As explained in another one of our construction articles, How Much Will it Cost to Fix my House?, there are several factors which will effect the overall scope of construction regardless of which area in your house you decide to renovate. In this blog we will give you a few tips on how to price a renovation of your kitchen. These tips will help you get a baseline understanding of pricing and will help weed out overpriced contractors you may encounter. Most labor prices can be negotiated if you have an understanding of what you’re paying for.

In addition, kitchen remodels drastically help to improve the overall value of your house. Between kitchens and baths, these two spaces inside a home most drive value. Curb appeal and location also do this, but strictly speaking of the inside, focus your investments on these two rooms. Here we will address one of these. The functionality of a kitchen can vary widely. Nice kitchens single handedly can sell a home if everything else in the home is just average. You get a good bit of what you put into your kitchen back out afterwards in terms of home value. For example, if you put $15,000 into your kitchen, your home may go up by as much as $15,000, and you get a new kitchen space to utilize! Let’s dive in.

Cabinets

The first step in a kitchen renovation is deciding whether or not you want to replace your existing kitchen cabinets. Cabinets are usually the first thing that you notice in a kitchen. Any changes you make to them will affect the look of your kitchen greatly. If your budget cannot support brand new kitchen cabinets there are several options which can revitalize your current cabinets. These include simply repainting and replacing the doors on the existing “boxes”. Boxes is a term used to describe the wooden structure that consists of the cabinets minus doors and hardware. If you like your layout and your cabinets are in good shape, but just need a facelift, by all means, don’t fully replace them. Change the doors and refinish them for the same level of renovation.

If you are looking to completely replace you current kitchen cabinets there are usually two schools of thought.

1. Find a local company which specializes in cabinet making.

 

Home depot is a good resource being that they help you design your kitchen right then and there based on your kitchen dimensions. Home Depot uses prebuilt “stock” cabinets which they piece together to fit your specific kitchen. These aren’t always of the highest quality but it is an easy and relatively affordable option.

2. Find a local carpenter who either specializes in cabinet making or who has experience with making them.

This option could be a bit more expensive but you should get an overall better product depending on the skill of the carpenter. Since these cabinets are tailor made for your kitchen by hand they will usually fit better no matter the size or shape your kitchen may be. (Always ask for references or pictures of previous projects to ensure your carpenter is capable of making cabinets to your specifications)

An easy way to figure out the cost of custom cabinets is by finding the linear feet of cabinets you will need. Keep in mind you will need to calculate the linear footage of both uppers and bottom cabinets you will want made. Use this easy standard custom cabinet price by linear foot to get an estimate on the price; Stock cabinets which are normally the cheaper route go anywhere from $60-$200/ Linear foot – Semi-custom cabinets are between $150-$500 / Linear foot – For fully custom cabinets built to your exact specifications will be $500-$1,000.

Countertops

The next step of a kitchen renovation after the cabinets is deciding what type of countertops you will be placing on your new or existing cabinets. There are several options in regards to countertop materials that vary from butcher blocks to concrete to the more common stones.

Granite & Quartz:

Very durable and capable of lasting for decades as well as being low maintenance. Both granite and quartz are scratch, heat, chemical, and stain resistant. Quartz countertops are engineered together from natural quartz while granite is entirely a natural stone usually cut to sizes needed. Granite is limited to certain colors which are formed naturally, while quartz can be artificially colored in its creation. Although these two materials are higher in cost compared to other options, their longevity and durability should be highly considered when making a decision. The biggest factors that differentiate these two materials are price, heat resistance, and durability. Quartz is approximately 20%-40% more expensive than granite; Granite is able to sustain higher heats better than quartz but quartz is actually harder than granite and thus, more durable. In fact, quartz is nearly indestructible, and because it isn’t porous like granite, it’s easy to keep your countertops relatively bacteria-free.

Marble:

Both marble & granite are made of genuine natural stones which means each slab is unique. Marble has gained notoriety for its veining, which has let to the popular term “marbling.” The options of patterns are countless since its colors are formed naturally and come in indefinitely different patterns. The biggest downsides to marble is its porous nature. A quality sealer is recommended to reduce potential staining. Marble consists of minerals that are sensitive to certain chemical agents, thus it is extremely important to wipe spills immediately! Anything acidic will leave deep marks in your marble if left to the stone for too long.

Butcher Block:

Butcher block is yet another counter top option that basically consists of a block of wood. They can consist of different variants of wood such as cherry, maple, oak, or walnut, to name a few. Depending on the type of wood you choose and the finish of the wood depends on the price. For an average kitchen with about 30 square feet of countertop, the cost is between $1,200 and $2,500. After labor you usually are looking at between $4,000- $5,000 for the entire cost of the wood and the install.

Butcher block is inviting to the eye and accentuates warmth in the home. It is relatively durable and can be repaired via sanding and refinishing, but keep them away from moisture. Due to its natural weakness to moisture people tend to put them on kitchen islands away from the sink. Also, drastic temperature changes could lead to cracking, but with central air nowadays this problem isn’t as prevalent. Wood is also not heat or stain resistant so trivets should be used when placing hot pots on top of the surface.

Concrete:

Concrete countertops are yet another option when deciding on the type of surface you would like for your kitchen. Generally concrete is more expensive than other stones and will take considerably more skill to install. People choose concrete for it’s modern look. Natural, unstained concrete is a matte grey, but you can also polish or color the concrete via a staining method that gives you more options. The national average, according to Home Advisor, is $7,500.

Stainless Steel:

Finally we get to stainless steel countertops. Stainless steel offers an exceptionally modern and industrial look and is heat and stain resistant, but it is not scratch or smudge resistant and they can dent. When damaged they are exceptionally hard to repair. When new they will shine and be perfect looking, but if they are installed in high use areas, which kitchens normally are, they will develop fine scratches over time with normal use.

Given this factor, some people like the look of a slightly worn stainless steel kitchen countertop. It makes your kitchen look like a professional space. These countertops are quite noisy and can come off as cold to some homeowners, so it all comes down to personal preference. The type of steel finish you go with also depends on your preference. They range from shiny and polished to matte finishes. They also have different grades of steel.

Stainless is more expensive than most stone and wood countertops and price ranges are similar to concrete installations, but there are tons of factors and price varies on your location. It is hard to say for sure what an installation would cost without getting a professional bid. You can expect a $5,000 – $10,000 price tag depending on the various factors discussed.

We suggest getting bids from up to three local installers for your desired countertop material as prices do vary drastically in this department. If you are in the local Houston area we can assist you with this process.

Plumbing & Electrical

There is no standard cost analysis when it comes to changing or moving electrical and plumbing. It depends what is there and what you are trying to do. A general rule of thumb is the more changes you do, like moving the sink or stove (plumbing and gas/electrical items) or moving a switch from one wall to another because you are knocking a wall down, the more your kitchen installation will cost. Keeping the same layout, which will prevent you from having to get an electrician and plumber in there, and simply changing all the finishes will help dramatically to reduce costs of your kitchen remodel.

The best advice we can give you is to make sure you get several opinions in your area and to negotiate pricing with the trades if you do decide to restructure the layout of your kitchen.

Appliances

Every major home improvement and appliance specialty stores hold bundle deals throughout the year. Normally closer to holidays but they can pop up throughout the year as well. Try to find the best combination of refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and cooktop or range per your preference. The standard brands you are likely to see are; Samsung, Whirlpool, GE, LG, Maytag, and Bosch. Bundles can cost typically between $2,500-$3,500.00 – These bundles are a great bang for your buck and are reliable brands.

If you’re looking to upgrade your appliances to higher end products, often dubbed with the title “Professional” you will expect to pay a higher-end price. The most famous brands you tend to see in home improvement magazines and in popular HGTV shows are always beautiful and definitely make a statement in any kitchen but according to consumer reports; they don’t function much better than the above mentioned products for the price. Similar to buying a Honda Civic vs a Maybach Mercedes. Sure, the Mercedes is fancy, luxurious, and screams “hey look how successful I am”, but at the end of the day, you’re going to get to your local grocery store in the same amount of time, and even be able to tote around the same amount of groceries.

The top brands in high-end appliances include – Viking, Wolf, Thermador, gaggenau, Sub-Zero and Miele. For a package of appliances for an entire kitchen with any of these brands you should expect to pay at least $10,000 and can reach $20,000 fairly easily.

Conclusion

When it comes to kitchens there are many variables, but as contractors ourselves we can do a good job of averaging the cost of these installations. Given a complete kitchen remodel, where plumbing and electrical is done to a certain extent and all cabinets are fully replaced, we generally see kitchens costing anywhere from $8,000 on the low end to upwards of $30,000 in the middle end depending on materials and appliances used. On the high end the sky is really the limit. Seeing a kitchen well into the 6 figures is not uncommon in a multi-million dollar house. On average, a complete kitchen remodel in a medium sized home will run you $15,000 – $30,000. If you keep the layout and cabinets, but redo all the finishes this price can be reduced.

Remember, a kitchen is the single most important room in the house and provides tons of utility. If you plan on spending a chunk of change on your property, we advise you start here as this investment will likely be returned to you on the back end if you refinance or sell your home. At minimum, you’ll feel genuinely happy with your purchase. Hopefully this information can get you prepared for the job ahead. If you have any questions regarding this process feel free to reach out to us and we will do our best to get those questions answered.

Another thing I’ve experienced directly is the fact that you are most similar to the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you are hanging out with people with no drive and are content with their 9-5 jobs making $40-$60k annually and strive for nothing more than to be simple and their version of comfortable, then you will probably be in that simple/comfortable/rather boring “rut” with them. If you want to grow personally, professionally, or financially, and in general being the best you can be, then rubbing elbows with people who are more successful than you and strive for more than the same ol same ol are who you need to try and hang around with. Don’t ever be the smartest person in the room. If you are, you are in the wrong room.

“But…I don’t like talking to random strangers at cheesy real estate investing events.” Growth often times is not comfortable. Being uncomfortable is something you must get used to if you are expecting to grow yourself and your business at any rate. The Ironic part about this is, the more you put yourself out there the more you get used to it and the more you get used to doing it the more it doesn’t bother you. You’ll be fine! Remember, these people are all there for the same reason as you.

Once you locate a few good meetup groups online you must prepare to attend these events. Most of them are pretty casual, yet professional. Dress up nice, but perhaps don’t suit up. A nice collared shirt and a nice pear of slacks or jeans is all that is needed. Also, BRING BUSINESS CARDS and something to write with. The whole point is to learn and to get contacts that you can reach out to later.

Now that we have a basis for networking, I will dive in to some of the local meetup groups and resources that are available to you as a local investor in the Houston area.

1. The Houston REIA

REIA stands for “Real Estate Investor Association” and is the single biggest organization in this sector. There are approximately 40,000 members nationwide. Most metropolitan areas around the country have a local chapter. For instance, Denver has a REIA that I am a part of as does Houston. Find out if there is a local REIA near you and other various bits of information by clicking on the National REIA’s website here. The Houston REIAs website can be located here.

The REIA has monthly meetings and sometimes has smaller weekly meetings that discuss set topics. There is a time set aside for networking and usually a guest speaker or two that has services or products or even information that may be of interest to you as an investor.

One thing REIAs do well is to try and sell you on education. These include weekend workshops or a type of internship or VIP/Mastermind course where you work alongside the establishers of the REIA or someone associated with them on a project they may have. It’s great education no doubt, but know you’ll be paying for it. Usually it’s quite a large amount.

The REIA has an annual cost and these weekend retreats or specialty classes usually cost much more, so they are motivated to get you to sign up, but for what could potentially be the wrong reasons. Use your own judgment and be diligent. Invest in yourself, but do it wisely and do expect this kind of spiel most times you meet at one of these.

2. RICH Club – an affiliate of the REIA

The RICH Club is a local real estate investors group in the Houston area that, like the REIA, offer education and a chance to network with local RE investors and professionals. It stands for Realty Investment Community of Houston.

The main difference I can tell is that the RICH club focuses more in the free flow of information, while the REIA is really focused on promoting the REIA.

3. Bigger Pockets Meetups

Bigger Pockets, if you aren’t already aware of, is an online based marketplace for Investor friendly folks. They have a great podcast show that you should tune into if you are interested in this field and haven’t done so already. They have their own blog page that has extensive information on it as well as a way to network digitally with all sorts of folks in the industry.

On top of their digital presence, local investors that are part of the Bigger Pockets community will put together meetup groups to further network and meet people within this industry. It’s a pretty tight nit world and these folks see value in starting their own meetups under the Bigger Pockets logo. The format is similar to the REIA, but typically less formal and they usually don’t have education to sell. Everyone is more or less on the same playing field regarding the hosts and the guests. Hopefully the hosts and some of the guests have more experience than yourself, but they aren’t going to push you to use their products or join them for a weekend for education for $500 or whatever it may be. It’s totally free.

4. Various RE Investor Groups found on Meetup

The Meetup app and website is used to connect people who want to be connected. With that said, it is a great resource for finding all the various smaller meetup groups in Houston as well as organizing a place to look at all of the bigger groups you happen to join. It’s a comprehensive source of meetups, hence the name.

Some of the smaller groups include:

– Prosperity

– Real Estate Titans of Houston

– Lifestyles Unlimited

People can literally put a meetup group together on this platform at a moments notice. Some are as informal as 5-10 people meeting at a coffee shop either before or after work to chat about their RE endeavors. You never know who you might meet.

Dive into this with an open mind and a willingness to branch out and learn and it will pay dividends. I’ve met tons of people I still talk to to this day through meetups and have gotten plenty of jobs that paid me directly through these meetups. It’s truly about what and who you know coupled with your work ethic that will get you somewhere in this industry. Meetups can kill two birds with one stone. Good luck out there and happy investing!