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10 Tips for Low-Cost Kitchen Renovations

16 September 2013 by National Bank
Kitchen Renovations

Renovating your kitchen can be an expensive undertaking. Some people do it to improve their quality of life, others to increase the value of their home. In preparation for this big project, here are ten tips that could save you time and money.

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1. Set your goals and a budget

The first step is to set your parameters. What results are you expecting from your renovation project? Does the layout of your kitchen cause problems you’d like to remedy? Or is it simply a question of appearances? For the latter, a complete renovation may not be necessary. A fresh coat of paint or new cabinet doors may be all you need to fulfil your expectations. Next, set a limit for your budget—the maximum amount that you do not want to exceed. Write down this amount, as well as the goals for your project. Identify which items on your list are needs and which items are wants. Once you’ve determined these parameters, you’ll be able to refer to the list before getting carried away by dream renovations that could cause cost overruns.

2. Resist the temptation to go bigger

If you don’t really need a bigger kitchen, work with the space you already have. Sometimes optimizing your existing space and increasing storage can give the impression that your kitchen is much bigger. Keep in mind that expanding a kitchen is expensive. For example, adding 5 square feet to a 10 foot by 10 foot room can easily reach $4,000 if you have to move walls, redo the flooring, revamp the cabinetry layout, add electrical outlets, etc.

3. Call a designer or kitchen specialist

If you’re considering redoing your entire kitchen, help from a specialist will be valuable. Their recommendations will respect your budget and a detailed plan will ensure you avoid any unfortunate errors. It’s better to invest a little bit of money at the design step rather than finding, in retrospect, that you’re stuck with a kitchen you don’t like. Don’t try to do everything by yourself. That being said, if you have already chosen a supplier for your kitchen furnishings, the kitchen specialist can draw up the plans at no cost to you, as long as you agree to purchase all of your furnishings from them.

4. DIY demolition

Even with no experience under your belt, you are undoubtedly capable of carrying out any demolition work required. You could recover certain parts such as the sink or countertops which can be sold on websites such as Kijiji, LesPac, etc. However, get a professional opinion before taking on this type of work to avoid damaging the kitchen’s structure, electrical system or plumbing.

5. Keep your eye on appliance sales

Appliances take up a significant amount of your budget. Apps such as Reebee show you flyers from many retailers directly to your smartphone. With this app, you can compare prices so that you can buy at the right time and the right place. Keep your eyes peeled—you could save a lot!

6. Go for standard materials

Melamine has come a long way since the 80s—it’s now offered in a wide range of finishes. You could, for example, find a perfect replica of wood grain that is easy to maintain. Laminate, a close cousin of melamine, also comes in a number of options for your countertops. For the floors, vinyl and linoleum are still a sure bet. These materials are less expensive than granite, quartz, wood, ceramic or cork. They are also, for the most part, less delicate.

7. Take advantage of subventions

Many government programs and energy suppliers offer financial assistance for certain projects. Could your project benefit from one of these programs? Learn more about the main subventions available for renovations.

8. Customize at a lower cost

Bespoke is beautiful, but it’s expensive. By replacing cabinet hardware or doors you purchase at big box stores, you can still give the impression that they were made specifically for your kitchen. A carpenter or cabinetmaker can customize them at your convenience.

9. Carefully choose your contractor

The cost of hiring workers will take up a significant part of your expenses. Don’t hesitate to meet with several contractors so you can compare their offers. You can do this through a referral service such as Réno-Assistance. Be sure to request references and take a look at previous projects the contractor has worked on. Once you’ve made your choice, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the contractor you want to hire before confirming your decision. If your renovation deadline is flexible, find a time when the contractor is less busy so you can get a better price.

10. Once the project has begun, don’t change your mind

Interrupting renovation work because you want to re-evaluate some of your decisions could add a lot to your final bill. That’s why it’s important that you consider every aspect of the project before you get started!

What budget should you estimate for a kitchen project?

Dozens of factors come into play when evaluating the cost of a renovation project: materials, preparing the space, dimensions of the new kitchen, appliances, cabinetry, etc. It’s a lot to consider!

That being said, if you’re renovating your home partly because you want to increase the value of your property, you should, at the very least, recover your investment. Sometimes homeowners dive head first into overly ambitious renovations, hoping the value of their home will skyrocket. This is a mistake. Remember this when making your renovation budget: When it comes to determining the value of a property, the most important factor is its location.

Before being drawn to one home in particular, future homebuyers look for neighbourhoods, nearby services, a certain quality of life. They expect to pay a price comparable to the value of neighbouring homes. Knowing this, a homeowner who invests $50,000 to add a luxury kitchen to a bungalow valued at $200,000 should not expect to recover this amount when they decide to sell their home.

If you’re looking to maximize your return on an investment in a new kitchen, avoid taking on too much. Don’t carry out renovations that seem disproportionate to the house and neighbourhood. Generally, an amount representing between 6% and 10% of the home’s value should be allocated for the project. Therefore, the owner of a house valued at $300,000 should plan a budget that does not exceed $30,000 for the work. According to different experts, you can hope to recover between 75% and 100% of costs invested in a kitchen at the time of resale.

To help finance your project, National Bank offers a home improvement line of credit that allows you to defer repayment of renovation costs for up to a year. Plan your project properly by surrounding yourself with the right tools. Soon, you’ll be able to make delicious dishes in your new kitchen… without the bitter aftertaste of a hefty renovation bill!

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