If you’ve decided it’s time for a new kitchen, then starting to shop around for one can be exciting! However, when you know the cost is going to run into thousands of pounds, it’s only natural that homeowners want to take the time to research their options to ensure they are buying the right kitchen. Whilst Google can aid, when it’s time to talk to potential kitchen designers and fitters, how you do know who to trust? Are there any specific questions to ask when buying a kitchen?
The quick answer is yes! There are lots of questions that you should pose any kitchen designer and fitter and taking that time out upfront will ensure that you have a stress free experience.
As homeowners ourselves and with 60 years combined experience in designing and fitting kitchens within the team, we thought it would be worth sharing the questions that we’d ask when buying a kitchen.
10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Kitchen
#1 How much will a Kitchen Cost? Can they accommodate your Budget?
While you may not want to discuss your budget upfront, asking this question will ensure you have a discussion about the key elements of a kitchen that will influence the overall cost.
However, being up front about an overall budget will ensure that this is clear from the outset. You can ensure that they are able to work with you and offer options to achieve the look you want within that budget.
#2 How do I choose the right style and/or add value to my home?
While your choice of kitchen design will be very personal to you, discussing style and trends will help you understand whether their kitchen designer/fitter is the right one to you.
A professional designer should be able to help you understand what features can add value to your home while keeping within your own style requirements. At the same time, they should be able to advise you on any aspects that may not recoup their value when you resell your home.
While the final decisions are yours, having someone who is well versed in advising both on style and value, when discussing space, materials and colours could help ensure that your kitchen doesn’t ‘date’ quickly.
#3 What exactly is included in the design service and who will do this?
In the overall process of buying a kitchen, you’ll need to make several decisions around materials, brands, style, functionality and more! There may be times that you feel that you are going around in a circle as one decision may have a knock-on impact to other aspects.
While this part should be fun, it’s important to understand what’s included in the decision process. Consider asking a range of questions to ensure that you are clear on specifics up front, such as:
- Will someone measure my kitchen for me, or do I provide the measurements?
- How many designs will I receive. Will there be options provided on each?
- Do I visit in store for a consultation or will this be at home?
- How many consultations will there be?
- How will the designs be provided to me? Will this be via printed images or online software? Will there be several angles and different viewpoints to help me understand the overall look and feel?
- Who will undertake the design? Will this be one point of contact?
#4 What are your options regarding brands, range and manufacturers?
If you have your heart set on a state of the art NEFF oven, does your kitchen designer/fitter provide these? What about that granite worktop that you’ve been admiring on your Pinterest board. Do they also provide these as an option?
In your early discussions get a feel for how wide their range is and whether it’s aligned to your own tastes in style.
The majority of kitchen designers and installers will have a range of brands and materials on offer and very likely to be able to accommodate your tastes. During the design process, you may change your mind following their advice on what’s best for both style and functionality for your needs and so you want to ensure that their range is wide enough to flex with your own design needs.
#5 What options are there for payment and when will you pay?
Buying a new kitchen is a significant investment and you may wish to understand what finance options are available. Do they offer 0% interest offers and is there any eligibility criteria you need to meet, for e.g. minimum spend or available only to kitchen and installation purchases (not kitchen only).
Even if you choose to self-finance or seek finance elsewhere, you’ll want to understand what payments will be due at what stage so that you can plan for these.
#6 Will they also fit the kitchen themselves or is this outsourced? How much will this cost?
You will want to establish up front whether your kitchen designer will also undertake the fitting and whether there is an additional cost.
Many homeowners will look to the company they are buying from to also manage the installation. This can avoid issues arising when any part of the process is delayed, such as your physical kitchen components being delayed and an install booked with another fitter who may not be able to flex dates.
Ensure you ask about the team who undertake the fittings. Are they an in-house team or is this outsourced to other contractors? If so, have they used them for some time and are there reviews from other homeowners that would recommend their work?
It may be worthwhile also checking whether you will incur any additional mileage charges based on where you live in relation to their main business premises.
There are several questions that you’ll also have about the kitchen fitting itself, which you can find in our eBook download below), but establishing an early understanding of who will undertake the work, when and the cost, will aid with your initial enquiries.
#7 Can they undertake any electrical/building work that is required or recommend contractors?
If you choose to significantly change the layout of your kitchen it may involve changing electrical points, water supply or require new flooring.
If you’ve found a great kitchen designer who will source, design and install your kitchen, you may also want to check if they’ll also ensure that they can also undertake or arrange any additional works. On the other hand, you may also wish to use your own contractors, so do be upfront about this early on in discussions.
#8 Is Aftercare included?
When you’ve invested time and effort on achieving your dream kitchen, the smallest of snags could become a very big niggle! So, understanding whether there will be a formal sign off after your installation and whether you’ll receive any level of aftercare should be a priority.
Are there clear guidelines on what issues you’ll have support with afterwards and for how long?
#9 How long will the overall process take from start to finish?
While the scale of the project and the final choice of a kitchen will impact the overall project timescales, an early indication or average timescales will help you plan.
Are they fully booked out for months ahead? Are you likely to be waiting months between finalising designs and your kitchen being fitted?
You will specifically want to know how long fitters are likely to be in your home for, as you may be without a working sink, oven or the full room for that period of time.
#10 What experience do they have? Can they provide you with a gallery of work, testimonials or case studies?
I think we can all relate to a time that service or a product we’ve bought has exceeded our expectations. Did you find you told anyone who would listen about it?
Take the time to check out their social media feeds and their reviews. If they have a google or yell listings, are there reviews posted there too?
Feel free to ask for examples of previous work and copies of their case studies or testimonials too. Not only will it give you a feel for the level of satisfaction with the work they’ve previously undertaken, you may get some style inspiration too!
Are They the Right Kitchen Designer or Fitter for You?
Our top tip would be to not worry about asking too many questions up front and take your time to ensure that you are happy before proceeding with the design process and buying a kitchen.
A professional kitchen designer/fitter shouldn’t be surprised by your questions and in fact, it should help tick off several questions they should have for you as part of an initial consultation. They should make you feel comfortable and offer you time to consider and digest any information shared with you too.
But most importantly, take time to enjoy the process!
Over to You
Are there other questions you think would help when buying a kitchen? Jump into the comments below with your thoughts.
We’d love to hear from you.