Sunday, March 15, 2015

How much should you spend on a kitchen remodeling project?


Many kitchen remodeling experts use a rule of thumb of 10% - 20% of a home's current market value as the budget limits to kitchen remodeling.  The thought process is that if a homeowner spends too much on the project, they will not recover their investment when they sell their property.  The same rule of thumb also implies that if the homeowner spends too little on a kitchen remodeling project by doing partial remodeling projects in the kitchen (one piece at a time), they risk devaluing their property and wasting money as those pieces will wear and be replaced when other parts are done or the budget is available to do the entire kitchen.  Experts often advise homeowners to budget for the best possible material that will fit their current budget, and if not enough to do it right, then wait until funds are available or finance a remodel using the home's available equity with a new property appraisal using the proposed project as a tool to improve the home's value. 

Homeowners should carefully consider the quality of materials installed to replace cheaper standard grade construction when budgeting for a kitchen remodel.   It pays dividends to select better grade materials installed by authorized manufacturer's representatives or factory installers where a substantial warranty on materials and workmanship will exceed two years.  Aristokraft cabinets is a good example of a Master Brand cabinet maker that stands apart with high quality construction of cabinets.  Aristokraft is recommended by Good Housekeeping Magazine which also provides a two year warranty on factory authorized installed products.  Aristokraft itself offers a 10 year warranty on their cabinets with a lifetime warranty on moving parts such as hinges, drawer glides, handles and pulls which wear out over time.  Qualified remodeling professionals who do good work and have proven their capabilities and maturity in the industry often have multiple local lenders vying to work with their customers in connection with financing kitchen remodeling projects to provide competitive financing options for homeowners.

Getting approved for a home improvement project may be easier than qualifying for other types of financing because the remodeler's business relationship and credit worthiness is a factor with small lenders in the consumer credit approval process.  Lenders are more likely to approve an applicant's loan with credit challenges if the remodeler's reputation, endorsement of the project or guarantee to help the homeowner repay the loan is part of the application or underwriting process. Consequently qualified professionals with substantial assets, reputation and lender connections can make it easier for homeowners with lower FICO scores get projects approved at competitive APRs, with little up front investment and simple interest loans offering no prepayment penalty to pay off the financed amount early.  In addition, these types of project loans can help homeowners re-establish and restore good credit history with the credit bureaus with timely repayments or early payoff. 

Improving an outdated kitchen generally leads to a faster sale or rental of a residential property and higher sale price relative to comparable homes.  Conversely homes that have outdated kitchens tend to be penalized in valuation by 7% to 12% of a home's comparable market value which sets a realistic kitchen remodeling budget for homeowners.
 
To check your home's market value, sources such as Zillow and property tax records are helpful to determine a kitchen remodeling budget.  Another helpful source is the Cost Vs Value site from Hanley Wood.  Remodeling and Insurance professionals can offer a wealth of information on project costs and often know trusted real estate and mortgage professionals.  

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