Learn Why Kitchen Remodeling Projects Go Over Budget


Common Reasons Kitchen Remodeling Goes Beyond Your Budget

Your kitchen is the heart of your home not only in terms of your living space, but also when it comes to your property value. In fact, when it comes to value, it's probably THE most important room. That's why so many homeowners focus on the kitchen as the first room to be updated when it comes time to remodel.

A kitchen remodeling can return anywhere from 60 - 120% of your investment when you sell your home. When remodeling, it's important to stay comparable to other homes in your community, as well as the rest of your home. Creating a kitchen that is fancier than the rest of your house, or the nicest kitchen in the neighborhood can actually hurt you in terms of ROI when you sell.

One crucial step with any remodeling project is to first develop a comprehensive plan that includes a budget. Of course, setting a budget and sticking to it are two different things. There are a number of reasons that kitchen remodeling projects can go over budget. Some are due to your contractor, others fall squarely on the homeowner. Let's take a look at some of the most common reasons for a kitchen remodeling to go over budget, and what you can do to make sure it doesn't happen with your project.

Electrical Code Changes in Wisconsin

Don't forget the cost of lighting and electric. Building and electrical codes have changed significantly in the last several years, and so your building inspector might require a lot more work that you were counting on. Plan this from the start by hiring a qualified electrician and design-build-remodel company who will know in advance.

Not Listing Scope of Work In Detail

The first step in any remodeling project is developing a detailed plan. This falls on your contractor. They should develop a detailed plan based on their discussions with you about your creative vision for the space. It's important that your contractor understands your lifestyle, needs and wants before coming up with a plan. This is also why it's important to speak to several contractors before settling on one to do your project.

While it's your contractor's job to come up with a detailed project plan, it's your responsibility to ask questions and make sure every detail is in order. When you receive your estimate it will likely be based on the listed items, but if the details are lacking, it will cost you more than your estimate before you're finished. Make sure it includes small details like cabinet knobs, and wall plates. Otherwise, you may be surprised by a final bill that may be significantly more than your original estimate.

Make sure anyone you choose to work with is reputable, detail oriented and comes with plenty of references. Don't settle on the lowest price only to find out that the estimate didn't include “extras” that sneak in along the way.

Not Factoring Actual Cost of Materials

Tile Backsplash Design

The small number of colored tiles in a backsplash such as this can cause the cost to skyrocket, if you need to order in a full-box quantity that is mostly unused.

Your dream kitchen has Carrera marble countertops, a Viking stove and a SubZero fridge surrounded by luxurious custom cabinets. While these elements can give you an elegant kitchen, make sure you've done the research so you know what these luxuries cost. High-end materials and custom cabinetry are much more expensive than standard materials. If you have the budget it's great. But if you're half-way into your project and suddenly decide on professional level appliances you'll end up way over budget. Make sure you know what the “must-have” items in your kitchen remodeling project cost before you solidify your plan so you're not surprised by a final bill that's way over budget.

Change Your Mind Midway, And Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget Will Soar!

This one is often on the homeowner, and it's one of the top reasons kitchen remodeling projects go over budget. If you've settled on a plan and a price, changing your mind will cost you. In fact, change orders midway into a project can increase your budget by as much as ten-percent. On a $60,000 remodeling project, that means an additional $6000 bill when your through.

Some examples of what to avoid? Moving the sink or gas stove. While it might seem minor, re-routing infrastructure like plumbing and gas lines can kill your budget. Or, if you decide that you want wainscoting in the dining area, your contractor may need to reschedule subcontractors to accommodate you, increasing labor costs.

Another element to consider when making a change order is the extra time and work. Your contractor will issue a charge for every change you make to the agreed-upon plan. Change orders can slow the job down and throw off the entire schedule. 

A Plan for Success

A consistent, documented plan will help to avoid cost overruns.

Not Developing a Contingency Plan

Even the best plan can hit a snag if surprises pop up. And they come up more often than you think! This is especially true with older homes. Until the walls are opened up, your contractor has no way of knowing if your existing plumbing or electrical is up to current codes. You could find rotten wood, mold or insect damage.

It's impossible to see these issues until the job starts. That's why, at least early in design, it's important to plan ahead by padding your budget by 10 or 20-percent to cover any surprises that come up along the way. The worst solution is downgrading materials, like your beautiful marble countertop because you didn't plan ahead. Learn how Our Proven Process for Your Successful Project helps prevent these types of problems.

The Takeaway...

Be aware of every decision you make before and during the kitchen remodeling process. Do your research, ask your contractor questions. The choices you make, and the details you overlook can have a huge impact on the final cost of your project. By educating yourself, staying on top of the details, and working with a reputable contractor or design-build remodeler you can avoid these mistakes and end up with the kitchen of your dreams, on time and on budget!

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 6/25/2018.

About Degnan Design Build Remodel
Since 1981 Degnan Design Build Remodel has provided home improvement and construction services to customers throughout Greater Madison, Wisconsin. Our goal is to WOW you with a "Designed For Your Life" solution using a process that will transform your home into a beautiful living space, delivered on time, and on budget. We are known for our communication, respectfulness, and a commitment to our customers and our community. Contact us to speak with one of our designers about your home improvement project.