Money-saving tips for cost-conscious homeowners
Published February 12, 2016 – 9:40am
Last Updated February 12, 2016 – 9:58am
It makes sense because the kitchen is a focal point of the home, and a modern kitchen can add tremendous value to your home. Wilson offers the following dos and don’ts to guide you through a kitchen makeover:
Avoid remodelling your kitchen for a prospective buyer, because you may not get back 100 per cent of what you spend. “Typical payback is 50 to 80 per cent, with the less personal, mass-market renovations (example: neutral colours/white cabinets) receiving the most payback,” said Wilson.
Create a list of “absolutes” before you walk into a kitchen design meeting. If unsure beforehand what you want to buy, you are likely to be pressured into buying unneeded items. Before you walk onto a sales floor, think about colours and styles you’d like, advises Wilson.
Read design magazines and tear out photos in advance or a sales rep may convince you that there is a certain bestseller that is a higher-priced choice. “It could be the model the salesperson is trying to unload or he or she is getting a ‘special promotion’ from the manufacturer,” Wilson said.
Don’t design your kitchen based upon someone else’s priorities or tastes. It’s easy to be seduced by model kitchens, whether seen on a DIY TV show or a gorgeous state-of-the-art kitchen in a magazine or DIY website. Tack on time-sensitive promotional offers by a salesperson that’s so convincing that by the time he’s finished, you’re considering buying everything he recommended, whether you need it or not. The hard part is seeing beyond the hype so that you’re thinking clearly, and asking yourself, “Do I actually need all this stuff?” “If you cook frequently and have a busy kitchen full of people, then avoid countertop materials that scratch and stain easily or that need regular maintenance,” said Wilson.
Conversely, if you occasionally or never cook, why would you buy a high-tech restaurant-quality stove? Because it looks cool or feel you’ll be motivated to cook? If you’re happier eating no-fuss, no-bother take-out meals, why change? Because a marketing professional has come up with five power-packed reasons why it makes sense?
Avoid buying a “faux-pro” model or professional series because most mainstream appliances (ranges/refrigerators) perform just as well, said Wislon. The author is on the money. If you want proof, find the Consumer Reports issue that rates refrigerators. There are refrigerators that offer a raft of labour-saving gadgets. They make ice cubes around the clock, deliver fresh water, and offer special temperature controls for different types of food. Most cost more than traditional all-purpose refrigerators. Many sub-zeros consume more electricity, and many of the neat gadgets break or require replacement parts that aren’t cheap. And lastly, why does a couple or a small family of three or four people need a huge refrigerator? From what I’ve observed, the more gadgets a machine has, the more likely they are to malfunction.
Don’t be so quick to buy extended warranties. A great deal has been written about the pros and cons of extended warranties on appliances. I urge you to do your homework. Several years ago CBS did an investigative piece about extended warranties, “Are extended warranties worth the money?” Here is a fragment of the story: “According to industry experts, the profit margins on these are often 50 per cent.” Consumer Reports said that, “when the cost of an extended warranty exceeds 20 per cent of the item’s purchase price, it’s often not a good deal for the consumer because the cost of the warranty is not likely to be less than the cost of a typical repair.”