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Walk-In Pantry: Worth the Investment?


Oct 16, 2020 by Liz Brumer

If you're planning your next remodel and the kitchen is on the list, you may be wondering if building a walk-in pantry is worth the investment. It may seem like bigger is better, but it's important as a real estate investor to weigh the actual return on investment (ROI) when considering adding a new feature to a property. Read on to learn fi and when it's right to add a walk-in pantry in your flip or build.

What is a walk-in pantry?

A walk-in pantry is a separate, enclosed closet near the kitchen used to store nonperishable food, root vegetables, spices, and often, extra kitchen appliances. The pantry is generally around 5 by 5 feet minimum to allow for shelving and someone to actually walk into it, but this can vary greatly depending on the size of the house.

Walk-in pantries are typically characterized by floor-to-ceiling shelves, generally fairly shallow so items aren't easily lost. They sometimes also include drawers or deeper shelves for larger items. In most cases, they are not located directly in the kitchen but near enough to be accessible.

How much does a walk-in pantry cost?

HomeAdvisor (NYSE: ANGI) found a walk-in closet or pantry costs on average around $2,000, but this can vary on the available space in a home and how elaborate the storage space is designed. If there's already a nearby closet, laundry room, or other nook, you may be able to convert it into a walk-in pantry for just a few hundred dollars. Just make sure you're not sacrificing another important organizational aspect of the home.

If you have to knock down walls or create an addition, the cost will be much higher, potentially upwards of $5,000. You'll also need to pull permits for any major renovation work, which can quickly add expense.

Does it add value?

The National Association of Home Builders did a study finding 54% of homebuyers said a walk-in kitchen pantry is desirable, with 31% saying it was actually essential. This clearly would support the demand aspect of this investment decision, especially since this isn't a standard home feature.

As for actual ROI, there is not a lot of conclusive data specifically on walk-in pantries. In general, a minor or midrange kitchen remodel has a pretty solid return of 77.6% of the cost recouped, according to the 2020 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling.

The bottom line

When making the decision as to whether your kitchen remodel should include a walk-in pantry, consider the overall size of the house, if there is existing space that can be easily altered or repurposed, and what the demand is for this feature in your market. If homes in the area also have walk-in pantries, it's likely a worthwhile investment to add one to the kitchen to conform with market expectations and features.

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Liz Brumer-Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.