Getting a great return on investment for your kitchen remodel takes some research and careful consideration.

Location. Location. Location.

While you’re sure to inject your own personal style into your kitchen remodel, it’s important to understand the real estate market your home is located in. If a return on investment is important to you, consider the types of homes and kitchen finishes/appliances used in your area. You might end up over investing in high end finishes that buyers won’t value based on the overall housing costs. Or, you may end up under-renovating with budget choices when you could have attracted high end buyers.

By visiting Realtor.ca you can check housing in your area. What are the asking prices for similar homes? What kind of finishes and materials are others using? For example, if the standard for renovations in your neighborhood is to use laminate countertops, perhaps insisting on granite isn’t a wise use of your money.

Minor Remodel vs. Major Renovation

A minor kitchen renovation is focused around aesthetic updates only – you want your kitchen to look a lot nicer! Think of a new paint colour, resurfacing cabinets and maybe a new countertop. Major renovations are meant to improve the function of the kitchen in a significant way, and means you’re stripping the walls to the studs and changing your floor plan. While both can have value and offer ROI, you should decide on your budget and scale of change before you start planning.

New Windows and Doors?

Quality windows should last about 20 years, but if you are doing a major renovation it’s probably worthwhile to install all new doors and windows even if they are close to the end of life. Home buyers are often checking the ‘new windows’ box when they evaluate a home. Also, new windows can help with energy efficiency, and you may find you qualify for a rebate (visit Manitoba Hydro.) New doors create a great first impression, and also help contain energy. And everyone likes to reduce monthly utility costs! The team at Hammerdown has extensive knowledge of the effects of Winnipeg weather, and can help you maximize your energy savings.

New Appliances

Refrigerators can last as long as 15 years, and stoves can last even longer. Typically homeowners try to make sure all their appliances match and renovation time is the right time to do it. Beyond lifespan, you may want to sell your old appliances, even if in working order, to upgrade to a newer style. Consider the types of appliances in the neighbourhood and consider whether the ROI is there. If you’re only going to replace one appliance, we suggest you go with the stove. When purchasing, check the warranty on the appliance, and remember to look for the Energy Star rating symbol listed as ‘high efficiency.’ If you’re thrifty, you may even be able to receive rebates for certain appliances and purchases. Be sure to check the federal government’s website for rebates and incentives.

Timeless Style Choices

If your kitchen renovation is being done for a ‘forever home’ your selection of interior design choices will likely be personal to you and your family. However, if you intend to sell within a few years of the renovation, you’ll want to consider style choices that have market appeal. This means selecting cupboards and countertop finishes that are more neutral or classic in style. Work with an interior designer and keep your future home buyer in mind when making big ticket purchases. Let your personal style come through in accessories that can easily be moved to your next home.

Countertop Options

There are a wide variety of countertop options available and the price can also vary greatly. Selecting a countertop can often dictate the direction your kitchen renovation goes. The countertop in most homes is a statement, or showpiece, which inspires design choices around it. For this important selection make sure you review all of your options:

  • Granite: if your heart is set on granite, you can reduce the costs by selecting a lower grade of granite. The granite used for countertops is rated on a 1-5 scale, depending on the manufacturer. Shop around and see if you’re able open to lower grade granite, which will reduce costs but still increase your potential ROI.
  • Quartz: a great alternative to granite, quartz is both beautiful and offers great value. Quartz surfaces are extremely durable, ultra-low maintenance (as it never needs to be sealed, unlike natural stone or wood), and the surface is antimicrobial.
  • Laminate: costing about half the price of a granite or quartz countertop, there are many different ways that laminate products are produced. There are many design options, some which mimic the look of granite and can offer great value.

Cabinets

With any kitchen renovation, there are a few ‘must-have’ items! One of these is cabinets and drawers with soft close hinges. What was once a luxury feature has become a standard expectation for all home buyers. Also, cabinet quality says a lot about a kitchen renovation:

  • Wood: Custom solid wood cabinets are pricey but worth the investment. If you’re going this route make sure you work with a designer who can provide the best possible layout for your space.
  • Veneer: wood veneers look great, and are a great value. Different styles of veneer surfaces can offer a rich style without the big price tag.
  • Particle Board: not a desirable option, particle board is not durable and can’t carry a lot of weight. If you’re going this way, make sure the cabinet sides and shelving are done in plywood to handle the weight of kitchen items and small appliances.

How to Select the Right Flooring

Similar to countertops and cabinets, flooring is a critical part of any kitchen renovation, and you have an array of options:

  • Linoleum: a great option, especially for families with young children and/or pets, where you expect a lot of wear and tear. There are many styles to choose from.
  • Luxury vinyl planks: also an excellent option if the priority is on waterproofing and durability. A great upscale option to linoleum.
  • Tile: porcelain floor tiles are very durable and you have some great style options. You may pay a little more for installation but tiles can provide a more high end look. Tiles can also be cold on bare feet, though this can be remedied with infloor heating–always a plus in Manitoba winters.
  • Hardwood: while a very stylish choice, and an easy surface to stand on for lengths of time, it can show wear and tear more easily. It also is one of the more expensive options.
  • Custom: You may want to combine materials, especially if you have an open concept kitchen adjacent to other living areas with different flooring.

Selecting the right flooring option for you and your family is essential. There are many aspects to consider:  material cost, material durability, cost to install, and ongoing maintenance. Hammerdown has the experience to make recommendations that will work for your purpose and within your budget.

Other Considerations

  • Hardware:  an easy upgrade, hardware selection usually depends on the overall style of your kitchen. While you might want to match other metallic features, there are times selecting a contrasting finish is an even better option. The right choice can add a lot of character to your kitchen.
  • Backsplash:  this is a great area to show off some style. With a myriad of tiling options your backsplash is an opportunity to make a statement!
  • Lighting:  the kitchen is the heart of the home, and in use at all times of day and night. Consider what natural light is available, and plan your lighting around work areas and social spaces. Dimmable pot lights, under cabinet lighting, in cabinet lights, and work area pendant fixtures can all layer together to create not only a well-lit functional space, but also provide ambience for any type of social gathering.

The Bottom Line

Expectations versus reality can be a tricky subject. There are many factors which play into the result. However, most of Hammerdown’s clients can expect to receive 70-90% of their kitchen remodel back as a return on their investment. For an average cost of a kitchen renovation of $60,000, you can expect to recoup your investment in the range of $39,000 to $48,000.

Along with a financial return, a kitchen remodel can change the way you live in your home for the better. Many of our clients come to us with some problem to solve, either with layout or functionality. Hammerdown clients invariably end up happier homeowners, and sometimes end up staying in their home longer than they thought they would because their problems were solved by the renovation.

Retain Your Investment

Sometimes the best way to retain your investment is to outstay the additional costs. If you consider that, conservatively speaking, your home appreciates in value 3-5% each year, and your renovation returns 75% of value, staying in your home an extra couple of years will help you recoup your costs.

Beside ROI – What else do you want?

At Hammerdown, we believe a big part of any renovation project should be directed towards “what do you want?” ROI is really only one, though major, aspect of any project. We suggest our potential clients create their own kitchen goals worksheet, listing all of your renovation goals. Check out the questionnaire and worksheet in this HGTV article to get you started.

The Hammerdown Recommendation

As with any creative process, home renovations can be stressful, but they can also be fun and very fulfilling. Renovations can solve long standing issues with your home. And with careful planning and a focus on your goals, we can make sure the stress is worth it from a personal standpoint, as well as a financial one.

If you are interested in discussing your kitchen renovation project and want to hear more about Hammerdown’s recommendations for your home investment, contact us. We’d love to redefine your space!