What Should I Go With???

alwaysfittoflyMarch 11, 2011

I'm getting ready to put my 3200sf house on the market. It's been completely repainted inside and out. I had hardwood floors installed throughout the first floor and new carpeting installed upstairs. I've installed beautiful granite counter tops in the kitchen as well and replaced all the light fixtures(ouch, they were UGLY).

I'm kind of running out of funds at this point. The main problem I'm having is with my outdated bathrooms (3). I have enough $$ to replace the floor tile or install granite counter tops. But not enough money for both. What do you think would impress a home buyer more? I'm concerned that doing one without doing the other will just emphasize the outdated style

Also, I have the granddaddy of all gas cooktops in my kitchen. There's no amount of lipstick that's going to make that piggy look good. I can make it look clean, I just can't make it look new. Do you think it will be worthwhile to bite the bullet and buy a new one? The problem is that the only model that will fit (Jenn-Air 36" gas downdraft), costs $1700.

I interviewed 3 real estate agents. The first agent had no comment on the cooktop or outdated bathrooms. The second wanted me to replace the cooktop, redo the tile and put in granite (Ironically, of the three, he felt I would get the least for my house). The third said maybe I could paint the cooktop (doh, seriously???) and gave me some other inane suggestions. She's out.

Although the second RE agent came in at the lowest price, all 3 of them were within $10,000 of one another.

I'm having a hard time deciding when enough is really "enough".

Thanks for reading my ramblings. If anyone has any suggestions, I surely would appreciate hearing them.

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I struggled with this last year when we were getting ready to list our house. A big factor is what is "expected" in the houses that you will be competing with.

On the bathrooms, I think it really depends on whether it is the master bathroom or secondary baths and how unsightly it is. People generally don't care that much about secondary bathrooms as long as they are clean and functional. We did replace the countertop in one of our secondary bathrooms because the sink was severely stained and it could not be changed.

If I was going to change one I would change countertop rather than floor tile unless the tile is unsightly. We did put in granite countertop in our masterbath and the cost of replacing the cultured marble with granite was only $600 plus the cost of the new sinks (and they weren't expensive).

We had original appliances in the kitchen -- Jenn-airs (electric) almost 20 years old. We did replace the cooktop and oven with new.

On the other hand on the house we sold before that we left in the outdated coil electric cooktop. We were glad we did when we found out the eventual buyer replaced it with a gas cooktop before moving in (we would have replaced it with electric).

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 8:00PM
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I bet the second real estate agent is the honest one--he's not just telling you stuff that you want to hear but the ugly truth. Some of them will say anything just to get the listing.

I would say it depends on what's uglier--the counter or the floor. You can try to save money by using granite tiles for the counter. We found some in the flooring section of Lowe's and they were very cheap. I think less than Formica would have been. If the floor is not some crazy color, you can clean it real good and repaint the grout just to doctor it up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Smith Mountain Lake Horse Property

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 10:11PM
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I looked at a house last weekend that was decluttered, freshly painted, very nicely staged, had granite tile countertops rather than slab (a negative in this area) and all original bathrooms. The house was built in 1966, typical for the neighborhood. None of the bathrooms had been upgraded, but the floors and tile were neutral and in fairly good shape. The cabinets were painted white if I remember correctly. I noticed that there were no photos of the bathrooms in the online listing.

The house is pending sale less than a week after it went on the market.

I think if the rest of your house shows well - and it sounds like it will - then don't spend the money on changing tile or counters in the bathrooms. Just stage them with great towels, bath salts, high-end soaps, cool decorative items and they'll be fine. Take a look at model homes or other open houses in your area for ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home that sold with original 60s bathrooms

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:23PM
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Could you replace the floor tile and do something less expensive than granite?

Also,granite tiles are much less expensive than granite slab and would work perfectly in a bathroom. I sold a high end house that had granite tiles in the kitchen instead of a slab. Not one person had a negative thing to say about it because the overall look of granite was still there.

You may also want to check for leftover pieces of granite. Vanities don't require such a large piece. Perhaps you can pick up a few leftovers cheap?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 8:18AM
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I haven't seen your house, don't know what your budget for redo is, and don't know what is expected in your area. Some things can make a lot of sense, spending 5K to fix some cosmetic things on a $500K house, but start really adding up on a $150K house.

Home depot and lowes have granite countertops for bathrooms pretty cheap. ~$200 for most sized vanities and ~500 for 2 sink vanities.

the kitchen it really depends on how the rest of the kitchen looks, if you have a very nice ktichen with an eyesore of a cooktop, replace it, but if its all medium aged to old and the stove is just the worst I'd skip it.

does it make sense to make 1 bath or 2 baths nice and leave the 3rd? are the vanities fixtures etc really nice that they will fit in with the new tile?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:31AM
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I found a product that is 18 x 24 granite tiles with a bullnosed edge, and am planning on having my husband install these in my upstairs kids bathroom. It is a 72" vanity and it will cost about 160 for the granite and another $200 for sinks and faucets from ebay. I also drove around the area in town where the granite fabricators are. I found someone who will do a small vessel sink top plus a laundry room sink top from remnants for $275 total. Just agree to pay them upon completion as they already have the remnant.

Maybe do a cool granite top with a vessel in your downstairs bath, the granite tile in your master and leave the other one. Do you have pictures?

I know painting the cooktop seems insane, but you may want to ask if it is possible on the kitchen forum. People have painted fridges with good results.

Here is a link that might be useful: big granite tiles

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 11:36AM
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If you live in an upper price bracket neighborhood, often the buyer wants to completely change out what you have in the bathrooms and kitchen, whether it is a newer remodel or the original. Perhaps it might help to do nothing but clean, declutter and repair perfectly, and then offer an allowance of what you would have spent to remodel for them to redo to their taste.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 3:59PM
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We had good luck with granite leftover for vanity. We were lucky that each end was either a wall or a tall built-in, so only needed one edge. We got a very high-end color of stone for next to nothing.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 2:49PM
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I was in the same boat as you but I ended up remodeling both bathrooms. The home was 30 years old, smaller, no vaulted ceilings etc...I ended up selling the home in 1 day so the extra money was worth it.

Now, you might consider some new HD or Lowes fixtures for the bathrooms. Hire a professional cleaner or make your husband do it and really clean the bathroom, especially the tiles. You can buy this heavy duty bathtub cleaner at HD that makes that tub really shine.

Then just list it and see what happens. Most buyers are going to hit you with at least a 20 percent lower offer now with the market being soft.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:47PM
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What I would do & actually did; we made the one outdated bathroom as up to date as we could; we left the tub & floral paneling; though I'm not sure if I painted it or not- I painted the vanity; we changed the counter top to something decent but not the cheapest; then I did floor tile; did a lot myself except where the toilet went. Our kitchen was also outdated but the cabinets were real wood; we replaced the counter top & flooring there too.

If you don't have money for granite & the floor; do what you can with what you have even if it means not using a granite counter top; at least it will be new.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 5:20PM
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I had four outdated bathrooms plus an outdated kitchen. Here's what I did which really paid off.

I shopped for floor model vanities. I looked at Lowes, HD, but found a vanity in an upscale bath/kitchen store. They had a beautiful, white vanity which was slightly damaged and were removing it from the store. I offered cash and got it for less than anything I saw in HD/Lowes. Its easier to bargain with private stores.

I started looking at stone yards and found two marble tops which were cut but rejected by the buyer. One had a flaw in one corner, the other had a small chip. They sold it to me for a bargain and included the sinks in white. I bargained hard and won. What I learned, stone yards have tops which get rejected by a buyer. They are stuck with cut tops and will sell them cheap to get rid of them. I almost froze to death, running around stone yards in January, but it paid off. I really got bargain prices. It was worth the frost-bite!

These two vanities looked like a million bucks. Again, I offered cash.

I bought light fixtures in Target and HD for all four bathrooms.

I kept the old vanity in one bathroom but replaced the hardware and top. I bought an inexpensive piece of granite at HD with the sink and put it on top. Replaced all the faucets on all sinks from HD/Lowes.

I did not remove the floor tile from any of the bathrooms. The worse bathroom and the oldest (50's) was in our basement family room. It was green tile everywhere. All the fixtures were green. I put the bargain vanity with marble top there. I left the green tile but replaced the toilet (HD) with a white one. Had the green tub refinished, white (turned out great). Pulled off the old shower doors and hung a white shower curtain.

Kitchen, I did replace the stove/oven and refrigerator. I left the old dishwasher. Cleaned the tile and dug out the old grout (mess). Changed the light fixtures. Changed the hardware on the old oak cabinets. Painted the walls.

What I wanted, was to make the house look like the buyers could live with it until they decided to make changes. I didn't want it to appear as if changes had to be made immediately. I wanted it 'move-in.'

It did sell in a terrible market and we were pleased with the price we got. I believe the changes helped sell the house faster and made it harder for the buyers to ask for a low-ball price.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 6:19PM
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