Your Kitchen Remodeling Checklist: How to Tackle This Equity-Adding Project


People aren’t purchasing a home. They’re buying a kitchen.

If you want to maximize the equity of your house, apartment, condo, or co-op, the best investment you can make is in your kitchen. Although a complete remodel can take 4-12 weeks to complete, you can recoup almost all of the value back at the time of sale.

You might be tempted to serve as your only general contractor on this project. Although it might be possible to do, you’ll need to manage electricians, tilers, plumbers, and other specialists. If you don’t have experience in those areas, how will you know if the work is getting done correctly?

Once you’re ready to go, here are the steps to take to ensure you get the best craftsmanship possible for your money.

How to Handle Your Kitchen Remodeling Work

1. Hire the right general contractor.

You should never hire a GC that makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t compromise on your instincts because the price is better or because someone recommends them. If you can’t trust them, you won’t feel safe in your new kitchen.

2. Don’t pay for the work in advance.

It’s surprising how often people turn over a significant amount of their life savings to strangers on a promise. If you’re planning a kitchen remodeling project, you shouldn’t pay more than 50% of the total job cost upfront on smaller jobs. When the work is extensive, it shouldn’t be above 30%. The GC needs enough to cover startup materials.

You can negotiate a payment schedule based on the job completion during predetermined checkpoints.

3. Offer the right specs for your kitchen remodeling job.

Unless you account for each detail of your remodeling project, it’ll be challenging to receive an accurate bid.  You’re specifying the flooring type, counter material, cabinet hardware, and lighting during this request. If you don’t make these specifications, some contractors might assume you want more custom or higher-end items. That means you’ll end up overpaying for the upgrade.

4. Keep your focus on the goal.

It doesn’t take much to get distracted by today’s evolving technologies for the kitchen. Have you ever gone to the grocery store to grab a couple of things, only to come home with a week’s worth of food? You can do the same thing with the different gadgets that could get included in a kitchen remodel. It helps to make a list of the items you want and stick to it.

5. Have your kitchen be supportive of your lifestyle.

You don’t need to keep up with the neighbors when planning a kitchen remodeling project. If your lifestyle involves a lot of takeout and frozen pizza, you don’t need a top-of-the-line induction range as part of your new cooking space. If there’s one place where you can save a little money now, it is on your appliances. They can always be upgraded. Splurge on the counters, flooring, and cabinets instead.

6. Create a kitchen that works for you.

Unless you plan to sell your home in the next couple of years, don’t worry about what someone else might think about this space. They’ll probably rip it apart anyway! Build your fantasy kitchen so that it works for your needs and budget. The one step you can take in this area is to avoid over-customization. Today’s looks don’t always work well tomorrow, which means the built-in seating can probably wait.

7. Make decisions before you hire.

It costs more when you change your mind after the work begins. If you regret the countertop color, prefer a reconfigured kitchen, or need to reordering items, you’ll get altered work orders, more delays, and a budget on life support. Your GC likely has another job waiting after yours, which means their patience will also start running thin. When you begin a kitchen remodeling project, it is essential to remember that time is money.

Is It Time to Schedule Your Kitchen Remodeling Project?

If you live in a dysfunctional kitchen right now because you think that remodeling is a hassle, it’s time to end the stress. Life is about finding ways to thrive. If your focus is on survival only, you’ll miss out on some of the best times you can spend with your family at home.

With a little time and effort, you can have the kitchen you’ve always wanted. Although it will be an investment of time and inconvenience while the work happens, you’ll discover that this option could be the best way to spend your money this year!


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