Best Remodeling Investments – Kitchens Are HOT!

An EzineArticle by Teri Eckholm.

Considering remodeling your current home but are concerned that the investment might outweigh the value added to your home? If you are considering a kitchen remodel, it could be an excellent investment.

I always tell my clients considering putting their homes on the market, that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. A recent report from National Association of Realtors (NAR) agrees. In late December, the NAR released the 2005 Cost VS Value Report for home remodels. This study looked at cost data, resale value and percentage recouped for 18 different projects in 58 housing markets across the United States. With major, mid-range kitchen remodel, a homeowner can expect to recoup almost all of their expenses with an average 92 percent return on investment. This is up from 66 percent in a similar study in 2002.

Before a considering remodeling your kitchen, you need to understand “Why” you are undertaking this project. Is it because you trip over yourselves in the kitchen in a home you love and plan to stay in forever? Or is it because you plan to move and the 1970’s orange counter and olive green appliances are too ugly to get the best price for the home. The approach to the perfect remodel will be different if you are planning to stay in the home for the long term.

Family Lifestyle Inventory

If you are designing the perfect kitchen for your family, take a lifestyle inventory. This is a process where you answer questions to understand what will be the most important needs specific to your family for the new space. It will help you and your designer to incorporate important details into your plan.

Consider cooking habits: One cook or two? Baker? Left-handed? Do you do dishes as you cook? Lots of Gadgets? Buy in Bulk? One oven or two?

Consider eating habits: Family gatherings? Everyone for themselves? Eat outdoors? Need morning sunshine? Entertaining?

Other Considerations: TV in kitchen? Computer or home office needs? Homework? Laundry? Will the family grow? Older relatives? Handicap Accessibility requirements?

All of these are things to consider when making a decision on whether and how to remodel your kitchen. Work with a designer or use a remodeling design software that will take into account the important specific needs of your family.

Trends for Today’s Kitchens

For a remodel to add value at resale, you must consider current needs and trends. So what are the hot for trends for kitchens today?

Open to Family Room or Great Room

Maple cabinetry is a first choice. Cherry is a close second. Painted or enameled are also desirable. A variety of heights, lots of moldings, cabinetry looks and no soffits are the trends.

Modern Stainless Steel Appliances. Cook tops separate from ovens.

Breakfast Bar/Informal Eating Area and multi-level counter tops.

Office/Communication area.

Access to Deck or Patio for Outdoor Entertaining.

Stainless steel sinks with instant hot water systems.

Pantry or Other Easy Access Storage.

Multiple types of Lighting (Bright for tasks, Indirect for mood).

Windows for Natural Light.

For natural wood flooring oak is the first choice for durability. Laminates are also very popular.

Granite or Quartz-based granite clones for counters or islands (Zodiac, Cambria, Silstone). Too expensive to do the whole kitchen in granite? Consider just the island in granite and the bulk of the counter in a complimentary colored laminate.

Ceramic tile back splashes.

Stick to Your Budget

It is easy to get caught up in the remodeling process and go over budget. Take time from the start to reflect on your family’s needs and reasons for the remodel. Consider options that make the most sense for your family, budget and neighborhood. Make certain that the kitchen isn’t build way beyond the quality and value of the rest of the home. Remember remodeling for family use will cost more than a remodel for resale.

If remodeling specifically to put your home on the market, take into consideration the quality and condition of the home. A good Realtor who knows your market can assist you here. If you are in an upscale neighborhood where homebuyers will expect high-end quality, don’t make discount-store decisions. Likewise, if your home is in an area of modest or lower value homes, skip the cherry cupboards and granite counters. Understanding the market place you are in will help you to recoup the most from your investment.

Spending a little extra time in the planning stage can reduce the headaches and heartaches of a construction project that does not meet expectations. Taking your time will allow you to make the wise decisions that add value to your most important financial investment, your home.

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