Double your kitchen reno investment with these industry insider tips
Getting that top dollar price for your property at sale time sometimes requires you to spend money to make it.
While most home upgrades will boost a property's value, you can't beat a kitchen renovation in terms of getting real bang for your buck when you sell. A thoughtfully renovated kitchen will capture a potential buyer's heart and head because you've done all the hard work for them.
However, not all kitchen renovations are equal. We spoke to expert carpenter and all round nice guy Scotty Clarkson, who is often selected as the chippy of choice for Nine's, The Block, to get his recipe for kitchens that more than pay for themselves.
Match your budget to the property
The first rule when remodelling a kitchen is to set a budget and stick to it, but how much should you spend?
Spend too little, and buyers may be concerned they'll need to undertake their own upgrades to bring the space up to scratch. Overcapitalising, on the other hand, will leave you with a kitchen that doesn't look like it belongs to the home, and might leave you in the red.
Experts say a good rule to follow is the 5-15 per cent principle. Using these guidelines, the lowest your kitchen renovation budget should be is five per cent of the total value of your property, and the most is 15 per cent. For example, if your home is valued at $500,000, your budget should be no less than $25,000 and no more than $75,000 to ensure you see a return on your investment.
"A kitchen reno is the one of the easiest ways to improve the value of your home or make more profit when selling your property. Kitchens can vary so much in price you could do a DIY job, but the best result in my experience is to get a cabinet maker in," says Scotty.
When it comes to financial returns, Scotty says it varies based on the house itself and the kind of kitchen reno you decide on.
"If you do a good job on a DIY kitchen with a spend of $10,000, it can potentially add $30,000-40,000. For custom-built kitchens with higher quality fixtures, you could spend $30,000, which could potentially add $50,000-60,000 to the re-sale price," says Scotty.
Practical beats pretty
It can be easy to get carried away thinking about stone benchtops, farmhouse sinks and European appliances when starting your reno, but according to Scotty, buyers will run a mile from a poor kitchen layout that feels cheap.
"Some people opt for flat packs to save money, but with modular kitchens, the finishes and choice of materials are more limiting and vary in quality," explains Scotty.
Working with a carpenter or builder can help you create a natural harmony in your kitchen that doesn't break the bank, and can look more expensive than it is. This harmony will always include the ‘golden' triangle, where the three main work areas (the sink, fridge and stove) flow seamlessly together.
Scott advises that the relationship with your tradies is really important to match your ideas with functionality, as they often know what will work well and what is just visual fluff.
"I've had many clients who use Pinterest to store all their ideas, then the tradies can work with them to achieve the look they are after," says Scotty. He also says it's important to work with the experts to get the best design outcome for your budget.
Keeping your costs in check
If your budget only allows for a refresh, a few simple changes, like painting or new doors and fronts, can make a huge difference to the look of your kitchen.
If you are going for a full renovation, taking the time to find the right tradies and a project manager will also be key to maximising your dollars.
"There are a lot of companies who specialise in kitchen renos, but my number one tip is to do your research," advises Scotty. "Make sure the builder and tradespeople are reputable. It's really useful to rely on family and friends for recommendations, and it will ensure you won't get caught out with a builder who is trying to rip you off."
From highlighting where you could do things yourself, to showing you multiple options in your price point, the right project partner will work with you to achieve your goals at a price you can manage.
Builders can also give you ideas on the most desired kitchen features among homebuyers, as well as tips on how to achieve the look you want in the most cost-effective way possible.
Choosing to do things yourself can also extend your budget. From painting to installing new handles on cabinetry, some simple fixes can be worthwhile to master yourself.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Resimac. The above is general commentary only and is not advice tailored to any individual's financial situation. We recommend seeking advice from an insurance or finance professional before implementing changes relating to your finances.