Wednesday, March 16

Budget 101

Lets face it, when you meet with a designer for the first time, you may not be comfortable discussing your budget. Your talking money with someone who has the ability to spend it all, and who may not get you the biggest bang for your buck.  I have had several consultations the last few months who not only have no idea what they should put into a kitchen remodel, but also "aren't comfortable saying" what their budget is.

PART ONE: Figuring out the budget. 
The average remodel in the US generally costs about 10% of the value of the home.  Now in California, a lower end kitchen for a rental or a flip may be closer to 5 or 7%, and a high end mansion kitchen could be closer to 15%.  For right now however, I am going to use the average.

Home Value:  $150,000  -  Kitchen Remodel (10%) = $15,000

Of that $15k value, you have your cabinets, flooring, counter tops, electrical, fixtures, and installation.  Typically, the cabinets are the biggest portion of that budget, on average 40% ($6000).  Next is your Counter tops, Appliances, and Electrical at 10% each ($1500).  Your wall coverings are 2% ($300) and your flooring is 8% ($1200).  The remaining 20% ($3000) is for the Installation.  Now obviously, if you want to do a portion of the installation yourself, then you can put that money into a nicer counter top, or some organizational accessories into your new cabinets.  Or maybe you love your cabinets and just want to do a kitchen "Face-Lift", then maybe deduct that $6000 from your budget all together.

PART TWO: Trusting your Designer
Your Designer is part of your team.  You should trust your designer.  When you don't disclose your budget, you are setting them up for failure.  How are they going to accurately plan and help you design the kitchen of your dream, when they don't have limitations.  Every home owner has their "Wish List" of items they really want to see in their new kitchen.  If the designer knows the budget up front, they can tell the customer that they may not get all of their wants, but also start working from day one on alternatives, and researching items that can be potentially purchased at a later date that can easily worked in to the kitchen a few years down the road.  Help your designer help you.  They are not out to spend all of your money, they are there to help you get the biggest bang for your buck.  Remember, the relationship between you and your designer is a team effort.  If you aren't comfortable sharing things like your budget with them, why are you trusting them to be a major player in one of the biggest projects a home owner can try to tackle in a life time.

After all, your designer wants to save you money.  Especially in this economy, your designer is hoping to get that bathroom remodel you are planning on, and to get the referral for your family, friends, and neighbors.