It is always a delight to host a party or gathering at my house. Everyone gathers in the kitchen!  It is really is, in my opinion, the heart and soul of our home. According to some of the best listing agents in Chapel Hill, the kitchen is also one of the critical areas that contributes—or detracts—from the value of a home.

 I cannot tell you how many times I have shown  a home to one of my buyer clients and had them walk away from a house because the kitchen had a bad floorplan or needed updating!

Frequently, I will counsel my seller clients to find ways to  enhance the design  and atmosphere of their home. A kitchen update is  always a good idea—it will pay dividends in terms of value, whether you are selling now, or in the next few years.

Be careful when planning your renovation though. There are lots of things to consider besides what type of countertop or appliance you prefer!

Many  kitchen experts will tell you, the best designs are based on the “work triangle”—that's the space among the prep , cooking,  and sink areas. Those same professionals agree that this area should be spacious!

Here are some other key tips to follow when planning your kitchen remodel:

1. Create a Budget. T
he average kitchen remodel costs between 10-20% of the home’s value. I would suggest a 10-15% cushion for  unexpected structural repairs. Avoid settling for a cheap option, thinking someday you will replace it with something you really want. Chances are that will never happen.

2. Determine Your Priorities.    Think Lifestyle.. Design your kitchen around this. Do you have a large family? Do you love to cook? Entertain? Factors like these will determine both layout and style.

3. Research.  Take advantage of the many resources available in your local community. I have TONS of magazine clippings in a folder I have called " Dream House". Every time I find something I like, I tear it out and put it in the folder. If it stays for a long time, its worth considering when you renovate!

I also watch TV remodeling programs,but you can go to your local Home Imrovement store too. Keep an eye open for those home shows at your State Fair grounds! or call me! I have a lot of contractor resources and would love to chat with you about any ideas you have!

4. Finding the BEST contractors. Get referrals from friends, neighbors and call me, the best listing agent in Chapel Hill  Interview Interview and Interview. If you cant chat with your contractor- dont use them. This is a very personal project and if the contractor has their own idea of "what's right" ( and its not a structural thing ) keep interviewing.

Dont forget the good contractors are usually scheduled early on so book them right away! They may not be the cheapest but you are investing in your family's lifestyle and the value of your home.Oh, and dont forget to have them come to your home so they can see your current kitchen and make recommendations.

5. Dont jump in to this! Changing your mind after the project is started cost YOU money...and maybe a lot! Make sure you have what you want before you start.

6. Get Everything in Writing. No doubt you’ve heard a horror story about a remodel nightmare. I have! When using a professional for a remodel, the written contract should list each phase of the project; every product, including the model number; and copies of each contractor’s license, and workers compensation and liability insurance to confirm they are current. Please dont forget to check these documents.

7. Don't forget to update your Insurance Policy!

I have had the pleasure of seeing many of my client's kitchens become beautiful places where memories begin.  Please feel free to email me with comments if you would like some more ideas for home renovations. Also be sure to send this email on to those who may be considering a kitchen remodel.