Are you looking to remodel your home? A kitchen remodel is the finest way to add value to your home is the general consensus held by real estate experts. And it’s easy to see why. With all the trips to the fridge, conversations around the island, and taste-tests from the stove, it’s truly the heart of any home.
Cost will probably be on your mind when looking to improve this space. It’s important to think less about how big your budget is, and more about what the available money can be allocated towards. Improving the design aesthetics of your kitchen can bring back 65 to 100 percent of your construction costs at the time of sale, so you want to be making the best choices possible.
But which kitchen design elements will help me sell my home faster? Prospective buyers are most attracted to the big-ticket items: cabinets, counters, and appliances. The first gives the room style and storage, while the second provides beauty and stability. Appliances are all about function, so long as they are wrapped in stainless steel. It is no coincidence these are the most expensive parts in the kitchen. Luckily, there are a few ways to improve your space on a restricted budget. Before opening your purse or wallet, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with current style trends.
Right now, white is popular. It’s never necessarily been unpopular, but people love it more than ever before. It’s clean; it allows for great natural light; and it pairs well with nearly any other color. Think about your last trip to an art gallery or museum. Do you remember the color of the walls? White is fantastic for highlighting art pieces, great for making a room appear bigger, and is easy to paint over if you choose. Conversely, dark colors such as burgundy or deep blue require many coats to cover, and restrict the stylistic freedom of the homeowner. Keep white in mind if and when you decide to paint your walls or give a facelift to your cabinets.
Giving a facelift, resurfacing, and refacing are all designer phrases for replacing the doors and wood running vertically on both sides of it. These are the biggest parts that “face” you, and actually account for 80 percent of what people will see. Installing new door and drawer fronts, new veneers, and new hardware will cost half of what a full gutting and replacing will run. So focus on what people will see while saving some time and money.
Try a flat panel door for a sleek, modern design, or glass to highlight what you’re storing. With hundreds of options available, you’ll have no trouble finding something that matches your budget and taste. Just remember to focus on the exterior of the cabinets. Putting in a Lazy Susan or a wine rack won’t woo buyers very much, and could be a waste of $800 to $1,500. Looking for a cheaper option than replacing your doors? Try some cabinet jewelry; this is the elegant hardware such as knobs and handles that are affixed to your doors and drawers.
If you believe your walls and cabinets are in great shape, you may want to turn attention to your countertop. This is the one area where experts recommend spending more money. It’s the focal point of your kitchen, and is usually the most utilized.
Consumers love granite right now. This stone is not only resistant to stains, scrapes, scuffs, and spills, but is also beautiful and will stand the test of time. You can cut food directly on the surface, rest pots right off the stove, sit on it, stand on it, and even beat it with a knife if you want to. Traditionalists will still prefer marble for its elegance and royal charm, but granite is clearly the favorite here in the windy city.
All of the above options are popular choices in a “minor remodel,” which is defined by costs ranging from $20,000 to $25,000. This is for practical fixes such as updating flooring, replacing countertops, and refacing cabinets. Nearly all real estate experts cite this price point as the one which generally returns the most money at the time of sale. A great rule of thumb is to spend somewhere in the range of 6 to 10 percent of your house’s value. This gives plenty of flexibility if your home sits around $500,000. While most listings will stay on the market for 3 to 4 months, you can certainly shorten this time, and recoup a lot of money with a simple coat of paint or some new counters.
About the Author: Stephen Constable is a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington and works in the home remodeling industry in Chicago, IL. To learn more about his company visit Kitchen Remodeling Chicago.
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