Realm’s Guide to Kitchen Renovations

Kitchen renovations are a common project because kitchen style becomes outdated about every 10 years.

We were curious to see where kitchen renovations were the most popular across the country. Our permit data shows that they are especially popular in states in the Northeast. In New York state, 20% of homeowners who completed a major home renovation in the last 2 years tackled their kitchens.

Residents of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Tennessee were also hot spots for kitchen renovations, with 12-15% of projects falling into the kitchen category.

Among all homes that have completed a project in the last 2 years, what % completed a kitchen renovation?

What drives ROI?

Renovating a kitchen can be a big undertaking, so it’s important to think through the ROI before getting started. ROI is simply how much your project costs compared to how much your home value will increase. You can view our personalized estimates for cost and home value increase in your Realm Dashboard. Here’s a breakdown of each bucket:

Drivers of cost

There are three categories in a major project: materials, labor, and project management. We also recommend adding 7-10% on top of your base budget to cover unexpected costs that may arise.

  • Materials – 60% of costs
    This includes your cabinets, appliances, countertops, etc. Cabinets are typically the biggest expense, accounting for 50-75% of material costs in a typical project.
  • Labor – 20% of costs
    The average kitchen remodel assumes 180 hours of labor. Labor rates are variable by market and are typically lowest in Texas and South Central states and highest in the Northeast Corridor & California. You should expect labor expenses for installing new cabinets and appliances, tearing down or removing fixtures, and updating plumbing.
  • Project Management – 20% of costs
    You’ll likely want to hire a general contractor to oversee your project, source your labor, and manage all the moving pieces. This is especially important for larger projects where you are changing the size and layout of your kitchen. A big chunk of this expense goes to covering builders insurance in case anything happens on site during your renovation. 

    For smaller renos, you can cut costs by sourcing the labor yourself. However, you should note that you’ll need to file an “owner-builder” permit and be aware that you’re assuming the liability for the project.

Drivers of value

Value comes down to how your kitchen stacks up to comparable homes in your neighborhood. If nearby homes with renovated kitchens are selling for significantly more than those with outdated ones, then you can expect a  sharp increase in home value. There are a couple of features that we look at when evaluating comparable homes:

  • Size
    As with all things in real estate, square footage is a big factor in value. We compare the square footage of your future kitchen to the average size of kitchens of homes in your area. Bigger is not always better — value is dictated based on what is popular not based on extremes.
  • Age
    We compare the value of older homes with renovated kitchens to older homes with outdated kitchens to understand what impact a new kitchen has on value in your area. The newer the average kitchen is in your neighborhood, the more likely you are to see an increase in value after renovating.

Ready to get started?

Step 1: Look up Realm’s personalized ROI calculation for your kitchen renovation
Step 2: Review our 7 steps to kick off your kitchen renovation

Step 3: Get ideas on how to cut costs without sacrificing quality

Published by Realm

Get more out of your biggest asset: your home. Realm shows you what your home could be worth & how to access more of its potential value.

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