Category Archives: DIY

15 Awesome Kitchen Remodel Ideas, Plus Costs 2017 Updated!

Updating or remodeling your kitchen can be a great investment of your home improvement dollars, especially if you plan to sell your home in the next few years. Remodeling this center-stage space of family gatherings can further enhance its functionality and utility, enabling you to enjoy the heart of your home to the fullest. Here are some of the top kitchen remodeling ideas for 2017, along with their expected costs and the pros and cons of each update.

1. Low-budget Remodel – Do It Yourself can be a Viable Approach here

A kitchen remodel can be done on a shoe-string budget. Just update one part at a time as the budget allows. You can do some or all of the work yourself, in some cases, if you are handy and have the necessary time and desire to get your hands dirty. 😉 Otherwise, an investment of $20,000 will buy a minor kitchen remodel completed by a professional remodeling contractor, but doing some of the work yourself can also bring that price down quite a bit. A minor kitchen remodel could include, but doesn’t have to be limited to the following:

  • Refinishing cupboards
  • Replacing outdated appliances with new, more energy-efficient appliances
  • New paint or wallpaper
  • New faucet
  • New countertops
  • New but inexpensive flooring

New countertops don’t necessarily have to be expensive. Even a new laminate countertop, which is fairly inexpensive, can make a huge difference. Decide what needs to be done, figure out the cost and have that one part done, or do it yourself, when your paycheck can cover it. – This remodeling approach could take a while, but eventually, you’ll have a beautifully updated kitchen and won’t be too broke to buy groceries. 😉

  • In 2017, a minor kitchen remodel will give you an ROI or recouped value of investment of about 80%. Thus, a $20,800 kitchen remodel should add about $16,700 to the value of your home.

2. Refinish the Cupboards

kitchen-cabinets

Give your kitchen a face-lift by refinishing the cupboards and drawer fronts instead of replacing them. New pulls and knobs will complete the look. This is fairly inexpensive and you will be amazed at the difference it makes. You can save even more money by doing it yourself but, be forewarned, it is not as easy as it seems. If the cupboards are in good shape and do not have lots of grooves or intricate carving, it is pretty straightforward. The job will take time, elbow grease and paint that costs about $30 to $60 per gallon plus $10 to $25 for new pulls and knobs. However, the cupboards will almost certainly look better if you have the refinishing done professionally. Plan to pay between $800 and $5,000, depending on the number of cabinets and how much repair needs to be done. The average cost is around $2,500.

  • Investing $2,500 in cupboards will add about $2,000 to the value of your home.

3. Reface those Cabinets

Have the cabinets refaced instead of replacing them if the doors and fronts are too damaged to refinish or if you just want a completely new look. This must be done by a professional. It generally costs between $2,000 and $13,000. When cupboards are refaced, the doors, drawer fronts and the actual veneer or wood finish on the outside of the cupboards is replaced. There are a few up-sides to refacing, as opposed to replacing:

  • Refacing costs less.
  • You regain the use of your kitchen more quickly.
  • You don’t have to deal with the hassle of new cupboards that don’t fit.

Even though this option is more expensive than refinishing, it will be worth it if your cupboards are old and outdated. They will look brand new.

  • The ROI for a $5,000 refacing will be about $4,000 and a big wow factor that you get to enjoy every time you go into the kitchen.

4. Refinish Walls

New paint or wallpaper, along with the refinished cupboards, will leave your kitchen looking fresh and brand new. You can do this yourself, of course, or hire a professional. If you hire a professional to paint, plan on spending between $400 and $1,000, depending on the size of the room. Having wallpaper installed by a professional will generally cost between $150 and $800. Doing it yourself is much cheaper but painting or hanging wallpaper in between the cupboards can be tricky.

  • This minor investment may not give you much in the way of ROI but it will probably help sell your home more quickly. Think of this as curb appeal for your kitchen.

5. Replace Flooring

Replace your kitchen flooring with cork or vinyl tiles. These materials are inexpensive and easy to put down yourself in most kitchens. Cork tiles cost around $3 to $6 per square, while vinyl tiles are $1.50 to $4 per square foot. There are some pros and cons to consider here.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy DIY project in most kitchens.

Cons:

  • Not usually a very long-lasting flooring, although some come with a 25-year warranty.
  • Existing flooring may need to be removed or underlayment might be required.

New flooring makes a big difference. The floor is the largest surface area in your kitchen and the first thing you see before you even enter the room.

  • The ROI on $500 worth of new flooring won’t add to your home value but it will make a big impression on prospective buyers.

6. Mid-Range Kitchen Remodel

modern-upscale-kitchen

Larger, total kitchen remodels generally cost between $20,000 and $40,000 and entail a complete tear-out of the old … well, everything. Consider all possibilities and come up with a plan before the work begins. Give plenty of thought to what works best for you in addition to what materials you want. Keep in mind that this room must be built for function, not just aesthetics.

Let your intentions guide your remodeling plans. Return on investment for kitchens is generally only 60 to 80 percent, although this varies considerably from area to area. This means you will likely only recoup a little over half to three-quarters of what you invest in most locations. It may, however, help your house sell more quickly. If you are remodeling to sell, keep the colors and materials on the neutral side. A prospective buyer may be turned off by too much bright purple.

  • The national average ROI on a minor kitchen remodel is 80.2% but in Chicago it is 102.9%. You should only expect to recoup about 65% of the cost on a major remodel.

7. Small Kitchen Planning

mid-range-minor-kitchen-remodel

Even though a small kitchen may seem like an easier remodel than a large kitchen, you actually may need to get a bit more creative. Small kitchens can be difficult. Rip out the old cupboards and appliances in your mind and let your creative juices flow. Imagine the cupboards, sink and appliances in every possible configuration to get the most out of the limited space. Plumbing can be moved. It will cost an additional $1,000 to $1,500 or so but that extra cost may be well worth it in the long run. Keep the kitchen sink in front of the window, if possible. Use cupboards that extend all the way to the ceiling to get as much storage space as possible.

  • Spending $25,000 will add about $20,675 to the value of your home. Do not invest too much. You could add more value to the home than the area housing market will support. Rule of thumb – do not spend more than 5% to 7% of the home’s value on remodeling.

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Top 11 Smart Home Improvements, Plus Costs & ROI 2017 Update!

Billions and billions and billions of dollars. That’s what Americans spent on home remodeling projects in 2016. More like hundreds of billions. And 2017 has certainly been following the suit so far! Major home improvements and significant additions to a home are key factors in why that figure is so astronomical! But, if we’re all honest, remodeling is the type of project we all consider doing or want to do.

major-remodel

According to the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI), around 50% of homeowners surveyed in suburban and urban areas say they are willing to remodel their living space, and over two thirds of rural home owners convey that willingness. While a third of all home owners consider it easier to just move to a new home than tackle a remodeling project.

People remodel for many reasons, and 75% of us report feeling a major sense of accomplishment as a result of a completed project. Better functionality and livability, or what we will refer to as the ‘enjoyment factor’, is generally cited as the top reason for why remodel at all. Other factors like knowing better materials are in place, appreciating the beauty of an upgrade and making changes to fit the owner’s feeling of their living space are considerable factors. But it is the joy factor that we wish to emphasize.

Above that however is the overall cost value. Also known as ROI, or return on investment, this factor is our primary consideration. Money spent for home improvement is usually seen as an investment that is recouped at the time of sale. For our purposes, it works out best to understand that as if the home is being sold within a year of a remodeling project. Yet, certain improvements have lasting value, of more than 1 year. So longevity is certainly a consideration for all home remodeling considerations.

Our top list is intended to be easy to read, simple to understand and intending to provide advice should you be considering any of these projects going forward. Or perhaps you are wondering which one(s) may be better to tackle than others. As this isn’t the only list of its kind, we chose to go about things a bit differently than others. Here is the basic scale of what into which items made our list and the order in which they appear:

Cost value (or ROI) is the most weighted factor. A few items on the list will actually return more in terms of recouped value than what you, the owner, put into it. Pretty sweet, huh? Unlike some other lists, we’d rather not overwhelm you with a long list of percentage points and so instead we go with a scale of:

  • 100% or higher ROI = Supreme (cost value)
  • 90% to 99% = Great
  • 75% to 89% = Very Good
  • 67% to 74% = Good

Anything lower than a return of two thirds the cost you put into it, was not good enough for our list.

Enjoyment Factor is second highest consideration. This is the element that makes homeowners want to be in their home environment more as a result of the completed project. NARI and other organizations will survey homeowners periodically to check on such data and ours comes from December 2015, or later. This scale is:

  • 100% = Top Notch (rare, but it happens)
  • 95% or higher = Great
  • 90% to 94% = Very Good
  • 80% to 89% = Good

Curb Appeal is what prospective buyers are going to notice about a home from the street. If the home upgrade is an item that fits into this category, we decided it deserves to be considered third highest factor in terms of overall value. This is essentially a yay or nay type notation.

Energy Efficiency is a trending item in recent years and 2017 is certainly continuing on that trajectory. Some items on our list have very little to no impact on energy savings, but most do. This is the 4th most important factor we make note of.

Cost – inexpensive (lowest) to very expensive (highest) is something we chose to make note of as a factor that at least some owners would wish to consider. As cost value is already being considered, and most weighted, we decided to keep this as the lowest factor, while still realizing for some homeowners, it may be what is most doable for them.

We’ll also make notes regarding what each project entails, the longevity you can expect from completion of the upgrade, alternatives to the entry on our list, and some advice from us in how to implement the project or weighing of pros and cons among the entry item and its alternative(s).

An added note regarding cost. The ROI is our primary focus, as this means whatever the cost you actually spend on materials and labor, is what you can hope to get back at time of sale, but this does assume the sale is done relatively soon after the job is completed (generally within a year). We also indicate a cost range and median pricing point, or national average for the remodeling project. There are many factors that go into pricing any job and so the averages are likely best taken with a grain of salt, which is why the range is meant to provide a decent estimate of what is low and high end for the costs. This assumes a professional contractor is in charge of the project, and in general it assumes the house is around 2000 square feet. Where applicable, we all add in a price per sq. ft., which ought to help with realizing the price you can expect to pay for materials/installation of the work.

For the fun of it, we’ll go in reverse order. Our highest value item will be at the end and we’ll start with an item that is actually highly coveted by many home buyers. Cue up the gong sound, the top 11 list starts…. now.

#11 = Major Kitchen Renovation

rustic-kitchen

Originally, our list was going to be 10 items, but in paraphrasing the wise words of Nigel Tufnel (Spinal Tap), “this list is better than the ones by those other blokes, because this one goes to eleven.” Actually, it goes to eleven for another reason, as a complete kitchen renovation is the third highest item on our list in terms of enjoyment factor. Usually, when any homeowner considers a first project for improving their living space, the kitchen is most desired. It is also the type of remodeling that prospective owners report as top consideration for what they look for inside a home; a well designed kitchen with all the modern conveniences.

The alternative to this project is a minor kitchen upgrade. The difference between the two is the renovation will physically change the design of the room, whereas minor upgrade will not. Both will address and refinish any surface in the room that needs a makeover. And both projects will likely replace older fixtures and appliances with up to date, energy efficient products. With a room redesign comes additional energy efficiency concerns that any professional home designer is fully taking into account. The complete renovation though is overall more costly, and is tied with most expensive item on our list (see #9). A minor upgrade, if truly an upgrade and not just a superficial upgrade is going to cost about half the total price of a major renovation, or at a median price point of around $30,000 (for upgrade).

ROI = Good

Enjoyment Factor = Great

Curb Appeal = Not Applicable (N/A)

Energy Efficiency = Yes, but minor

Cost factor = Very Expensive

Cost range / median price = $50,000 to $80,000 / $60,000

Cost per sq.ft. = Not available

Longevity = 20 years or more before minor upgrade would be considered

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Top 10 Home Staging and Curb Appeal Ideas, Plus Costs

We’ve seen those remodeling shows where homeowners take sledgehammers to walls, and cabinets crash to the floor.

Here are some tips from the other end of the spectrum, small remodeling ideas that are a big help to sellers. They are simple, creative, DIY… but wait! Before you shake your head: you can have someone do them for you, and you don’t have to be a Creative Type.

Small Ideas: Big Difference

These projects are worth doing, but you decide how much you actually do. If you’re a DIY fan, great. If not, you can still choose the right materials. The trick is to know your house well, and you’re the expert there.

Imaginative Goals

One goal in small remodeling is to give the house a fresh, clean look that shows off its best features. Another is to spark the imaginations of potential buyers. You don’t want them to see the house as your home, but to imagine it as their home. 😉

This means following some tried-and-true rules, but also using your own knowledge of the house to its benefit.

The following simple ideas are inexpensive, and top agents agree they have proven appeal to potential buyers.

Helpful (and Maybe Even Fun) Small Remodels

1. Paint Indoors

Neutral colors are the best choice because they let good features show and present a “blank canvas” to the buyers’ imaginations. You know your warm and cool rooms, those with lots of or little sun, so you can choose warm or cool neutrals to balance those spaces.

Paint is especially helpful in updating kitchens and bathrooms, where “new” walls will take the focus off not-so-new interiors that require big remodels.

Cost: Plan to spend a few hundred dollars on quality paint and supplies if you are tackling this job DIY styles. If you plan to hire a handyman, your cost will be anywhere from $500.00 to a couple of thousand dollars depending on the extent of the work — the number of rooms being painted, and whether or not the removal of old wallpaper is required.

ROI: With the right paint colors for the interior walls and a job well-done, your ROI could be well over 100%. A nice facelift for you house and a more attractive, clean and modern look is what you get. If selling your house is the goal, then this is surely an important part of getting your home ready for sale. 😉

2. Paint Outdoors

A freshly painted front door says “Welcome!” with personality. Painting window trim freshens the first impression, but also lets you accent the windows on your home, or not. Having outdoor accent paint complement a flowering tree or your main garden color can be a charming touch.

Cost: To hire a handyman to repaint the exterior trim can cost anywhere from $500.00 to $2,000 depending on the extent of the work.

ROI: Getting your front door and window trim painted and exterior powerwashed not only welcomes buyers, it gets you money back when you sell your house.

3. Rearrange Furniture for better staging

Its placement likely reflects how you live, so rearrange furniture to minimize your presence and let the house’s qualities “speak up.” If you have a fireplace, arrange suggest a cozy evening. Aim seating towards a gorgeous view out a picture window when things are in bloom. Ask buyers to imagine a quiet reading area, or a sunny kitchen spot as a place for breakfast.

Buyers need to be able to picture the use for every single room, and you can create that use in the way you lay out your furniture. If you don’t lay out the furniture in a cohesive way, buyers could think that your floor plan has a bad flow or that it has too much unusable space.

Cost: Free if you do it yourself, or a couple hundred dollars to get a professional advice from an experienced interior designer or home staging company.

ROI: With the right house and proper furniture and lighting arrangement, you can make the whole home sale process easier, shorter, and more enjoyable.

4. Pay Attention to Small Details in the Kitchen

Speaking of kitchens (and bathrooms), buyers focus there, so details count. Choose new cabinet handles and drawer pulls, to give a uniform “look.” Hardware can be “country,” or “industrial,” etc., and can give a new feel to an older room. These small details cost pennies to fix (only $2.00-$5.00 per drawer pull), yet they give your space an instant facelift. Old hardware makes a space look dated, where new hardware makes buyers think it’s newer, and thus worth more, than it actually is.

You can make small scale changes in the kitchen that have a big impact, too. According to Consumer Reports, a kitchen renovation for as low as $300 could make you 3% more on your home sale. Spending that cash on drawer pulls and getting your cabinets/walls repainted will make the biggest impact.

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