Hidden Costs to Look Out for When Renovating a Kitchen

Of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen is often the first one that people look to for a renovation. That’s with good reason; as the place where the cooking happens, and yet the place where hygiene is also the most important of all, the kitchen tends to experience more wear-and-tear than most other rooms in the house.

The average cost of a kitchen renovation ranges from around $20,000 to $33,000 (in expensive cities like Sydney). If you are planning your own kitchen renovation, and the price that you come up with is less than that, then there’s every chance that there are some hidden costs to check for.

Some of the common “hidden costs” with kitchen renovations

One of the most common costs with a kitchen renovation that can sting the unwary is the cost of a designer. For even the smallest of costs, $10,000 or so renovation, the designer themselves will cost as much as 15 percent, or $1,500. The total percentage drops as the overall project become more expensive, but it’s always significant; a $76,000 project will attract a 10 percent fee, while a $127,000 project can expect to have an 8 percent fee tagged on for the designer.

Relocation costs and increased food costs are other common expenses when going through a kitchen renovation. You can find a great resource for a complete family budget planner here. Depending on how expansive the renovation is, you may need to spend some time in a hotel or Airbnb property. If those spaces don’t have adequate kitchens of their own – or if you’re able to stay at home, but can’t use the kitchen, then the cost of restaurant meals or takeout can blow out the cost of the family food budget.

kitchen renovation costs

Obtaining council approval

Another surprise cost that might come your way with your planned renovation is in obtaining council approval and certification. Furthermore, if you live in an apartment complex, you’ll almost certainly need body corporate permission before undertaking any major work. What this might cost you can vary from council to council, but it’s often a cost that’s left out of mind until it becomes relevant (if the planned renovation involves a structural change of an order, you need council approval for it).

Do you need a structural engineer? 

Speaking of the building structure, any changes to your building to facilitate a kitchen renovation might require you to bring on a structural engineer to take a look at the place, and how to execute on the design document safely. Note: you can’t assume that your builder or renovation crew will have a structural engineer, nor that they’ll be able to make this determination in lieu of a structural engineer. Builders are there to execute on plans, and while structural advice might be a value-add, you should check with them on their qualifications in this space before leaving it to them.

Once the project is ready to go, you’ll likely also need to pay for site works pre-renovation (for example, hiring tractors to bring materials in, potentially the removal of trees to gain access (which would require council approval and the hiring of licensed tree fellers), and the need to construct retaining walls or fences. You may also need to provide temporary toilets for construction workers if your bathroom is not accessible through the project. The construction process may well require repairs work done with the electrical wiring or plumbing, too, and those repairs can rarely be anticipated prior to work commencing.

kitchen renovation

Make sure to consider the taxman!

Finally, it’s important to consider whether the taxman is going to come after you for your renovations. Obviously this won’t matter if you’re renovating your own home, but if you use it to renovate a second property or increase the value of your family home because you’re selling up and moving out, then you’ll need to consider whether the renovations count as Capital Gains Tax, revenue (and therefore GST), and so on.

How to handle kitchen renovation hidden costs

Start with a home budget. Why? Financing the kitchen renovation is an expensive proposition – people don’t tend to have $10,000 at a minimum saved up. One common option is to take out a “home equity loan” on your house. What this means is that your bank will provide you with credit up to the value of your home, minus what you still owe of it. The advantage of doing this is, unless your house is really new (and therefore you haven’t paid off much of the mortgage), you can access a substantial pool of money as you need it.

If you are looking to pay for the renovations out of pocket, it’s important that you plan out absolutely everything ahead of time, and be as detailed as possible. Then, assume that you’re going to need additional money to cover issues that arise as the renovation occurs – having a pool of 20 percent of the total renovation cost at minimum is important for those emergencies.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a better way to renovate your kitchen give Aireno a try. Click the link for a free, instant and fixed kitchen renovation quote.

Sean Di lorenzo on January 12 2023