontractors, such as plumbers, electricians and flooring installers. If not, you’ll have to act as the GC and hire and supervise each individual subcontractor. Obtain written quotes from three licensed contractors for each phase of construction. If the quotes include building materials, be sure they’re specified in writing.
How to Hire Competent Contractors
Unfortunately, you might run into a dishonest contractor that takes advantage of unsuspecting homeowners. To find the best, most trustworthy workers in your area, follow the 10 tips listed here:
- Ask friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives and local architects for names of contractors who they’ve worked with in the past.
- Only consider contractors with experience in kitchen remodeling.
- Get at least three written estimates with itemized labor and materials costs for all jobs.
- Don’t be tempted by very low bids; they often include hidden expenses.
- Insist on fixed-price bids. If you agree to pay by the hour, there’s no way to know how much the job will cost or when it’ll end.
- Ask contractors for references, and then speak with their past clients. Find out if the job was done on time and on budget.
- Be sure the contractor carries both liability and workers’ compensation insurance.
- Check out each contractor with the local consumer affairs office and Better Business Bureau.
- Maintain control of the job by controlling the money. Make lump-sum payments only for completed work. Never pay for the job up front.
- Get signed lien waivers from the general contractor and all subcontractors.
Where the Money Goes
Here are rough cost estimates based on percentages of the total budget. The actual costs will vary depending on the size and complexity of the remodel and on the specific items chosen.
Cabinets: 40% to 50%
Appliances: 10% to 20%
Counters, sinks and faucets: 15% to 25%
Lighting: 5% to 10%
Flooring: 5% to 10%
Labor Costs: 30% to 50%
D. Don’t Forget Cost Overruns: Finally, add up all the numbers and tack on an additional 15% to 20% for cost overruns, which are often unavoidable. If the total cost is more than you’ve budgeted, now’s the time to scale back the original plan. The two least painful ways to save money are to substitute custom cabinets with stock cabinets or switch out “best” appliances with “better” appliances.
Each step of the remodeling process is a minefield of hidden costs that can unexpectedly blow the lid off your budget. The biggest budget busters of all are change orders.
Some change orders are unavoidable, such as when you uncover serious structural damage, but try to avoid any change orders that could be considered luxury upgrades. For example, once you’ve budgeted for a $1,000 range, don’t suddenly decide to order a $2,500 range. Stick to the original plan, and you’ll stay on budget.
Here are a few other common budget busters:
Permit fees charged by the town’s building department.
Debris removal and landfill drop-off fees; these often-overlooked costs can easily run into the hundreds of dollars.
Accidental damage to lawn, driveway, walls or floors caused by construction and deliveries not covered in the contract.
Rental costs for dumpsters, scaffolding and other specialty equipment.
Cost of tools you must buy.
Code violations and upgrades to old electrical or plumbing systems.
Shipping delays due to out-of-stock items, bad weather or holidays could force you to cancel orders and buy readily-available items at higher costs.
Realities of not having a functional kitchen, such as eating out more often.
Stop by tomorrow as we continue to share everything you need to know about remodeling a kitchen. Tomorrow we will share tips on creating a construction plan.