Reface Or Replace: Sprucing Up Your Rental Unit With New Cabinets

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Cabinets are a kitchen’s most important feature. As the first thing that people notice, they get a lot of attention and can seriously impact the overall aesthetic of the room. They are also, unfortunately, quite expensive; in a kitchen remodel, cabinets alone account for between 40% to 50% of the total costs. However, this means that updating them can also bring a large return on investment, especially if you’re a landlord or own a rental unit. In fact, even a minor kitchen remodel has an average return on investment of 82.7%. Since one of the trickiest decisions to make is whether to simply reface your original cabinets or rip them out and start fresh, we’re going to explain the nuances of both choices.


There’s no doubt about it: replacing your kitchen cabinets entirely is not cheap. Prices start around $4,000 to $5,000 for stock options, but can soar all the way up to $20,000 if you’re installing custom-made cabinetry. When you add in the extra cost of hardware (pulls, knobs, hinges), that number continues to rise.

That being said, there are some circumstances in which you’d want to simply start fresh — and new. If your current cabinets aren’t practical for the room, it can dissuade tenants from renting; examples include awkward doors, shallow depths, and bizarre layouts. Additionally, if your cabinetry is severely damaged, a basic refacing isn’t going to fix anything. Really take a look at your current situation before settling on a plan of action.


Itt’s no surprise that both rental owners and homeowners prefer refacing to replacing. The cost difference is profound: for a standard 10×12 kitchen, professional cabinet refacing is generally between $1,000 and $3,000; if you have a large space with quality wood veneer, that number may rise to $9,000 — a far cry from the highest price of new cabinets.

At the same time, refacing your cabinets doesn’t disrupt your life. Not only does it take significantly less time, but you don’t need to shut down your kitchen during the process. If your cabinets are only showing slight wear-and-tear, they are great candidates for cabinet refacing.

When you’re dealing with a project such as this, it’s a good idea to consider your tenant’s point of view; if you wouldn’t pay extra for a shoddy job, neither will they. If you’re realistic about the situation and do what needs to be done, however, you can turn a pretty nice profit.

This article contains general information and does not contain legal advice. Buy It, Rent It, Profit is not a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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