Archive for November, 2021

Can You Create A Stress-Free Kitchen Update On A Budget?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Man working on a kitchen update on a budget.

Many Brooklyn homeowners consider making a kitchen update on a budget. Thinking through the entire process before you begin the work can help create a stress-free experience for you.

The first step is to develop your budget and stick to it. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How much do I want to spend?
  2. How long do I plan on staying in this home?
  3. What finishes are typical for this neighborhood?

These are essential questions to consider when you are working through your planning process. Don’t spend more than you can afford. The time you plan to live in this home will help you determine how much to spend and what types of finishes you want. If you are only staying in the house for a couple of years, you do not want to over-improve the kitchen by adding finishes that are not typical for the neighborhood. You may not get a return if the finishes are too upscale, or you may take longer to sell if they are lower than typical.

You will find that it is easy to go over budget when you remodel a kitchen. Thorough planning and budgeting will help you avoid the stress of overspending. It is a good idea to budget for any contingencies. Unforeseen expenses often occur.

Next, you will want to gather ideas.

You can gather some incredible ideas through internet searches, Pinterest, and visiting local building supply stores. Estimate the cost of each element you are considering. See if there are less expensive alternatives that will give you the same look. In a budget breakdown, HGTV suggests the percentage of your budget you should spend on:

  • Cabinets – 35%
  • Labor – 20%
  • Appliances – 20%
  • Windows – 10%
  • Fixtures – 5%
  • Fittings – 3%
  • Other – 7%

Keep these guidelines in mind as you make decisions on the design and materials of your kitchen update on a budget.

Before you set everything in motion, consider these points.

DIY or Contractor

With the popularity of home improvement shows, it may be tempting to do it yourself. However, if you are not skilled, you should budget for a professional contractor. Finding a reliable contractor requires some research. The best place to start is with family and friends who may have previously finished a kitchen update. Check references, and try to visit a job they recently completed. If the contractor has a good reputation, you may need to wait to get on their calendar. However, it is often a worthwhile wait.

Space and Layout

If your budget is tight, you may not be able to add additional space to your kitchen or change the layout. Adding space to a kitchen may require tearing down a wall which can be costly. If the change in layout requires relocating plumbing or electrical, you will need to account for extra in your budget.


When you want to start the project may be determined by when you need the project complete. If you want it finished by a particular date, you will need to work backward to calculate the best time to start the project. If you plan on hosting any significant events at your home, proper planning can eliminate the stress of meeting deadlines.


Proper ventilation in a kitchen serves several purposes. First and foremost is your comfort. A ventilation system will keep your kitchen from getting too hot. It will also help you to eliminate cooking odors that permeate the home. Ventilation helps keep your smoke detectors from being set off by smoke and steam. Pay careful attention to how you can achieve good ventilation in your kitchen using an exhaust fan such as a hood.

Temporary Kitchen

While your kitchen is under construction, you may need to set up a temporary kitchen to prepare quick meals and snacks. Your time estimate may determine how extensive a setup you need. Going out to eat or getting take out for a few days may not be a problem, but you may want to be able to cook some simple meals as your timeframe extends. 

When you plan a kitchen update on a budget, you want to be sure to incorporate ideas that will help your home sell.

If you are not planning on moving right away, you can enjoy selections that may not necessarily appeal to a broad range of homebuyers. However, if you think there is even a remote possibility of moving within 2 – 3 years, I would recommend selections with a broad range of popularity. Check out other homes in your neighborhood that have recently sold, and take a good look at the kitchens. What sorts of finishes seem to be ordinary?

Some simple ideas that are appealing to a broad range of people are:

Kitchen Island

It may be a wise investment if you have the space for an island, especially with seating. The additional counter space is appealing, along with the extra seating. In addition, the ability to have family or guests sit in the kitchen while you are preparing meals keeps you involved in the interactions and creates some great memories.

Open Shelving

The use of open shelving is helpful to create a sense of space in a kitchen. As a result, this modern touch has become popular.

Pull Out Shelves

Cabinets and pantries that have pull-out shelves are appealing because it creates more efficient use of the space. It is also convenient to pull out the shelf to locate what you need, especially deep and lower cabinets. Corner cabinets with shelves that open out also make great use of that lost corner space.


The use of different types of lighting can make an immense difference in the feel of the kitchen. Overhead, recessed, chandelier, task, and under-cabinet options illuminate an area differently and have specific purposes. Planning for a good mix of lighting will help make food preparation and eating meals more pleasurable.


Like lighting, there are so many options for kitchen faucets. The price ranges vary drastically. Think of the function of your kitchen and your needs. You may not need a touchless faucet, but having a sprayer may be a necessity.

Coffee bar

Many people enjoy having a designated coffee or beverage bar in their kitchen—a space to house all the equipment and supplies you will need to prepare your favorite drink. Depending on your kitchen, a separate sink may also be an added touch you want to consider.


You may not have the budget for top-of-the-line appliances, but updating with the best in your budget is a good idea. A home buyer would be concerned that older appliances will break or waste too much energy. Shop around to find the best deal within your budget.


A fresh coat of paint does wonders. But, again, if you are considering selling shortly, avoid bold or specific color palates with limited appeal. Neutral tones appeal to a wide range of people. 


If your floors are damaged or dated material, you should consider an update. If you have a tile floor, simply regrouting can make the floor look fresh. There are many affordable options in flooring. Research to find the best solution for your lifestyle and budget.


Your budget will determine whether you can replace the old cabinets with new ones. If you do not have a budget for new cabinets and your current cabinets need repairing, you can consider painting, stripping, and refinishing the wood or refacing. Using bright white paint can hide outdated cabinets and create a more modern feel. But, again, the solution for you will depend on your budget.

Average estimates for kitchen remodels include:

Low = $5,000 to $15,000

Medium = $15,000 to $30,000

High = $30,000 or more

With good planning and smart shopping, you can accomplish a stress-free kitchen update on a budget.

Caution – be careful not to over-improve for your neighborhood. For more tips, you can read my previous blog post.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I know what types of updates work to help sell a home quickly. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro

What Makes You Grateful For Your Brooklyn Home?

Monday, November 15th, 2021

Grateful for Your Brooklyn Home

Your Brooklyn home may not be the picture on your vision board, but what makes you grateful for your current home? Whether you own your home or rent, there is a reason or two to be thankful.

According to the Oxford Languages dictionary, the definition of GRATITUDE is; “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, our thoughts turn to gratitude and giving thanks. Even if your current home is not your dream home, there are reasons to express gratitude for your Brooklyn home.

Think about what your home provides for you. If coming up with a list of reasons to be thankful for your Brooklyn home is difficult, think about what drew you to your home in the first place. Also, what do visitors say about your home?

There is always a reason to be grateful, and it is a good practice to appreciate what we have all year, not just during Thanksgiving. 

What are some ways you are grateful for your Brooklyn home? Here are some prompts to get you started.

A place to call home. 

Our homes have always been our refuge, never more than during the pandemic. A home provides the space to relax, entertain, sleep, and fuel ourselves. But, a home is more than an address. Home is a feeling, not a structure. Whether you own or rent, there is no place like home.

The location of your home.

The location of our homes is one of the top criteria people consider when buying or renting. It may be near your work, family, friends, or the things outside your home that you love to do. What drew you to your location? Why was that important to you?

The people and pets that share your home.

Your housemates may be other humans or a beloved pet. They are an integral part of your household. Whether they care for you, you care for them, or you simply co-exist, the fact you have these people or pets in your life provides you with a level of belonging, love, and joy. Of course, there are probably trying days but focus on the days with your housemates that put a smile on your face.

The sense of safety you experience.

A home not only shelters you from the weather elements but also provides you with protection from violence and mental stress. Brooklyn weather can be brutal at times. Having a home to protect you from the wind, rain, snow, and cold is undoubtedly a reason to be thankful. A home is a place where we can feel secure from the nefarious activities found out on the streets. It is also a place to keep and secure our belongings. There is so much peace of mind we experience knowing we have a place we belong. Although we need to take precautions to keep our homes safe, we can experience that peace of mind with the proper safeguards. For more information on protecting your home, read this article.

The functionality of your home.

Again, the place you occupy may not be the dream home, but it is functional. You have the spaces that allow you to attend to your needs. You may love the layout of your Brooklyn home that provides you the ability to move freely throughout. Having the flexibility to use a space for dual purposes, such as a guest bedroom as a home office when you don’t have guests, provides additional functionality. Windows that provide you with natural light and hopefully a pleasant view and storage options to store your favorite things but keep them accessible are other benefits of function.

The mechanicals of your home.

The hidden heroes of your Brooklyn home are the mechanical elements. Your plumbing, electrical, and heating & cooling systems are essential to the comfort you have at home. These systems can be costly to repair, which makes preventative maintenance a good investment. We sometimes take these systems for granted, but they are a significant reason for being thankful for your home.

The kitchen in your home.

Whether you have a large or small kitchen, you can keep and prepare foods that nourish your body and keep you healthy. A kitchen is often the heart of the home, where everyone seems to congregate. Not only are fantastic meals created here, but memories with your loved ones.

The bathroom in your home.

We are far from the days when indoor plumbing was considered a luxury. But, really think what it might be like without it. Indoor plumbing is a reason to be thankful whether you have a spa-like bathroom or simply a functional one to care for your needs. If you have more than one bathroom within your home, I am sure there are moments you express gratitude for that!

The improvements you have made.

Making your home your own is a common desire. If you are renting, you can add your style through furnishings and paint. You will need to follow your landlord’s rules, but you can still make your space your own. As a homeowner, it is sometimes frustrating to go through the home improvement process. However, when the project is complete, the value you added is far more than the frustration experienced through the process. Be careful when improving your home. This previous blog post discusses the possibilities of over-improving your home.  Be grateful for the improvements you have made, which probably added value to your home, and enjoy!

Your furnishings you have collected.

The furniture, artwork, and accessories that fill your home are a reason to be thankful. These carefully chosen items not only provide function but express your personality. For example, the sofa in your living room is a place to sit and reflects your style. So profess your thanks for what you have, whether you have everything you want or saving for your next purchase.

Outdoor spaces to enjoy.

Living in an urban setting, having outdoor spaces is often a cause for gratitude. Although there is a lot of maintenance in a yard, having that space to enjoy the outdoors is truly something to appreciate. You may not live in a home with a yard, but a patio or balcony can also be a respite when you just want to be outdoors. Living in a walkable community, having a park nearby, or having a neighbor who enjoys conversation over the fence can be sources of joy in your outdoor spaces.

Affordability of your home.

Living in a home, you can afford is one of the greatest blessings. Living within your means allows you the freedom to do other things you enjoy and still have all the comforts of home. In simple terms, affordability means subtracting your rent or mortgage payment from your monthly income and still having money for other financial obligations. Remember to include savings in those financial obligations.

Part of gratitude is returning kindness. The way to return kindness to your home is through regular maintenance and care. 

The regular practice of expressing gratitude will bring you joy and appreciation. It not only affects your personal life but can help you stay on track in your business life as well. I hope you consider adding a gratitude practice to your daily routine if you don’t already. This article from can get you started. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know how grateful I am for you. My family, friends, clients, readers, and colleagues are on my gratitude list regularly.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can help you with your real estate needs. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro