According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey, the median age of an owner-occupied home in the United States was 35 years in 2011, and it's even older now. With few new homes being built post-recession, the chances are good that the home you buy is in need of some major renovations.
For most homebuyers, the most important room is the kitchen, the heart and soul of any home. But if your kitchen is from another generation, it might not meet your needs. It may be closed off the way kitchens were in the 1950s or have outmoded cabinets, drawers and appliances that don't function as well as today's products.
No matter what needs to be done, get ready to spend some real money. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) suggests that you allocate your kitchen remodeling budget somewhere along these lines. One third of your budget is going to cabinets and another 25 percent to appliances and ventilation, and countertops. Approximately one fourth of your expenses will go toward designer fees, labor and installation. You can also get a lot of bang for the buck with new faucets, lighting, doors and windows.
Obviously, the quality of materials you choose will make a big difference to the amount you spend. The cost of living impacts labor, and you could find yourself paying quite a bit if you make changes to the footprint of the kitchen like relocating the sink or range and tearing out walls. Change orders for the contractor can also drive up costs.
So what will you pay to renovate your kitchen? Cost estimates are all over the place.
HomeAdvisor estimates that the average cost to remodel a kitchen is $20,000, with most homeowners spending between $10,630 and $30,000. Houzz says the average is about $25,000, but that figure includes do-it-yourself kitchens as well as those that used kitchen designers.
Kitchen designers work with interior designers for a seamless ambiance with the rest of the home. A HadleyCourt.com survey of professional kitchen designers, remodelers and HVAC experts found that a 200 square foot kitchen remodel in major metros was $120,000 to $150,000, and $80,000 in secondary real estate markets.
The best way to determine the cost of remodeling your new home's kitchen is to decide whether the changes you want to make are mostly cosmetic or structural. Then decide if you want to DIY or hire professionals. You can certainly paint, install new tile and countertops, and buy new appliances, but if you want to improve the functionality or size of the kitchen or move any plumbing or electrical, you should hire a kitchen designer for best results.
Don't avoid buying a home you love because it needs renovations. Chances are good that you're going to get the home at a discount because it needs updates. This is your opportunity to make the home your own.