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Kitchens & Baths

Welcome back! This month we'll be covering the return on investment (ROI) of your kitchens and baths.

Remodeling your home is about more than just making it suit your family; it is an investment, and nowhere is that more evident than in a kitchen or bath remodel. So, what is Return on Investment? For our purposes, it refers to the change in your home's value based on improvements made. Return on Investment—or ROI—should always be a major consideration when it comes to remodeling. What you put in affects not only your quality of life but also the home's future resale value.

How do you determine what will bring you the greatest returns?

That often comes down to the materials you use in your remodel. Not all products are made the same. You could purchase the same faucet from two different shops, and they might look identical, but they won't be. Purchasing from big box stores often means getting an inferior product because the internal mechanisms are often of lesser quality. That's one way they can keep their costs down. The faucet may have the same shape and finish as what we show you in a boutique plumbing supply house, but they are very different. That's why the price range is so vast; the cheaper ones won't last as long.

In the industry, we often qualify products as "Good", "Better", and "Best". This isn't based on price but quality. There are high-priced products that aren't made well, and there are moderately-priced products that will out-live us all. So, how do you choose?


This is the most basic option. "Good" products serve a purpose. If we were looking at quartz countertops—which are very popular right now—the way the quartz pieces are bound together will determine the product's overall quality. "Good" products won't have many options, like a wide variety of colors or edge detail options. What you see is what you get.

The country of origin can have a lot to do with quality. Binders used in Isreal are very different from those in Europe or China. They are often formulated for specific environments and will respond differently in your home. Sometimes, it isn't that they are putting out inferior goods, so much as they are designed for a very different climate. But, the type of binder they use does matter. Inexpensive ones react poorly to extended time in sunlight. The UV rays will cause discoloration and flaking, which is not something you want to see in your kitchen. Does this mean that you shouldn't buy "Good" counters? Not necessarily. You just have to know the downsides and plan accordingly. For instance, that countertop might be perfect for your bathroom, as they often get little natural light but won't work on the wet bar in your family room because it gets too much there.


"Better" products are made of quality materials but aren't overly expensive. While few "Good" counters will have a warranty, "Better" quartz counters always will. The companies are confident enough in their product to guarantee it will hold up to everyday wear-and-tear. You will also have more choices in edge styles and colors. Where "Good" products typically have 6-8 color choices, "Better" products tend to have around 40-50. Most importantly, you will have a better binder, making it last longer. Discoloration and flaking shouldn't be a problem until well after the warranty expires. The difference for a standard kitchen will add approximately $1000 to $1500, depending on the manufacturer.


Now that we've covered "Good' and "Better", you must be wondering what type of counter constitutes "Best". At this moment, the top-rated quartz countertop in the world is Cambria. They have the only binder that doesn't deteriorate. It won't change colors in 10 or 15 years, no matter how much sun it gets, and will basically last a lifetime. Most Cambria counters are changed out because the next generation of homeowners come in and are tired of your color choices. And, as far as color choices go, there are a lot more. Not only are there more options, but the counters will also look more natural. You can have the look of marble without having to get it treated regularly or worry that you'll spill wine on it. "Best" quartz counters run about $1000 more than the "Better" counters, depending on the color chosen.

Back to ROI. How does this affect my home's value?

Kitchens and baths are a major component in deciding a home's resale value. Both areas need functionality and comfort, as well as beauty. This is not to say that these are the only two components that matter for resale value. Other items are important as well, like roofing, but the roof doesn't usually sell houses. To give you an idea, the average ROI on a kitchen is about 60%. So, putting the best of everything in your house is going to make your house more valuable, right? Well, sort of. Your neighborhood determines much of your home's value and will be a major deciding factor in the quality of products you use. If the average home in your neighborhood is $450,000 and your home is less than that, you're going to want to stay in the "Good" category with your remodel. If it is greater, you want to go with "Better". If it is your forever home, you will probably want the "Best" because you don't plan on changing it again.

Now, this doesn't mean you can't mix and match. Saving money in one area can mean getting something better in another. We used to design flip houses and would have the contractor put in "Good" granite but use a "Better" faucet and sink. The rest of the kitchen could be in the "Good" category, but just those pieces would raise the value in the buyer's eye when combined with the right colors and backsplash.

So always think about how long you are going to be in your home, what the value range you are in, and let a professional guide you to the right mixture of the "Good", "Better", "Best" for your BEST ROI~


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