Do you want more room or one more room? If your family is ready for more kitchen space, consider moving. However, if your home is in your heart (and the location is unbeatable or your finances aren’t ready), consider budgeting for a renovation.
- Initial Price. Fixer upper homes are often less expensive than new construction homes and below the potential market value. If you can’t afford a new kitchen, but you’re ready to move, this is a great alternative that still provides the coziness and comfortability of your own home.
- Finances. Property taxes can be less initially if you buy a fixer-upper instead of a new home. According to American Financial Resources, Inc. as reported by Improvenet, “Some fixer uppers...allow...owners to claim an investment tax credit for qualified rehabilitation costs. This typically applies to historic homes that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”
Be prepared, however, for a possible tax increase when reassessment time rolls around and your improvements are assessed.
- Customization. Like the whole home, the kitchen is a blank canvas. You have the freedom to design every room how you’ve always envisioned it because fixer uppers tailor to your taste, which is an underrated advantage of this option.
You can also create more room with fixer uppers, whether you go up or out with the kitchen. Check the foundation and local zoning codes before making these plans.
- Effort & Money. Renovated homes require more effort, money, and time than move-in ready homes. You have to come up with a conceptual idea, research and contact local contractors for estimates, and purchase the required building permits.
If you're expanding the square footage of the home, you may also have to pay impact fees that can add thousands of dollars to your renovation project.
If you choose to get your hands dirty through the do-it-yourself route, you have to research step-by-step guides, and then purchase the correct tools and accessories. In the long term, the remodeling process could outweigh the savings in terms of total cost.
- Time. The remodeling process can take months, meaning you’ll also have to find other living arrangements until the project is done. This can be especially difficult for those who rent without flexible leases.
- Unpreparedness. With every renovation, surprises will occur. You can never be sure of exactly what’s behind freestanding walls or if the kitchen plumbing or electrical work is in working condition. Many mid-century and older homes often used environmentally unfriendly materials, too. Uncovering lead paint or asbestos can throw a wrench into the project, as well as treating the home for mold, radon, or termites.
New Construction Kitchen
Transition. It’s an easy transition to move from one home or a rented apartment/condominium into a new construction home. No painting, demolition, or removing kitchen sinks or refrigerators is required.
- Finances. A loan for a new home is much easier to obtain than financing for a home plus its renovation budget. While it still depends on your credit score, financial history, down payment, and income, the odds are in your favor.
- Upgrades. New kitchens (and new construction homes, in general) offer the latest and greatest design elements and eco-friendly building initiatives. To keep up with the majority of lifestyle changes, many new homes offer open floor plans, programmable thermostats, voice-activated appliances, walk-in closets and pantries, hardwood flooring, and more.
Initial Price. It can be more expensive to move into a new home with a gorgeous country kitchen than to renovate one.
- Details. The charm and architectural details of older homes don’t typically exist in new homes. If you prefer traditional design to contemporary, you should consider finding a fixer upper or asking the home builder for options that closely relate to this element.
- Customization. While you have updated technology and design choices, the home builder often has a portfolio of options for you to choose from with little wiggle room. Customization is still an option (and you can personalize everything after move in), but you might not be able to install farmhouse doors or a brick oven for pizza for a while.
A renovated kitchen requires flexibility and patience in homeowner personality and budget, but it offers a great deal of freedom in design choices and old-home charm. However, a new kitchen automatically gives you the latest and greatest technology and modern customization. Prepare to shell out a little more, though.