Just wanted to share my 'selling' experience so far

ncamyFebruary 21, 2011

Since our 12 year old house has been on the market for awhile (and in my area nothing is moving) we decided to cash in some stock and update the kitchen. After replacing the appliances and fixtures and painting, the first four comments we have had since the updates were, "Kitchen needs way too much work" etc. I guess if you don't have granite, even if granite is not typical in your neighborhood, your house needs too much work. We purposely chose not to redo the counters because it's such a personal choice and the solid surface counters we have are nicer than what's in most of the other houses for sale in our neighborhood.

Granted we also didn't do anything to the cabinets which are in terrific shape. They are fully custom painted white and are not built from stock sizes. To replace the cabinets with something comperable to what's there would be at least $50,000 and maybe $40,000 in a stained wood because of the custom sizes and configuration. The overwhelming majority of potentials say they don't like the white. Do you think we should paint it or have we sunk enough money into this already severely underpriced house?

The layout of the kitchen is not a problem and no one has criticized that. We know that we are the only ones on the market in our area with such extras as a prep sink, double ovens, gas cooktop, and eating bar.

Our house shows quite a lot because it is priced so attractive. Our agent has shown us showing data from our area and we get around four times more hits than similar houses. I just don't understand why buyers don't realize that if a house is already priced much lower than the others then they'll have money left over to make their own choices.

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Carol_from_ny

It'd be helpful for us to see pics. Sometimes as homeowners we have a basis that we are not aware of about what is in the house. We see things as we want to see them not always as they are. Sometimes what you hear from a group of strangers can be of more value than what you hear from family or friends or even a RA who is looking to make a quick buck.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 2:34PM
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chicagoans

I'm sure it's disapointing to hear those comments after getting all new appliances. I wonder if their newness might point out other things that might be dated? But I wouldn't be too hasty to replace your cabinets. If you read the Kitchens forum, it seems that white cabinets are the most popular choice for new kitchens right now.

I agree that pictures would help. Maybe some easy changes like new cabinet hardware or new window treatments might make a nice impact (for a relatively low cost.) You could also post on the kitchens forum, too, to see if you get other helpful input.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 3:05PM
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theroselvr

I agree about photos. As far as white cabinets; not for me unless I really liked the house. What I don't understand is white cabinets seems to be popular right now; so it shouldn't be an issue. If anything I would replace the counter because let me tell you; it make a huge difference. I love the counter we have in our house it's really neutral & shouldn't go out of style. We chose to downgrade this house; the original owner had granite; we changed it. I know I posted the counter top we have somewhere in this section about 2-3 years ago. The last time I looked it was still available last year.

If you do not feel like replacing the counter; why not offer a decorating bonus? You can do it via Home Depot or Lowes gift card for what it would cost to replace counter or close to it.

Just found a pic of my counter top. It has green flecks in it

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 3:12PM
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adellabedella_usa

I'd be curious to see pictures too. Maybe there are some knobs, accents or paint treatment that would help the cabinets look updated. It could be that the room needs to be decorated to tone down the whiteness of the cabinets. Maybe it would help to add some sort of backsplash. We haven't seen the countertops. Are they white too? I wouldn't jump in and replace them with granite if there were a less expensive fix for the room. How is the flooring?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 3:46PM
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ncamy

I can't get pictures because the house is three hours away from where we live. I did have pictures on the kitchen forum pre-updating. I have already changed all the light fixtures, both faucets, and all the hardware to brushed nickel finish. Then I painted the walls a trendy gold color and switched out all the artwork to have more of a "pottery barn" look. The folks over on the kitchen forum were all helpful in helping me make these decisions. I have now gotten a new dishwasher and a new french door refrigerator as well as replaced all the innards of the double ovens. We already have a backsplash, but it also is white. I know the all-white is a turnoff for some, but like you said, it apparently is all the rage in the kitchen world. We have been discussing a decorating bonus, but no one else in the neighborhood is doing anything like that and our house is priced about $30,000 less than the closest comp. So in a sense they are already getting a $30,000 allowance. (Oh and a deeded boatslip which the other house doesn't have!)

I guess I wrote here, more or less, to warn people that when you do renovate or update to sell, more likely than not, it still won't be to the liking of most people. It's just all very discouraging to spend money and the very thing that you are criticized on is what you just spent the money on. For what it's worth our realtor did not think we should have done a thing nor did the team of local realtors he brought in. I should have listened! He practically begged us not to redo the countertops, so we decided to go with a more attractive price instead.

I hate this buyer's market. When will it ever end?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 5:09PM
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kats_meow

Have your agent call the agents of the ones who said the kitchen needed too much work and find out what the "work" was that they thought it needed. Maybe it was size or layout or things you can't easily change.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 5:12PM
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luckydee

I wonder if some buyers don't have the extra cash to update the kitchen. Even though it looks like they're getting a discounted price, they might find it easier to finance an already updated kitchen in their new mortgage rather than figure out how to pay for it themselves.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 5:29PM
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theroselvr

ncamy; would you be willing to email me the listing so I can look at it? I went to the kitchen forum & didn't see any pics posted by you unless they were in a post you didn't start

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 6:36PM
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Happyladi

What color are the countertops? Are they Corian or the like?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 8:37PM
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ncamy

Yes, the countertops are white Corian and they are in excellent shape. We have about 95 square feet of counters. Our realtor has strongly discouraged us from changing them based on comparisons to others in our neighborhood. He also said that in his experience whatever sellers have whether it is a solid surface material, stone or other, that 9 times out of 10 clients comment that it's not to their taste and they deduct the cost of changing it in their offers anyway. All of the houses in our neighborhood were built with laminate except for the 10% or so houses which were custom built and they all had Corian. Some of the homes have replaced their laminate with stone or other material.

I forgot to answer another question earlier. The floors are site finished hardwood throughout all of the downstairs. We constantly get positive feedback on the floors.

The only thing I can think of is that our kitchen is significantly larger than most in our neighborhood and it would be quite an undertaking to change it out any more than we already have. Maybe most buyers want to renovate to their taste and see ours as too big of a project. Unfortunately if I were to do the renovation for them, it still wouldn't be to their taste.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 9:40PM
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jane__ny

Do you have a link to your listing? Doesn't make sense, something is off.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 1:01AM
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dreamgarden

"We already have a backsplash, but it also is white. I know the all-white is a turnoff for some, but like you said, it apparently is all the rage in the kitchen world. We have been discussing a decorating bonus, but no one else in the neighborhood is doing anything like that and our house is priced about $30,000 less than the closest comp. So in a sense they are already getting a $30,000 allowance. (Oh and a deeded boatslip which the other house doesn't have!)"

I like a bright kitchen and wouldn't mind the white backsplash. At least white would be easy to change.

A deeded boatslip is indeed a plus! Have you thought of marketing your property to boat owners? Magazines or online websites?

Is it possible to look at inside pics of nearby comps that have already sold? Seeing what they did with their kitchens (etc) might give you a better idea of what is selling and why.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 8:29AM
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theroselvr

You have a beautiful house; including your white kitchen. Your cabinets look new. I saved 2 of the photos & uploaded to my picasa; if you say it's ok to post I will post them.

I'll look more later; have an appointment; we were hit with a lot of snow today :(

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 8:43AM
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ncamy

Thanks for all of the ideas/support. I'm not really looking for advice. I just more or less wanted to GIVE advice to others who may be in my position. IMO the bottom line is to NOT spend any money renovating or updating (unless your house is severely outdated and/or has maintainence issues.) At this point I feel like it is far more important to just have the house sparkling clean and well maintained. We still have a maid come once a week even though we haven't lived there for quite a while!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 12:56PM
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theroselvr

You actually did ask for advice:

Do you think we should paint it or have we sunk enough money into this already severely under priced house?

Had a hectic day today; still have one more appointment after dinner; I did want to look at your competition to give you some sort of answer. I thought your home looked great. I'm not nuts about white but it works in your kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 4:11PM
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ncamy

OK so I guess I did ask a question, but it still really wasn't the intent of my post. Sorry if I've misled anyone. In a situation this perplexing, I find myself questioning myself all the time. LOL

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 5:00PM
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sheilajoyce_gw

Some negative comments may be from lookie loos who aren't serious about your house anyway.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 11:09PM
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deee_gw

ncamy - Have you tried taking your house off the market for a while? I think sometimes a perfectly fine house gets ignored because buyers think, "If it's been on the market this long surely there must be something wrong with it."

In our area, taking a house off the MLS for a short time resets the days on market so the house appears to be a new listing.

I'm sorry that the results of your updates and expense have been so discouraging.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 8:25AM
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