Whenever a client reaches out and expresses interest in a potential kitchen renovation project, we always begin with a phone call to discuss the project, reviewing details of the current space and learning more about what they hope to achieve. Throughout our years in business, and as we have completed hundreds of kitchen projects, we have found that clients generally fall into one of three categories as it relates to their kitchen remodeling project approach.
The first category is those who wish to engage in a cost-effective project that keeps selections basic in nature. Often, this is a minor facelift focused on a specific kitchen upgrade to address deficiencies in the current kitchen space. It is a modest approach — think of it as putting a little lipstick on the space to help sell the home. This might be a small project that entails new countertops and upgraded sink and faucet or adding a backsplash and changing dated light fixtures.
The second bucket captures those who want to update their kitchen in a manner we describe as “nice, not crazy”. The client takes return on investment into account, but also acknowledges that remodeling is a personal experience they want to enjoy for themselves, not just the next homeowner. Those who fall in this segment might splurge on an item or two in the selection process, but generally remain reasonable in choices and stay in mid-range price points. An example of this might be a kitchen renovation that stays shy of their dream kitchen simply because you don’t want to over-improve the home and price yourself out of the market. These kitchens often have nice cabinets, but not full custom cabinets. The splurge item might be granite or quartz countertops and a tile backsplash, but the offset could be a less expensive floor product.
The third and final category is the major kitchen remodel. This is the client that makes it clear to their remodeling partner (that could be us) they are only doing this project once, so they are going to getexactlywhat they want. And while cost is important, it is secondary in this particular project. These are the projects where selling the home is not the priority and while increasing home value is a byproduct, it is not the focus. We find the clients who take this “go big or go home” approach might already live in their forever home, sometimes having waited as long as 15-20 years to do this project. Or, they simply have extra funds and want what they want! Occasionally, these buyers live in large homes at higher price points and are forced to do something a bit more extravagant to keep up with the homes’ values around them.
So, with those general approaches to a kitchen renovation project outlined, let’s revisit the original question once more. Does remodeling your kitchen increase home value?
The answer to this question is almost always yes. Of course, there are exceptions, but we find those exceptions are limited to instances when you make poor selection or design decisions that future home buyers would find distasteful and have no interest in.
So, how do you approach remodeling your kitchen when you determine your focus is to make decisions that increase your home value?
The first questions we ask are all about the element of time:
How long have you lived in the house?
How long do you plan to stay?
And, if you engage in this kitchen remodel, is there a chance you will decide to stay in the home longer?
Your answers to those questions, along with the current ballpark value of your home, will drive our answers in advising you on the best decisions you can make that offer maximum return on investment.
If you are in your first home and know that you will be selling to pursue your “move up home” in 2-3 years, then basic, minor kitchen renovation projects make the most sense.
If you are in your move up home and you see yourself staying for the next 10 years, but know this isn’t your forever or dream home, you probably belong in that second category of “nice, not crazy”. Having said that, 10 years is a long time. Heck, 5 years is a long time! If you are staying for those time frames, I suggest doing whatever your taste and budget will allow. It is more frequent than not that these kitchen renovation projects are getting upgrades such as granite or quartz countertops and backsplashes. In many cases, and based on the current age of the home, there is often a project scope creep that extends hard surface flooring throughout the main level as well. It is important to note that this doesn’t mean clients are selecting the costliest products because expensive doesn’t always correlate to better. Remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
If you are in your dream home or you’ve been waiting years for this remodel and this is your forever home, then all bets are off. Do whatever you want and whatever your budget allows. Please keep in mind that in many cases, this does NOT result in large, fancy kitchens with too many bells and whistles. The key is that you achieve an exciting end result — a renovated kitchen you absolutely love!
As kitchen remodel contractors, there isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t have these conversations about kitchen projects in terms of “must-have” project elements and the time planned to be in the home. It is our belief that a kitchen remodel will always add value to your home. Some elements of a project increase value more than others, so it is really the level of prioritization you place on wanting the kitchen to increase the home value that matters. If it is very important and you tell us, then we will focus our attention on the products that add the most value for the money spent.
We tell every client of The Lifestyle Group that we don’t care what you spend on a kitchen project. Our job is to help you understand your options and provide information to make the best decision for your family. We offer our experience and advice to clients daily based on what we see in the marketplace. Keep in mind, we do projects for people who are getting ready to sell right away. We complete projects for people who just moved into the home and knew when they bought it they were going to immediately remodel the kitchen. And we’ve also torn out brand new countertops in a home that were put in months before in an effort to help sell the home. Suffice to say, we’ve seen just about everything. Remember, value is in the eye of the buyer and is based on many things!
What category do you fall into? If you’re ready to remodel your kitchen, let’s chat. We’d love to talk through your vision and help you add more value to your home while creating the updated, functional and beautiful space you want.