The kitchen is the heart of the home. When it’s well designed it can elevate the entire look and feel of a property, both in terms of appearance and in terms of functionality. And when it’s not, it can make an entire home feel dated and inefficient—which can be a big problem if you’re thinking of selling. Because it plays such an important role, many homeowners look to the kitchen first when making home improvements. But does a kitchen renovation increase home value enough to justify its expense?
A kitchen renovation is the third most popular type of home improvement, according to the National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, with general kitchen upgrades coming in at number two. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2020 Cost vs. Value report however, the return on investment for all types of kitchen renovations—including mid-range and upscale remodels—is going down. So what gives? Below, we’ll go over what you need to know in answer to the question does a kitchen renovation increase home value?, including how you can make the most of your remodeling investment.
Does a Kitchen Renovation Increase Home Value?
In a word: yes. Most realtors will tell you that kitchens sell houses, but increasing home value and getting a big return on your spend aren’t the same thing. As you make a home renovation budget and determine which efforts are worth the cost, you’ll need to evaluate whether the expense of a major kitchen remodel is efficiently offset by the increase in home value that if affords.
Turning back to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, here’s how various degrees of a kitchen renovation increase home value:
Minor Kitchen Remodel – Midrange
Average cost: $23,452
Average resale value: $18,206
Recouped expenses: 77.6%
Major Kitchen Remodel – Midrange
Average cost: $68,490
Average resale value: $40,127
Recouped expenses: 58.6%
You’re rarely—if ever—going to get a 100% return on a home improvement investment. For that reason, it’s important to do a careful cost-benefit analysis and determine whether it’s worth spending tens of thousands of dollars (the average cost of all kitchen renovations is $25,093, or $150 a square foot, according to HomeAdvisor) to increase your home’s value.
Key to keep in mind here is that just as a stunning, updated kitchen can sell a home, an outdated kitchen can stand in the way of a sale. So even if you can’t do a complete kitchen renovation, you’ll still have something to gain from making targeted improvements (more on those later).
What About the Joy Score?
We often think about value of a home renovation project in terms of dollars and cents, but you can’t discount the joy score, which is the innate satisfaction or enjoyment that a homeowner gets out of having a more aesthetically pleasing, more functional space. And on a scale of one to 10, the NAR reports that the joy score of a kitchen renovation is a solid 10, both for the homeowners who hire a professional to do their remodel and for those who undertake the project on their own.
What this tells us is that there is more to be gained from a kitchen renovation than just an increase in a home’s asking price. If you’re thinking of taking the leap, it can help to know that for most home renovators a kitchen upgrade is far from regrettable.
5 Kitchen Updates That Add a Lot of Value
For many homeowners, a $20,000+ renovation cost isn’t quite in the budget. For that reason, it can often be a good idea to break up a renovation into its component parts and pick and choose the upgrades that make the most sense for your wallet and for your objectives. These five kitchen updates will increase your home’s value without requiring a major renovation, and are a good place to start if you want to stretch your dollar as far as it will go.
Repainting Cabinets and Adding in New Hardware
Cabinets are one of the most expensive parts of a kitchen renovation, clocking in at 30% of your total spend. You can spend about a tenth of that however by opting to work with your existing cabinets instead. For about $300 in paint costs and $200 in hardware costs, you can give your cabinets a completely new look—no costly installation required. For a little more money, you can buy trim to give the appearance of shorter cabinets reaching to the ceiling, or take on another DIY project that will add height without requiring a complete redo.
Swap Out Your Counter Tops
Your kitchen’s counter tops are a focal point of the space and can stand out in all the right ways—or all the wrong ways. As such, you can achieve a lot by putting your money into a counter top update. Look for materials that are less costly but can still provide a clean and modern look, such as laminate and Formica. Modern manufacturing techniques have made these materials look and feel a lot more expensive than they used to, making them a great solution to reviving a dated kitchen.
Update Your Appliances
It’s a lot easier for buyers to envision making their own updates to a kitchen if the basics like upgraded appliances are already there. While it will still cost you a decent amount, centering your kitchen renovation budget on appliances—such as a new fridge, updated range, or double oven—adds increased functionality to the space and is one of the fastest upgrades that you can make. And since appliances often go on sale, you’ll probably be able to get a great deal if you time your purchase right.
Put In New Light Fixtures
Light fixtures serve as prominent features in any room, including your kitchen. A show-stopping fixture then (or at least a clean, modern one) will make a good impression when it draws the eye, and will set the tone for the look and feel of the rest of the space. If you’re not sure where to start, it’s worth bringing in an electrician to tell you what’s possible or to rewire existing electrical work so you can add in a different type of fixture—for example, swapping out a dated flush mount light with a more stylish pendant light.
Add in a New Kitchen Sink
Putting in a new kitchen sink is another one of those updates that gives you more bang than you would expect for your buck. Homeowners spend a lot of time at the kitchen sink, and they’ll notice right away if it’s lacking in style or utility. For about $400 total for the price of a new sink and installation, you can add in a quick and thoughtful touch that buyers will definitely appreciate.
Is a Kitchen Renovation Worth It?
That’s up to you! A kitchen renovation will increase your home value, even if you don’t totally recoup your costs. You’ll also get a high joy score out of the project. If having a kitchen that you enjoy being in matters to you, then go for it.
Article sourced from moving.com