11 year old kitchen - Spruce it up or leave alone

mamattorneyMarch 27, 2013

Our kitchen was redone by previous owners 11 years ago. We have done nothing to it other than replace the refrigerator because that had to be done.

The counters (Corian) and backsplash really date the kitchen as most non original kitchens around here have granite.

Do you think an 11 year old kitchen is at the point of - leave it alone and let a new owner do what she wants to it or would it be financially worthwhile to invest a reasonable sum of money into it to make it look newer?

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I'd leave it alone. Corian is not a cheap material, and I think your kitchen is nice the way it is. If you want to do anything, you could look into undermounting the sinks, as many people like that.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:44PM
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Totally agree with the above (even the undermount sink!).

I know GWs aren't the norm and there is some magic in listing that you have (slab) granite counters in many areas, BUT I'd strongly prefer Corian over formica or granite tiles, and I don't think you'd get the return on something more high-end than that, like granite. (Plus then you'd have to think about stainless appliances, etc., and it would get silly.)

And YHL just put in white Corian so it can't be all bad. ;)

I think it your kitchen looks really nice! It wouldn't turn me away at all.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Another vote to leave it, it looks really nice and was obviously kept up! I even prefer the sink the way it is ...

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:27PM
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Me four! Your cabinets are very nice, and counters aren't very daunting for someone who wants a change (compared to a full remodel). Just make sure everything is super clean and uncluttered.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Another vote to leave it.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 2:20PM
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So interesting. I was going to suggest, if anything, to get an undermount sink as well. I have no idea how hard/easy that is to do or if it is case specific, but *if* you do anything, that is what I'd do. I like your kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 2:32PM
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I wouldn't even change the sink. You have a nice looking, very serviceable kitchen. If I were looking at your house my thought process would be 1) is it clean? 2) can I imagine putting together dinner in this space? 3) does it have potential for my own personal updates that I can do on my time frame and budget?

I am probably WAY in the minority on GW but I far prefer a SS sink and love a single bowl. In an ideal world, an undermount sink is my choice but yours would not bother me in any way.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 3:18PM
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All the above are wonderful insights but are meaningless unless you know what your competition is like. Look at the competition and this will tell you if your kitchen (or the pricing) needs work.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:26PM
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i think it looks great, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a house with a kitchen that looks like that. Love that they put in two sinks! Great work space!

One suggestion, imo the light fixture over the far sink is dated, and because it's so cheap and easy to change out a light, I'd probably put something like a school house light or something with some charm there instead. Love the rest of it, though. Lucky you to have a PO with taste.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Corian is high end enough to likely satisfy buyers.

If you do not need a quick sale it is unlikely you would get back the cost of an update (and even then you would likely only recoup the money when you consider carrying costs).

Talk with listing agents who are familiar with your market.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 4:42PM
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The kitchen hardware could be upgraded because it looks awfully generic. You could also put handles on the base cabinet doors instead of knobs. That wouldn't cost much and would give a more custom look.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 6:00PM
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Meant to say handles on the base cabinet "drawers," not "doors."

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 6:10PM
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Thanks everyone, we haven't put it on the market yet, we're in the planning stages of putting it on the market. We want it to be a quick sale, but won't buy something else until this one sells so there won't be double costs. We're moving to gain more space; we aren't even leaving the neighborhood.

I know the competition as I am quite the online listing stalker and either the kitchens are completely outdated or else they have granite. I haven't even seen Corian on a listing in the last 10 months (as long as I have been checking). I don't know if that means that other people have replaced Corian with granite or if that means that no one else chose Corian when they redid their kitchens and Corian would be fine.

I suppose it would be a good question for the broker.

Thanks for all the other suggestions. I'll definitely change the lights; they are the most boring, cheap lights ever. Same with the hardware; it's not cheap (heavyweight), but it's boring. I've wanted to change it for the longest time, but if I changed the knobs to handles, wouldn't there be a hole in the wood? That's what stopped me in the past. The cabinets are fantastic, and I wouldn't want to ruin them by having a hole in them. They are from a local cabinetmaker and the best quality cabinets that I have ever had in a house.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 9:35PM
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I'd say it depends:
What the competition looks like;
What the price looks like.

Your kitchen could compete with much more newer kitchens, because:
you have ceiling-high cabinets,
your fridge has the panel that makes it look built-in,
two sinks,
hardwood floors (what's under the dining room carpet?)

So, you're right that it's the backsplash and counter tops that "date" it.

The questions would be:
How much would it cost to replace the counters and backsplash? How much could you recoup? And how much quicker would your house sell?

Also, how does the rest of the house compare to "competitors?"

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:32AM
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mamattorney, just out of curiousity, what's that item on the wall to the left of your china cabinet?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Thanks again - this post really made me think. I went and captured the kitchen shots of what would currently be my competition and there actually is a Corian countertop and one other that might be Corian. I think my kitchen matches up pretty well for a non eat in. I know kitchens don't tell the whole story, of course, but I also know kitchens sell homes. My last appraisal (09/2012) was for 474,000. There is nothing for sale right now listed between 469,000 and 599,000. There are plenty higher than 600,000, but I don't think those would be fair comparisons. I'm not 100% sure why I'm posting these, maybe just for thoroughness and my own benefit.

410,000 - laminate

439,000 - granite tile?

449,000 - granite

450,000 - laminate

459,000 - laminate

459,000(2) Corian, I think

469,000 Corian

599,000 - granite

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:13PM
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hayden2 - uggh . . that's our actually a valance from a window covering. We moved this dining room furniture into this home from our previous home and it doesn't fit correctly in this room - there's a window behind the breakfront. The breakfront will go when we list - leaving the bottom only as a sideboard and the full valance (there's a top piece) will go back on.

We've been here for 7 years and when we moved in I said we needed to buy two corner china cabinets to work in the space, but we had a baby a month after moving in and then another one and the days got away from me! It's one of those things that I know about, but don't even see anymore.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:19PM
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" You could also put handles on the base cabinet doors instead of knobs."

Chasing the latest trend.

what is the competition showing?

What are the SLD houses showing?

Not everyone likes handles any more than knobs.

And since you already have centered holes for the knobs, handles may be more expensive than it is worth.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 3:17PM
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mamattorney - I've been there, done that myself. We have a breakfront that will come down when we sell, also, leaving just the bottom.

Good luck !

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 3:57PM
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The thing that stands out to me about the kitchens you posted above is that they look larger than yours.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 4:42PM
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That's true; mine is an open galley kitchen. Pretty narrow. The others are all U's or L's. It's a very efficient kitchen, that's for sure; but I often wish it were more roomy.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 5:44PM
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NewBuyer beat me to it. I would worry less about the corian than I would the fact that it is a narrow space and seems to not open up to any of the living areas. If this was my listing, based upon what feedback I hear from buyers who see this type of kitchen, I would adjust down the price accordingly, compared to the similar competition.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 6:48PM
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I guess I'm trying to subscribe to the Irish Serenity prayer of preparing a house for sale:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

I'm struggling with the wisdom part. I can't turn the kitchen into one of the kitchen board's 2013 reveals. The shape of it is what is is - I'm just trying to make it look its best without overspending. I'm hoping someone will say - it's narrow, but impressive or it's narrow, but handsome and inviting. I don't even think I'm trying to put lipstick on a pig; it's a nice kitchen in my opinion - especially to cook in.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Who is your potential buyer? Families, empty nesters, young couples?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 8:13PM
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I agree: You obviously can't change the shape or layout, so need to somehow bling it up. What's on the other end of your kitchen?
What's under the dining room carpet?

Here is a link that might be useful: galley kitchen

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 8:21PM
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Smaller family; probably one or two kids. It's perfect for a family of 4. We just added a bonus child and are finding it's a little tight for 5 especially as they grow. I suppose I'll need someone who doesn't want the entire family to be in the kitchen at once as well ;-)

The town is too family oriented suburbia for a young couple, too big a house/ too high taxes for an empty nester to move into. Great schools, lots of kids in the neighborhood, etc.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 8:28PM
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So, probably a young family.
What's on the other end of the kitchen?
Any chance to have hardwood in the dining room?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 8:45PM
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What's under the carpet - not hardwood. I checked because after having three kids in the house for 7 years, the carpet needs to be changed. I got a couple of quotes when we were doing the "should I stay or should I go" routine and it'd be about $4.500 to take up the carpet and put in wood.

The wood was put in the foyer, hall and kitchen in 2002, but the left the LR and DR as carpet. It's a little complicated; there's a height difference in the floor and the contractors weren't sure if we'd be able to get it even.

Here's the other side - it's a through way to the basement and the back door.

This post was edited by mamattorney on Fri, Mar 29, 13 at 20:49

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 8:47PM
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The kitchen is not going to be ok with most buyers. You say your target buyer is a young couple. Young people want open kitchens.
IMO, the best way to make this kitchen look wellto buyers is to adjust down the price in relation to your comps.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:25PM
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nc - duly noted.

As I sit here today, I disagree with what you are saying (about the kitchen "not being OK with most buyers") as I believe I understand my price range and the housing available here at that price range (what your dollar will buy you) better than you could possibly know, but that'll be a question for the broker.

This post was edited by mamattorney on Fri, Mar 29, 13 at 23:59

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Mamattorney, corridor kitchens are very efficient, and I prefer the configuration of what you have over the pictures of the competition.

Speaking as someone actively in the market to purchase a house, your kitchen layout would be a positive factor to me. It's nicely functional as is, especially with the two sinks, and I could cosmetically upgrade *to my taste* when and if I wanted.

I'm currently seeing many houses with recent renovations made prior to going on market, particularly in the kitchen, that reflect choices I'd never make. They add to the asking price, and I am figuring in the frustration factor of living with them or the financial cost of replacing them when I evaluate the properties.

My vote is to keep it as is.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 2:55AM
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OP, I understand that you like your kitchen. And you are correct in saying that you know your particular market better than I do, unless you live in Charlotte. All advice on this forum should be taken with the caveat that RE is very local. However, in 11 years of selling RE, I have never had a buyer walk through a 3 foot wide galley kitchen, especially in the $450,000 range, that said they liked it. I HAVE had buyers walk through a 3 foot wide galley kitchen and say they do not like it but because the price reflected it, ended up purchasing the home.
I am not trying to rag on your kitchen, only trying to offer advice based upon my experience.
Helen, I understand that you like the kitchen, but I doubt if you are the OP's target buyer.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 7:12AM
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I think it's an academic question at this point, unless you think that the kitchen is so bad that the only solution is to lower the price.
The question is whether new counters and backsplash are worth it, both in terms of a quicker sale and at a higher price.

While I personally agree with Helen, most buyers want something that's move-in ready. Even if they're not in love with the kitchen, th eimmediate thought upon seeing it, is that the counters and backsplash are dated. Unless they totally hate the kitchen and want to do a gut job.

Can you get estimates as to how much new backsplash and counters would be you if you go with:
subway tiles and
inexpensive neutral granite.
Also, replace the round light and maybe add undercounter light.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:24AM
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I can appreciate all that it said here and believe I will get quotes on getting a new counter and backsplash.

Edit: I did a full on rant about prices being relative to location and it's just not necessary.

This post was edited by mamattorney on Sat, Mar 30, 13 at 10:40

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:20AM
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I would look at it this way, what will you be looking for when house hunting in a kitchen?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:48AM
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" I would adjust down the price accordingly, compared to the similar competition."

Wants are not needs for first time buyers.

What is the competition like?

Making an open kitchen in the space you appear to have would be a VERY costly modification, and might even involve combining rooms and structural modifications.

Anyone buying a 'starter' home (or first home) and thinking it must meet ALL their needs is a fool, at best.

This post was edited by brickeyee on Tue, Apr 2, 13 at 13:54

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 11:06AM
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To clarify: The academic question I was referring to was whether people like the layout or not because that's certainly something I wouldn't even consider changing.

I also think that it won't cost you 10K to update the kitchen. You have the high cabinets, you have two sinks, you have SS appliances --- all that's missing is the granite and the backsplash (maybe the glass tiles that are popular these days although your style kitchen would go better with subway tiles.
Hardwood would be great, but I probably wouldn't spend 4.5K on that. Perhaps see if you could do it for less, especially if you say that you may need new carpet.

As has been said on other threads: Most people see granite and SS and think it's "upscale" and up-to-date.

Get cool inexpensive pendants for over the sinks.

Here is a link that might be useful: pendants

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Is there anything under that desk at the end? I wonder if anybody on the home decorating forum could come up with a cool suggestion. I can only think of a wine fridge or maybe some kind of cubby storage near the backdoor, or set it up as command central.

Also, look at IKEA kitchens for styling and kitchen accessories ideas (or Pottery Barn).

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 11:37AM
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This is not a starter home at all... the competition the OP posted are between $439,000 and $469,000.
The OP posted pictures of the competition, and they are all open plan kitchens.
I stand by ny thinking that the kitchen will have to be adjusted when it comes time to pricing the home. Not because of the lack of granite and/or a backsplash but because of the floorplan. Something that buyers can not change easily if at all, like they could the granite and the backsplash.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 9:39PM
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I think it looks fine the way it is. Before you spend any money changing the countertops talk to some realtors about it.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:29PM
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I don't know why I feel the need to argue with you nc, but your statements are such blanket statements and I don't think they apply. I would consider this a starter house. At least a starter house to get your foot into the school district. That's what it was for us; we had a condo, but this is our first actual house.

Like brickeye said, as first time house buyers, we had a list of wants including an updated eat in kitchen. We couldn't get both updated and eat in, so we opted for updated, but not eat in.

I also don't know why you keep saying the kitchens are open concept; they aren't. The first open concept kitchen is the 599,000 one. The others are more square, but they still have doorways to the rest of the house, not open to the family room like the more expensive houses. I would say you could get a nice open concept kitchen starting at about 600,000 - that's pretty fair; some of the more expensive houses still don't have open concept kitchens, but you could get one at that price point.

All the current listings are (within the grade school district, about 1 sq mile radius).:
215,000: 3BR 1BA 1,336 sq ft
324,000: 4BR 1BA 1,500 sq ft
389,000: 3BR 2BA 2,196 sq. ft
410,000: 4BR 2BA 2,024 sq ft
449,000: 4BR 2BA no sq ft provided
459,000: 4BR 3BA 2,152 sq ft
469,000: 3BR 3BA 1,992 sq ft
599,000: 4BR 3BA 2,314 sq ft
609,900: 5BR 5BA 3,171 sq ft
619,900: 5BR 2.5BA 3,051 sq ft
699.900: 3BR 4.5BA 2,997 sq ft
729,900: 4BR 4.5BA 3,123 sq ft
797,000: 4BR 3.5BA 3,275 sq ft
835,000: 4BR 3.5BA 3,225 sq ft
895,000: 5BR 3.5BA 4,264 sq ft
899,900: 4BR 5BA 3,794 sq ft
899,900: 4BR 3.5BA 3,000 sq ft
929,900 5BR 3.5BA 3,000 sq ft
949,500 4BR 3.5BA 3,000 sq ft
971,900 4BR 3.5BA 3,200 sq ft
1,199,000 5BR 4.5 BA 4,600 sq ft
1,400,000 6BR 5.5BA 6,000 sq ft
1,699,000 5BA 4.5 BA 6,000 sq ft

Avg stats: 729,900 4.2BR 3.3BA 3,103 sq ft

My house is 4BR (but one BR is really more of an office), 3BA 2,150 sq ft with a finished basement and appraised at 474,000 in September, 2012 - so I actually would call it a starter house as compared to what's out there.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Mamattorney, you are getting good input from many people, including real estate professionals, and I'm sure you will give that advice proper weight. I just want to interject that you can posit your house will appeal to a certain demographic and devise your marketing plan accordingly, but you have no idea into what category your actual buyer will fall.

We're recent empty nesters looking for a house due to an unforeseen employment opportunity. One of our criteria is that the new property be located in an excellent school district to enhance potential resale and, just maybe, long-term appreciation. We want three or four bedrooms, as we have a college student not yet launched, as well as adult children with significant others we'd love to have visit whenever possible, perhaps in due time with grandchildren in tow. :-) So, I'd be looking at your house if I were moving to your area.

Either you or your future buyer can change out the counters and/or backsplash or update the cabinet pulls fairly easily. The two existing sinks centered on windows are a wonderful feature that would cost a boatload of money to add in. I am amazed at the number of *upgraded* kitchens I see that are an L-shaped run of cabinets with the requisite island, no matter how vestigial and useless it may be. I rarely see two sinks, and that's what's needed in a household with growing, increasingly independent kids or just where husband and wife tend to futz around in the kitchen at the same time fixing their own breakfasts.

So, yes, I'm an idiosyncratic buyer, but maybe not all that unique. Lots of the advice you are getting is directed how to make it universally appealing -- are you in a hurry to sell, or can you wait for a buyer who appreciates what you have?

I'll also add that I had an almost identical (but single-sink) kitchen when our first two were in the infant and toddler stage. They'd sit and play, either in high chair or playpen or just on the floor, at either end of the kitchen and were never underfoot but enjoyably nearby. Good times!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 12:22AM
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Looking at the number of bathrooms and square footage, it looks like these are your closest in comparison:
459,000: 4BR 3BA 2,152 sq ft
469,000: 3BR 3BA 1,992 sq ft
599,000: 4BR 3BA 2,314 sq ft

Either way, it sounds like you are at the top end of your "price group," so you need to see what would distinguish you in a positive way from these houses.

Because your kitchen layout may not be "ideal", I think it would be a good move to try to have the finishes as much as possible to the 599K kitchen, so people will associate your kitchen and house with more upscale and updated.

What are the bathrooms like compared to your comparables? Floors? Light fixtures? Lot?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 9:05AM
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OP- it's just fine.

Ive seen houses where they were going after "updated and upscale, " but in a kind of ticky-tacky way, Who were they fooling really? You can't really do a complete gut and re-do - is it really worth the $$$ to do a cosmetic job or chase after an illusion of being more up to the minute?

I think you just don't want a kitchen that is a real obvious time warp - like that first kitchen in your line up above (the $410,000). That one screams 1980s! Yours is not that - the green walls and natural colors while not super-exciting are contemporary enough IMHO

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Unless its a complete re-hab, I've always found kitchen remodels done JUST to sell a house always end up looking exactly like that.....updates done JUST to sell the house. Meaning half done, limited effort/expense. And they almost never return the value invested back to the seller.

-Broken and/or unsightly appliances
-Damaged and/or unsightly countertops and cabinetry
-Damaged and/or unsightly backsplash and/or fixtures

I believe its entirely up to the buyer's eye...and that SPECIFIC buyer....as to whether or not your idea of upgrades matches their ideal kitchen look/feel.

My suggestion...leave it alone. Your kitchen looks fine. Offer a remodel allowance as a negotiating tactic or flat out lower your price for the same amount you'd consider investing in the upgrade in the first place.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 4:40PM
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I would leave it - it appears to be in very good repair and not terribly dated in terms of style. The floor plan can't be changed, so there is no point in messing with perfectly good and not-cheap surfaces and fixtures.

My suggestions are:

- Remove all the clutter and remove EVERYTHING from the fridge!! The clutter such as baskets of mail, cell hone charger etc makes the kitchen look like a pass-through dumping area.
- consider changing the paint color from the green to a warm white or cream, it will open it up a bit more and I personally don't like the green with the cabinet color much, it makes them look more orange than they would with white.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Definitely de-clutter the kitchen.

get as much stuff off the counters as possible.

It helps the room look larger.

What is the average days on market in your area for your price range?
You can always lower the price more if you want a quick sale.

Buyers love bargains.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 1:59PM
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I had a realtor I have been talking to do an initial walk through for her thoughts on pricing and on what if any cosmetic improvements should be done before we list.

She recommended leaving the kitchen alone with the exception of possibly changing out the over the sink lights. I have to change the dining room fixture and she said that it may make things look more cohesive if the kitchen and the dining room fixtures complemented each other.

Basically she didn't think anything I would do to the kitchen would warrant increasing the listing price, but there were some things that absolutely needed to be done throughout the house to not have to reduce the price, including replacing the carpet in the LR/DR (I knew that had to be done), painting the first floor (again, I knew this).

We've hooked up with a moving service that will take all our excess things now and store them, delivering them to our new house all in one move when the time comes. We've got a ton of things to temporarily send to storage and lots of work ahead of us. I'm hoping to list not later than June1, but we'll see.

The good news is the realtor thinks the house, even with its unusual floor plan (the kitchen, obviously, but also the BR are not all on the same floor) will sell quickly, so long as we price it realistically. Houses in the 400-750,000 are selling really quickly. So long as we can grab the families who want to be in their new house for the start of school, we should be OK.

Because we have three young kids and a dog, even though we don't NEED a quick sale, I want a quick sale. Just the thought of keeping a family house ready for showing at a moment's notice especially when everyone is home for the summer, eating three meals a day in the house and otherwise messing things up all day long is enough to make me want to list the house $25,000 below where the realtor wants to price it to get it done.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 2:39PM
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Well, it sounds like your realtor gave you good advice, limiting the work that needs to be done. New fixtures over the sink should be relatively easy and inexpensive and will make a ton of difference. Just make sure to paint the ceiling before replacing.
Did you figure out whether hardwood in the LR/DR may be a realistic option or just go with carpet?
Best of luck for a quick sale!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 2:46PM
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Your realtor has given you good advice. I would do very little draping for the dining room window (if any) so that the light will come into the kitchen and make the space seem more expansive when you can see out that window from the kitchen.

Some people do not care for green, though I know that is a currently favorite color, so I would go for a more neutral, light paint job in the kitchen, again to open it up.

I think to show the house, I would have out on the counters only the knife block and maybe a bowl of lemons or green apples.

I have noticed that if you furnish or accessorize a house that is for sale with a minimum of things, the rooms look more spacious. Go for the look that the room is so spare that it could use something else--then you are there. You are not placing furniture or accessories to live in it, just to show the space as being generous and good scale.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:24PM
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If the paint is in good shape, I wouldn't repaint. If you do, pick one of the neutral Pottery Barn colors.
And yes, keep the windows as uncovered as possible. Minimal drapes, pulled all the way to the side, no fussy valances.

Also, check out the Young House Love site for quick and inexpensive decorating "fixes."

Here is a link that might be useful: Young House Love site

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Sounds like you got really good advice from the realtor. Good luck for a quick sale!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 12:16AM
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I got a call from the realtor (I'll call her A) this morning. She was chatting/networking with another agent (let's call her B) who was complaining about the lack of inventory in the $500,000 range in the neighborhood. B was saying that she had a couple of buyers that had looked at what was out there (you'll note there's nothing between 469,000 and 599,000) and couldn't afford the 600,000 house, but were looking for more than was available in the mid 400,000's.

Realtor A mentioned that she had looked at our house and that she expected to have a listing around 525,000 and be listed by June1. (I'd probably list it at $500,000, but that's besides the point)

Realtor B asked A a bunch of questions about our house and to make a long story short, after speaking with her client, Realtor B asked Realtor A if we would consider showing the house to her clients as it sounds like a good fit - galley kitchen and all.

They are qualified buyers who have sold their previous house (transferred) and are living in temporary corporate housing.

Obviously I would sign a listing agreement with A, but I'm nervous about showing the house because it's not ready for sale, not even close. We haven't done a thing to it yet.

It's like agreeing to meet a date without any advance warning and showing up with a winning personality, but wearing a T shirt and yoga pants. Will they be able to look past the yoga pants when their other dates (that they've rejected) have been primped and polished?

I guess, what's the harm, right? If they are in temp housing, they are probably going to buy something before June 1 and they won't be in our buying pool, anyway.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Well, if the house will be listed at 525K, but you'd be happy with 500K, you may as well have them take a quick look. I'd say it also depend sin what overall shape your house is.
You may get some useful feedback, and who knows, maybe they'll make an offer that suits you, which would mean that you can skip the planned updates and cleaning out, not to mention peace of mind.

As you say if there's nothing else in that price range, they may want to wait. At least it confirms that there's definitely a buyer out there who's looking for a place in that price range.
Best of luck!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 1:23PM
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I'd show it, as is. Worst case scenario is you'll get feedback that helps you better position the home for sale when you finally do list it.

I have bought a house that wasn't even on the MLS before...just had a good buyers' agent doing some specific neighborhood marketing on my behalf. Your scenario sounds like Realtor B is a very good Buyers agent. You never know....they may take one look at your house and say "Don't spend a penny on fixing it up, take this offer instead" and the offer is exactly what you wanted in the first place.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 1:24PM
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Me, too, I bought a house before the seller could start doing improvements that I didn't particularly like, e.g. replace the carpet and repaint.
Keep us posted :)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 3:02PM
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I think I'd spend some time on making it sparkling clean, but then nothing else. You have nothing to loose beyond that, but sparkling clean is imho important for creating a good feeling about a house.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 3:06PM
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When I was renting a house, the people were remodeling it and didn't want to show it to me yet. I finally convinced them that time was running out for me to make a decision (even tho I didn't need to be in the house yet), and that I could see past the gutted kitchen and nothing on the floors. All I needed was closet space, 3 BRs, their garage space and a DRY house with an ok to store boxes & furniture in the empty BRs. I didn't want a house that looked new. They let me see it and we signed the contract.

When we were at the closing for my condo, I asked the buyer what made her buy it (we'd done TONS of remodeling, staging, and cleaning), and she said, "It was CLEAN!"


    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 3:57PM
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OK - showing is set for 10:00 on Saturday. The Wife wanted to come out tomorrow (Thurs), but that's too quick and the Husband is out of town until late Friday anyway - I do need a couple of days to get it sparkling.

Luckily I hosted Easter and got the house "in-law" clean for Sunday. In my dictionary, that not quite "house on the market" clean, but it's 75% of the way there. My hands may be red and chapped by Saturday morning, but I can do it!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 4:24PM
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If you have the time do some decluttering too - even if it means putting a bunch of stuff in boxes and store them in the basement. Just so closet space looks larger and reduce the stuff for the potential buyers to look past. Might go quick to remove. Probably not so much in putting it back.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 5:39PM
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The problem with house selling is that you can't just hide everything in the closets, so getting a head start on decluttering is a great suggestion.

Is there a way you can get rid of the top of the breakfront to uncover the window behind it? It would make it not only brighter but also not make it obvious that there's no space for a china cabinet.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 6:28PM
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Yes, yes, yes. I have already talked to my next door neighbor - she's offered me her house as a holding place for extra clutter for Saturday. I've already moved all the winter gear (skis, skates, boots, clothes) and the golf clubs over to their house because it was quick and takes up a ton of room in the closets. As much as possible, I'm just going to box extra stuff up so that it's in a condition to be taken by the moving company for temporary storage after Saturday, but some things will just have to go over next door piecemeal and get packed up another time. I've charged the kids to create a donation pile for toys, so I can drop those off to Goodwill on Friday and not pack them at all.

Great idea on the breakfront. I may as well pack up the china cabinet in its entirety - I definitely won't need it for now. I'll get the guys to move the breakfront next door. I won't be able to keep it there, but it can stay in their garage for a day. I have such great neighbors - it's a good thing we're only looking to move within the neighborhood.

Ahh . . . I'm trying not to get too stressed - it's just a showing, it's just a showing . . .

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 7:02PM
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Good luck! We sold several houses moving around for post grad training programs when our kids were young, and it's undeniably stressful. Our last home we sold on a one day listing agreement with a realtor who had ready buyers who couldn't find what they were looking for. I was nervous because we hadn't gotten it ready to sell--- but they made an offer and we closed in 30 days. I don't even remember that month, thankfully! Keeping fingers crossed for you.

Btw, I do not like the current open concept kitchens. I don't want everyone in the kitchen at once unless we're eating. The kitchen/family rooms remind me of those vacation condos that provide far too much "togetherness." I think they also place way too much emphasis on eating as the main family activity. I'd love your galley kitchen :-)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:03AM
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Your neighbors sound like saints. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:35AM
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Good luck - this could work out very well for all involved!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 4:08PM
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I have gone as far as renting a storage locker to empty things into.

Once a viking stove and hood, and an expensive crystal chandelier with a real 24+ inch plaster medallion.

The house sold in one day with a brand new stove, chandelier, and medallion.
And a newly painted dining room ceiling (had to hide the 'shadow' from the medallion).

The buyer never new what used to be there.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 5:29PM
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Good Luck tomorrow!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 5:37PM
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I am reading your thread at 9:40 Sat. morning and find myself thinking about you and your showing shortly. Hopefully it will be productive but let us know
how it went.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Not much to update right now. I'm exhausted, the house is shining, the showing took place. All I know is that now I KNOW I want a quick sale. If anything comes of it or I get any feedback about the kitchen in particular, I'll post.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 1:06PM
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I'm a bit exasperated right now. They want to look at it again. I know that's a good thing - but my house is not supposed to be on the market!

My realtor called and said that they really liked it (I didn't get any other feedback), but they were concerned about our cats because the Wife has severe cat allergies. At first I was puzzled because our cat died in 2010 and then I realized that we have a cat door built into the laundry room door which was where we used to keep the cat box. When they realized that there has not been any cat dander in the house for three years, and the carpets have been cleaned three or four times since then, it made them look at the house in a different light.

I'm just guessing, but I wonder if they were thinking that they would have to change all the "soft" surfaces before they even moved in to protect her from dander. Our entire 2nd floor, finished basement and LR/DR are carpet, plus we have some drapery treatments. That's a lot of work just to make a place healthy for someone to live in.

So . . . they are coming back tonight. Luckily, the entire family was scheduled to leave anyway at 6:00 for a grade school play my son is in, and we will be gone until probably 8:30 after the requisite celebratory trip to the ice cream parlor.

The dog came with us this morning, but she can't wait in the car for 2 hours, so she'll just have to head over to the neighbors' for a couple of hours. She'll probably feel right at home over there since her dog bed, toys and what feels like half our house is already over there!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:14PM
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Hope it leads to a quick and seamless sale. Seems like a good sign that they want to come back so quickly, sounds serious.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 6:56PM
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Good luck with your second showing.

If you need to get the house ready for sale, I would first try to "update" with a much lighter paint color on the walls. Right now the eye stops at the green and reinforces the galley feel. If you had a color that blended better with the rest of the kitchen, the eye would move around a bit and give the illusion of more spaciousness.

I would also add a pretty, modern print rug runner. The Dash and Albert website has some great, reasonably priced rugs. You can also check out Ballard.

I can't see what you have on the windows right now but they could be another opportunity to add an updated touch.

Definitely clear off the counters and the fridge and see if you can up the wattage in the light bulbs too.

This post was edited by deee on Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 16:32

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Even if these people don't buy your house, it has been valuable because you have learned something. You need to replace the laundry room door so that others don't think you have pets.

Of course, you might get lucky and have these people buy your hosue! Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 4:11PM
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Thanks everyone! Yes, I have definitely learned a lot, including the laundry room door. I think this "crash course" has been a great guideline in getting the house ready for real.

Deee, I love those fabrics and great ideas everyone on the paint. Basically the entire first floor needs paint; and the kitchen has so little wall space that it won't be much more time if we do it ourselves or cost if we contract it out. I like the green, but a lighter color would probably show better.

All I heard after the second showing was that the buyers were giving it serious consideration. Clearly they know no one else is looking at the house, so the only rush to make an offer would be their desire to get out of temp housing. I am going to ask my realtor to feel them out more though because I would like to start the process of prepping the house for actual sale and shopping for carpet, painters, etc.

My gut says they would have made an offer by now, but it would absolutely kill me to order two rooms of carpet and then have them make an offer. I guess that can wait a little anyway.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:00PM
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If your agent has not gotten back to you any meaningful feedback yet, you need to ask her why... after all, the showing agent works in the same office.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 7:44AM
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nc - you are 100% right. I'm calling right now.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Good luck! I'm following this with interest and am hoping you are able to get it sold to these buyers quickly! :)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 3:33PM
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Great News! We received an offer yesterday! We played the game and countered, they came back and we have a signed contract for $510,000. Onto appraisals and inspections and hopefully house hunting for us! I know we're not out of the woods yet, but we're having a bottle of wine with dinner tonight!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:39PM
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Wow, great news! Congratulations! You must be relieved not to have to keep the house ready for showings at a moment's notice. Best of luck with your house hunt.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:45PM
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Congratulations! Hope all goes smoothly from now on, including your next purchase.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:39PM
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What an exciting thread for a Saturday morning read! Mamattorney, please come back and fill in the details about the rest of the process as it happens. I really would enjoy seeing which of those houses you end up buying, too. Have you had your eye on any in particular?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 1:00PM
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What an exciting thread for a Saturday morning read! Mamattorney, please come back and fill in the details about the rest of the process as it happens. I really would enjoy seeing which of those houses you end up buying, too. Have you had your eye on any in particular?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 1:01PM
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I love a happy ending, congrats!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Congratulations! I hope your closing goes off without a hitch.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 2:05PM
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