“Home is the most popular, and will be the most enduring of all earthly establishments.” — Channing Pollock

Wolf RangeJeanine and I have lived in our current home for almost two years. When we first moved in we did what we called Phase 1 of the renovations. Now, we’re considering using our tax refunds to begin Phase 2: the much-needed and truly-wanted kitchen remodel. But there are many things for us to consider when it comes to cost vs. value of the project.

Diane Wedner at the Los Angeles Times recently wrote an article called: Remodel May Not Bring Payoff. She writes, “Are you sure your $50,000 kitchen remodel will reap $50,000 when the house sells? And are you certain of big returns on that new master bath?”

“Although the price tag for installing granite countertops and steam showers has steadily risen, the resale value of those home improvements has decreased, according to agents and remodelers who participated in Remodeling magazine’s 2006 ‘Cost vs. Value Report.’ The study compared construction costs with resale values for 25 common remodeling projects in 60 U.S. cities.”

“Kitchen and bathroom remodels still gave homeowners the most bang for their buck when they sold their homes, but they garnered far less than in 2005. The return on a $54,241 mid-range kitchen remodel in 2006 was $43,603, or 80.4%, a big drop from the 91% return on a $43,862 remodel in 2005. The average bathroom remodel in 2006 was $12,918 and recouped 85% of its cost, compared with a 102.2% return on last year’s $10,499 average remodel.”

Tim Townsend at The Wall Street Journal Online writes, “A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors showed that remodeling your kitchen or bathrooms was one of the best ways to add value to your house.”

But he cautions, “The biggest error people make is to put in improvements that are very customized to their own wants and needs. A good rule of thumb: Don’t leave too much of your own lifestyle in the house.”

Hmmm, so is the Wolf range with its chunky red knobs considered too much of our own wants and needs? Perhaps, especially when KitchenAid has a look-a-like version for thousands less.

RemodelorMove.com suggests that, “The decisions you make on how a remodel project is managed, who will do the work, the design of the changes and the price of the materials and fixtures you choose will have a significant effect on the cost of your remodel.”

There are several ways to get an estimate for the cost of a remodel project (click here to read in full):
– Cost per square foot
– Estimate from a contractor or an architect

Also you might want to consider if it would just be better to move into a home that already has the dream kitchen instead of staying where you’re at and remodeling. They offer a free calculator that Compares Remodeling Costs with Moving Costs so you can make a decision based on the hard numbers.

Here are a few other tips from Kathy McCleary at HGTV.com:

“If you’re thinking about sinking some money into home improvement projects this year, keep a few things in mind. What you’ll get back on your investment depends on the value of your house, the value of houses in your immediate neighborhood, the housing market where you live, how soon you sell after making improvements, and the quality of the project itself.”

“Installing a $10,000 stove in a $200,000 house, for example, ‘just doesn’t compute,’ says Ron Phipps. Nor does it make sense to update your kitchen if your house is the only house in the neighborhood with just one bathroom.”

“So exactly what should you improve when you redo your kitchen? Think traditional: all-wood cabinets, commercial-look appliances, natural wood or stone floors, and stone countertops.”

I’ll let you know how it goes. We’re getting quotes now!