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How much does a kitchen remodel cost?

Kitchendollar_2I'd like to respond to the question above — which I've been asked a lot over the years — with a question of my own:

How much does a car cost? I just bought a car so I just happen to know: Cars cost $19,958.01.

Oh, wait. That's the cost of my 2007 VW Rabbit with fancy wheels, 6-speed automatic, sunroof and satellite radio. You want something different? Hmm. Well, let's figure out what you want and we'll come up with a price.

That last statement is what you'll hear from a contractor. All kitchen remodels are different, and each must be calculated individually.

But I come bearing help. I've discovered a super cool Remodeling Budget Estimator on the HGTV website to give you some ballpark figures for your own unique project.

You choose the type remodel you are considering — such as a bathroom or kitchen or whatever — and then answer a series of questions. For a kitchen, for instance: How big is the room? Galley or island? Tear out old cabinets or leave in place? You do the demolition or someone else? What kind of flooring? What level of cabinet quality? What kind of countertops? How many outlets? Can lights? And so on. You also plug in your zip code.

Then, you hit the “calculate” button and get an approximate cost. You cannot expect an contractor to meet this price, of course. There may be access issues, permitting issues, material shortages, custom materials you want, etc. But you can find out, for instance, that if you move the toilet in a bathroom remodel, rather than leaving it where it is, that will raise your cost about $1,100. That’s good to know.

To test things out, I plugged in data for my own kitchen remodel, choosing pretty standard stuff, and going a little upscale with hardwood floors and granite counters. The total estimate for my kitchen was about $48,000, which is pretty consistent with what I’ve seen after visiting more than 500 remodels.

Try it and tell me: What do you think of this estimator?

See more money matters • • See more kitchens

(Photo: Michael Antenora, architect; illustration: KPR)

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