Don’t be ashamed of the current condition of your kitchen, following a recent dinner date at your neighbor’s house.  Their kitchen may be beautiful and completely renovated, but, you too, can achieve the same look.  And, while Keeping Up With the Joneses, you are investing in the most fundamental room of your home.  While you may have a vision for your future kitchen, it is best to contact your local realtor first.  They will offer advice on what areas of your kitchen to focus on for the best return on your investment.

The most advisable approach to updating, remodeling, or completely renovating your kitchen, is to work with your realtor in seeking out a well-established contractor in your area.  The contractor you opt to hire, should have a background in both design, and construction.  They should not only be able to construct your vision, but should also be competent in offering advice and consultation, in regards to the design aspect.  By working with a local contractor, and a real estate professional, you can rest assured that you will not be over-improving.  They will recommend upgrading, focusing on trends that are typical for your area and neighborhood.  Together, your realtor and contractor will devise a strategy, concentrating on getting the best bang for your buck.

Upon meeting with the contractor you have chosen, you already have visualized the results of the renovation.  However, they will ask detailed questions, not only about your vision, but also about your expectations of remaining in the house.  They will also want to know the amount of money you wish to put into the project, and your reasoning behind wanting the job to be performed in the first place.  All of these questions are influential factors in the formation of the remodeling options the contractor will offer.  Once your options have been presented to you, consult with your realtor before making a final decision. 

Obviously, the reasoning behind your desire to remodel is key in establishing which decision is best, and most feasible, for your needs.  The return on your investment clearly changes if you anticipate putting your house on the market in the next couple of months, versus your plans of staying in the home for the next 20 years.  The money you anticipate putting into the design will also play a role in governing the completed project.  Again, your real estate professional will be your best asset in helping you to establish a sensible surety, to your kitchen’s remodel.

One way of procuring ideas of what is trending in your neighborhood, is to attend open houses that your realtor is holding.  This approach will help identify how your vision compares to what is hot in the market, or what is not.  While viewing other kitchens, focus on how they have been remodeled, and how they are arranged.  You will want to merge renovation, with functionality.  Be sure to speak with your real estate agent in regard to what you have seen, and liked.  They will be able to confirm, if indeed, this is representative of what your renovation, or remodel should entail.  Your local real estate agent is fully informed of, and knowledgeable in the current market values for your area.  They observe kitchens of all varieties, on a daily basis, and know which are selling, and for what reasons.  Heed their advice.

If you stick with a classic design without over-improving, and hire a reputable contractor, you cannot go wrong performing a kitchen remodel.  As your realtor will tell you, remodeling your kitchen is a great investment for your home.  Regardless of whether you are planning on spending a huge chunk of money, or just a small pittance, you will be able to makeover your kitchen, and bring it up to par.  Call your realtor today for kitchen remodel advice, and get the project started. Before you know it, not only have will you have kept up with the Joneses, but you have managed to surpass them.

Masha Halpern, Broker, CLHMS, GRI
Keller Williams Realty

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Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is also a member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price points. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting

Photos courtesy of Rfanelli (first photo), and Gnangarra (second photo) Wikimedia.