# Factor 7 Funding- Determine the maximum amount of money you could afford to spend.

If you are financing your project you can calculate what a lender will likely lend you. Lenders want to see a debt to income ratio(DTI) of.36 or less. Your DTI is established by taking all your monthly debt obligations (credit card payments, auto loans, mortgage, etc.) and dividing by your monthly income. To determine your maximum safe monthly debt multiply.36 times your monthly income. Now subtract your existing monthly debt from this number and you have a monthly budget maximum. Here’s a link to a calculator that will do the math for you: mortgage calculator

The key to determining your budget is finding the Kitchen Remodeling San Jose percentage of your home’s value you should use as a budget guideline. While researching this article I ran across recommendations to use percentages ranging from 10% to 25% of home value. For a kitchen remodel of any substance that includes new flooring, appliances, cabinets, sink/faucet, lighting and bringing electric up to code I find anything less than 15% to be a very dubious number. I suppose on a million dollar house 10% would be a workable budget, but on a 200k house a 20k budget is marginal at best for a full blown kitchen remodel.

If resale value is important to you it is wise to keept the cost of your kitchen renovation project within 20% of the current value of your home. Staying within this range insures that a majority of the new kitchen’s cost is recouped in increased home value immediately, and the remaining cost should be recouped within 5 years as your home appreciates.

Ok, let’s run through an example. Keep in mind, there is no exact formula here. We are simply doing our best to be as informed as possible and make a wise decision about how much to spend on our kitchen remodel.

For our example let’s use my house. It’s a 50’s cape cod with a modest square footage of 1500.

Factor 1 value: Zillow gives me an estimated value of \$167,500, however, I notice zillow hasn’t yet updated and accounted for the single family homes which were recently built in the field behind us with a starting price of \$270k. Zillow also has our square footage listed at under 1200. Looks like the previous owner did a little remodeling without a permit. I’m going to base my budget on a price of 180k which is similar to other houses in the neighborhood that are the same size.

Factor 2 Goals: My wife and I love to entertain guests. To make a kitchen remodel worthwhile for us we need to lose an interior wall to open up the kitchen and dining nook to the living room. I’m going to add 1% to budget for this.

Factor 3 Must Haves: As a former chef two must haves for me are a new oven and a really nice propane range(no natural gas service here), preferably a commercial range modified for home use (real commercial ranges don’t have insulation around the oven, critical for home safety). I’m going to add another 1% to my budget to make sure there is enough money to get me my range and propane installation.

Factor 4 Longevity: We plan to stay in our house a minimum of 4 years. As a rule of thumb it takes 5 years for most remodeling to appreciate and recoup all of its cost. Since we will likely be here at least 5 years I’m not going to penalize the budget, but since there is a good chance we’ll move right around 5 years I’m not going to increase it like I would if we were staying much longer.

Factor 5 Size of Kitchen: Our kitchen is about 140SquareFeet(SF). That’s over 9% of the SF of the house, 2% above average. Obviously this kitchen is going to require some extra material and cabinets. I’m going to up the budget 1% for this, I hope it’s enough.

Factor 6 Layout: We are going to change the layout of our kitchen pretty extensively. We currently have a cooktop peninsula. The range is going to go on a differnet wall and the dishwasher will move to the peninsula, though we might ditch the peninsula, move the fridge and add an island instead. About the only thing that won’t move is the sink. I’m going to add another 1% to my budget, again hoping \$1800 (1% of our 180k value) is enough to cover the electrical and plumbing changes.

For my base I’m going to use 20%. As I mentioned before, there are going to be people who will argue with me on that, but going lower often doesn’t leave you with workable budget numbers for full blown kitchen remodels. I’m adding 4% based on my factors listed above. I adjusted my zillow.com estimated home value to 180k based on the comparable square footage and value of other homes around me. This gives me a working budget of 24% x 180k= \$43,200 When I compare this to the Cost Vs. Value report I see that in the Middle Atlantic Region a Major Kitchen Renovation is \$59, 098. It looks like my budget could be bit low, especially since I really would like granite countertops and the Cost Vs. Value specs call for laminate tops. On the other hand my kitchen is significantly smaller than their 200SF benchmark, so I think I’ll go with my budget number and see what my contractor can do for me in that budget.