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Sometimes a kitchen can make it tough to cook a meal. The oven’s too small for big cookie sheets and you end up roasting the turkey on an outdoor grill. The gas range doesn’t have enough burners and you can’t find the pots and pans you need because they’re stuffed in a coat closet down the hall.

If you’ve gone through things like this, then it’s understandable why some homeowners are excited and happy about spending as much as $40,000 to $100,000 on a kitchen remodel. There’s actually some joy involved.

In 2016 the National Association of Realtors has teamed up with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) to create a “joy score” for remodeling projects, as reported recently in the magazine Qualified Remodeler. According to the report: A bathroom renovation (with an average cost of $26,000) measured 9.3 on a joy score of one to 10; a complete kitchen renovation ($60,000) measured 9.8 on a joy score. These results came from a phone survey of about 4,000 respondents who had completed remodeling projects.

According to another recent report, one from Remodeling Magazine, a remodel can also help pay for itself when you sell your house. The average payback nationwide now to homeowners on all kinds of remodeling put together was 66.1 percent of its cost (for 2019). But here’s the bad news: Costs of remodeling are rising, too; the average project went up 5.6 percent this year in price (2019).

So if you plan to renovate, remember:

  • Kitchen remodels vary based on cabinet choices, the number of new appliances, the cost of flooring and countertops (quartz, granite, marble or laminate), and whether walls must move or be demolished.
  • You might need to upgrade electrical panels or remove outmoded fixtures and doors. You might be dealing with dry rot, mold and termite damage.
  • Your location is also a variable. If you live in an area where homes are in demand, your return on investment may be greater.
  • Seek the best price possible on what you want without sacrificing the quality of your life during the renovation or the quality of the renovation during its lifespan.

And of course, you want to create something that will have a high “joy score” as well as a financial payback.

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