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Kitchen Remodeling Costs: How to Decide How Much to Spend

by Susanne Clemenz

Planning to sell your home? Kitchens are a home's most work-intensive room. Buyers want them to be modern and inviting. You may not regain every dollar spent on kitchen remodeling costs, but a good kitchen helps shorten sales time.

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Determining What to Spend on Kitchen Remodeling Costs

You can do kitchen remodeling on a budget. Prioritize in this order:

  1. Visual impact: If your 10- to 15-year-old kitchen is in good working order, remember that a buyer's first impression is a visual one. Get rid of clutter, including that "bulletin board" on your fridge, knickknacks and all but one plant on the window sill, and small appliances that fit in the pantry. Repaint walls a light-toned neutral color that coordinates with your floor, countertops, and appliances. Polish the cabinets and clean around door pulls. Update cabinet hardware and the sink faucet if needed. These visual improvements may be all that's necessary to optimize your kitchen.
  2. Wear: If there are permanent blemishes in the countertops, dings in the vinyl or tile flooring, stove burners or controls that don't work, sagging door hinges, or a broken dishwasher, remember that home inspectors test and report all these items. Tighten, repair or replace all worn items. If you bite the bullet for major appliances, the line "all new appliances" is an important selling point. Buy on sale, or save at retailers specializing in appliances with barely-visible surface blemishes. Repair plumbing as needed.
  3. Refacing: Old or cheap cabinets create a negative impression. Reface cabinets with new doors. Paint or laminate cabinet cases.

Now enjoy your spruced-up kitchen until you get that call saying, "You've got an offer!"

About the Author

Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and interacted with the contractors every day of the 6-month project. She started drawing floor plans and making models in the early '70s after purchasing several building lots. Recently she expanded and

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