HOUSTON (KTRK) --Looking to get the most bang for your buck on a kitchen remodel?
Consumer Reports says take care, to avoid the biggest budget busters.
Like changing your mind. It can drive your budget up an average of 10 percent.
The average kitchen remodel costs around $28,000.
So spend a little longer on the design and stick to that plan no matter what.
Don't rely on rough sketches.
These days, 3D drawings and even tools like virtual-reality software help you visualize the space before you even take down a wall.
Also, don't overpay for high-end materials.
You can forgo pricey, exotic marble counter-tops for less expensive, low-maintenance quartz -- top-rated by Consumer Reports.
And you can get the look of hardwood floors for half the price with more durable, porcelain tile look-alikes.
Remember, while looks are important, don't forget function.
Save room in the budget for things like a range hood to keep your kitchen well-ventilated, under-cabinet lighting to ease food preparation, and improved storage, like drawers in the base units.
It's not the sexiest stuff, but it's these little things that you use every day that are going to influence your long-term satisfaction in a major way. Your dream kitchen can be a reality if you plan wisely.
It's also important to do your due diligence about who is doing the work.
Consumer Reports found that accredited contractors are better at holding down costs on remodeling projects when unexpected problems crop up.
And, check the references of contractors on your short list, asking clients about their experience with them and how the work held up over time.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.