September 21st, 2007 § Leave a Comment

Remodeling? You can hear the sighs and the next question is, “how much is this going to cost me?” Set aside some time to work up a budget and then plan to edit, and edit again.
If you know what you like but have no idea how much it will cost, there are tools out there to help you determine your budget. Sticker shock is not uncommon. It is so easy to have champagne tastes and beer budgets.
Its’ time to determine your project budget. Here is an opportunity to shop from your arm chair. Before we get started, get your tape measure, get your room dimensions and lets get going.
Here are some tools to help you.
Consumer Reports has a handy little interactive calculator tool called the Quick Cost Kitchen Remodeling Estimator.
Remember, this is not an exact method, but a pitch to get you in the ballpark for standard replacement kitchens. Your plan for a remodel may have additional structural and mechanical requirements that will increase the budget. This type of expansion may be reflected in the “luxury” column.

So I tried Consumer Reports Quick Cost Calculator for my self. I plugged in my room size, it asked for the shape of my room, and my zip code, and it spits out quick figures in the Basic, Standard, Custom and Luxury columns.
It is more detailed if you proceed to tabs 2 thru 4. So I tried that too. This is where it gets fun. Arm chair shopping for everything without leaving your home!
Step 2 takes you shopping. It asks for construction details I want to use in my project. Cabinets, Soffits, Counter tops, Sink, Disposer, Flooring, etc.

Step 3 takes you through your kitchen appliance selection.
Step 4 Provides a complete breakdown by category.
Based on my selections with mid range cabinetry, mid range appliances, premium sink selection, quartz counter tops and splashes and updating plumbing and electrical, my average budget comes to $ 48,976. I can redo the numbers if I want to change my selections from basic to premium. This is an incredibly handy tool for saving time without running around to appliance, cabinets, and tile stores. Of course that time will come next, but now you have basic information that will be a jumping off point for evaluating bids you will start to acquire from contractors, appliance stores, flooring, etc.

Another Quick Cost Calculator is from Omega Cabinetry. The tool is much more basic but handy still for getting a ballpark estimate based a percentage of your homes worth.

Omega’s calculator has you pick a percentage of your home’s value. For this example, I picked 10% of my home’s value. (The inflated value of homes in Southern California will skew my budget so I picked a lower percentage). The problem I see is that the appliance budget of $4,790 is too low for what I want to purchase. Now I know, I can choose to increase my project budget to perhaps 15% or reselect my appliances and design features. Ironically, the Consumer Reports detailed calculator came in at $48,796. About $896 variance between the two calculators.

How realistic are some of these line item figures from an actual estimate? Here in California, I see a trend with many homeowners selecting higher end appliances, much more than 10% of a client’s budget is spent on appliances. As far as sticking to budgets, I don’t think any one ever does. Will you stay with a $1,800 refrigerator or will you upgrade to the $4,500 model. You may fall in love with the $20 per piece deco tile instead of a $8.00 deco tile.

Now, the hard part is sticking to a budget. Plan on spending 15% or 20% more than what you planned. Check out these Quick Cost Calculators for yourself. I would be interested in hearing how it compares with your actual remodel costs.

On the flip side, you may have won the budget battle and plan on doing most of the installation yourself. My best advise, is to consult a professional Kitchen Designer before you embark. Check the NKBA Website for Kitchen Designers in your town. There are Kitchen Designers who work independently, without being tied to selling you any product. Kitchen Designers who work in showrooms will rebate the design fee into the cabinetry you purchase from their showroom. Consultation fees vary based on the level of service you require. It may be simply to evaluate your plans. Or you may want a full set of plans prepared for contractors to bid from.

And finally, the more concise you are in your specifications for your project the more precise your estimates will be from the contractors who will be putting in a bid for your project.
Happy remodeling!

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