Buying A New Kitchen: 6 Essential Tips
Your new kitchen is likely to be one of the most expensive purchases you make within your house, coming second only to an extension or large conservatory, so when buying fitted kitchens it pays to make the right decisions in terms of layout, design, budget and supplier BEFORE parting with any cash!
Unless you move regularly, typically buying fitted kitchens is not something the average household has lots of experience in, so we’ve prepared these quick six fitted kitchen buying tips to hopefully aid in the process:
Kitchen Buying Tip One
Take your time – making rash decisions on costs layout or style could leave you unhappy with the finished result – and given the price of a fitted kitchen a mistake you’ll probably live with for many years to come. Even if your existing kitchen is falling to pieces it’s vital to research your new kitchen properly, get to know all the local and national suppliers, get a feeling for what size and specification of fitted kitchen you can have within your budget, so you’ll be in a position to make an informed decision.
You will most likely have friends, relatives, or workmates who’ve recently purchased a fitted kitchen, so ask them about their experiences – especially what they would have done differently given the benefit of 50:50 hindsight!
Buy a few kitchen magazines – if not for the kitchen suppliers, at least to get ideas of design and layout.
Kitchen Buying Tip Two
You’ll need to get a firm idea of your budget, whether you are working from savings or are planning on taking out finance. Work out what you can comfortably afford and deduct 10-15%. This will be your budget – the benefit being you’ll have a contingency for when inevitably go wrong, or you start getting excited and upping specifications!
Kitchen Buying Tip Three
When building a shortlist of supplier’s you should do a little detective work. Start by looking up web kitchen reviews, such as those here on Kitchen Units 101 (although remember people are more likely to write an on-line review if they are unhappy with a kitchen supplier, than if they are happy – so you will find more bad reviews than good).How long has the kitchen supplier been trading? Do they have a local shop, or service centre to you, should your project hit snags? How much of a service do they provide? – supply only, design and supply, do they fit, do they project manage? Check out their accreditations and membership of trade associations ensure they are Gas Safe ( formerly CORGI) certified for the work they are planning, that they have sufficient public liability insurance and so on. Finally check with Trading Standards if there are any known issues with them.
Kitchen Buying Tip Four
Once you are happy with a fitted kitchen supplier, check for any safeguards they have in place to insure that your deposit, stage payments or final payment are protected by any third parties should anything go wrong during your fitted kitchen project. See if they are members of the Furniture Ombudsman service for example who have a protected final payment scheme for members and provide arbitration in cases where there are serious issues that can’t be resolved between client and kitchen company.
Kitchen Buying Tip Five
It’s vital that before you sign on the line you’re clear on everything that’s going to be happening in your fitted kitchen project, who’s responsible for what, and anything that isn’t included in the price. You have to check and then check again that you will be receiving exactly what you are expecting before your order is placed. Don’t be worried asking the kitchen representative – it’s what they’re there to do – and no question is silly.
Kitchen Buying Tip Six
Everyone always plans to, but rarely anyone does. Take and CHECK references. Between your first encounter with your fitted kitchen supplier and signing on the line you should have asked them for some local customer references. No company has any reason not to supply references from previous customers if they’re as good as they say they are – and once you’ve got some you really do have to check them out. Ask the previous customer/s Did everything go well? If there were any problems were they dealt with quickly and to the customers satisfaction?