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How Much Does a Kitchen Remodel Cost?

how-much-does-a-kitchen-remodel-cost.jpgThe bottom line for many homeowners looking to remodel is of course The Bottom Line - cash. How much the project will cost is one of the deciding factors for all of us. Of course the answer all depends on many factors from the kinds of material you use to the extent of improvements you have done. So let's compare a couple of kitchen remodel budget ideas. I talked to an Ohio kitchen remodeling expert about the costs associated with re-doing a kitchen, and here's what we came up with.

A big, totally custom kitchen could run you around $50,000 or more. This kind of project could involve new kitchen cabinets, custom-made. Kurt Karhoff with Holland Remodeling & Building in Northeast Ohio says he's done kitchen improvements that included $40,000 in custom cabinets, and that's just the material cost! A kitchen project of this price would also include things like:

  • Moving or installing an oven or stove
  • Replumbing a sink (moving an existing sink, adding a new one or putting in a new one)
  • Install plumbing for a dishwasher
  • Ceramic tile
  • All new cabinets
  • New counter tops (possibly granite)
  • Install a new or replacement window

A more general, average remodeling budget may cost around $15,000-$25,000. This is the kind of kitchen remodel where you make a few improvements then "put stuff back where it was" instead of rearranging the entire kitchen. Let's say you want decent cabinets with laminate countertops. Materials could cost in the $6,000 range, then you add the labor.

This kitchen remodel budget would include work like:

  • Re-painting cabinets
  • Laminate counter tops
  • Replace the refrigerator or oven/stove (but keep in the same spot)
  • Lay down linoleum flooring
  • New lighting fixtures

kitchen-reno-before-and-after

When you change the plumbing around, install gas lines to move a stove then you start to watch the dollar signs roll. When you keep things in the same places but simply make improvements, then your budget is a bit lower.

You can make a big difference with minor improvements, keeping the kitchen remodel budget fairly low. Kurt told me, "If the cabinets are good, you could dramatically improve your kitchen with nice counter tops. You could spend $5,000 on that and make your kitchen shine."

Flooring can make a huge difference too. For good ceramic tile, you're looking at around $15-$20 per square foot. For more average linoleum, you're likely in the $1-$5 per square foot range. Either way, changing the look of the floor and getting something new under your feet can make a huge difference.

When you have more than one project done, look out! "Combine a new floor with a counter top upgrade and you have a whole new kitchen," Kurt says.

That takes us to one of the financing options: FHA 203k. Instead of thinking in terms of total budget, think in terms of monthly payments. The 203k mortgage option allows homeowners to refinance and remodel, rolling the cost of the work directly into the mortgage payment.

For every $1,000 you finance, you'll pay about $6 more per month on your house payment. So that $25,000 kitchen costs about $150 more on your monthly mortgage payment. Because it's part of your mortgage, the interest paid is a tax deduction. Plus, it adds value to your home so when or if you decide to sell, those costs become part of your selling price.

With the 203k you have 2 options: 203k Streamline and the Full 203k. If you're staying under $35,000 and the work is not structural, then the 203k Streamline could work. However, if your budget exceeds $35,000 or if the work is considered by a home inspector to be structural, then you'll go with the Full 203k. Either option requires the same 3.5% down payment and specific loan criteria, but the Full 203k requires you to hire a 203k Consultant to help oversee the process. A 203k Consultant - licensed by HUD - may be a good idea even if you're going with a 203k Streamline.

Most FHA 203k Streamlines Kurt sees involve sprucing up counter tops. Once again we return to the idea that a few simple improvements can make a huge difference. Learn more about financing work like a kitchen remodel with "The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Loans" at the button below. The guide covers both 203k options, as well as home equity loans. It's up to you to decide how you want to pay for your remodeling desires.

Download: Home Improvement Loan Guide

(creative commons photo credit)

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5 Reasons Not to Skip Your Home Inspection

You found a house you love—hooray! But with lots of other buyers breathing down your neck, you feel like you need to act fast. To make your offer more attractive to the seller, you might be tempted to skip your home inspection, but here are five good reasons not to! 1.) Not all problems are obvious. It’s easy to spot issues like a crack in the sink or a broken light fixture. But do you know how to recognize foundation problems, termite infestations, outdated wiring, or sewer system problems? Trained home inspectors do and taking the time to have them go over the entire property before you sign the papers can prevent you from buying a headache instead of a home. BOTTOM LINE: The great thing about an inspection is that if you see major problems you’re unwilling to take on, you can change your mind and walk away. 2.) You may not be able to afford the repairs. If you’re like many new homeowners, you may not have much set aside to pay for needed repairs after saving up for your down payment and closing costs. While you may not mind waiting a bit to repaint or update appliances, waiting on problems like leaky roofs, broken plumbing, or infestations will only make them worse, and some issues, like broken furnaces, may need to be repaired right away. BOTTON LINE: You don’t want to go deep into debt to keep your home safe and comfortable. Instead, it’s worth negotiating with the seller to pay for repairs. If they refuse, you can simply walk away. 3. Some problems can make it harder to insure the home. Getting home insurance is essential because lenders need to see an insurance policy before you can close on your home—and of course, you’ll want to have your home protected in case anything goes wrong. However, some companies may decide that your home’s older electrical systems, plumbing, or building materials make it too risky to insure. BOTTON LINE: If essential updates are needed, the only choices are to ask the seller to pay for them, pay for them yourself if you can afford it, or walk away from the deal. 4. Serious issues can affect the resale value of the home. Your home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make. However, if it has major problems, instead of building your wealth, it could turn into a lousy investment that threatens your financial well-being. BOTTON LINE: While a home inspection typically costs a few hundred dollars, it’s an excellent investment in your peace of mind and financial health. 5. Some problems can threaten your family’s health or even your life. This sounds scary, but it’s no exaggeration. Issues like lead paint, black mold, radon (an odorless radioactive gas), or carbon monoxide leaks can cause serious and sometimes fatal health problems. BOTTON LINE: These issues are also easy to miss without a professional home inspection, and it’s simply not worth taking the risk. While it’s not easy to compete with other buyers who are bidding for the house you want, home inspections are one area where you don’t want to cut corners. To protect your physical, financial, and mental health, there’s no substitute for a professional home inspection.

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  If apartment living is getting old, or you've outgrown your parents' basement and house rules, you may be thinking about buying your own place. For this reason, you may be interested in learning about home loans that offer low and no-down payment options and have flexible lending requirements. One of these is the FHA loan. Let's take a closer look. 

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