The Million $ Question: Our Kitchen

young-gardenerJuly 25, 2009

We want to list our home, but we are undecided about the kitchen. Before calling in a realtor to crunch the numbers, I wondered if there was a resounding yes or no from other buyers/sellers just to get a feel for the market. (We're in a historic district in an Atlanta suburb, by the way.)

Other info: about 1740 sqft. 13x19 breakfast/kitchen combo. 3/2 house built in 1940. The cabinets are old, but someone "updated" the floors and counters at some point. We repainted the cabinets and added hardware...these were taken before all the cabinet doors were rehung.

PetPeeve: the drawers need sliders

As you can see, we have NOT staged yet. :)

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Happyladi

I think it needs some staging as you said but I wouldn't drop a large amount of money on it. I would get a much smaller rug for in front of the sink and get rid of all the pans hanging up. Some crown molding on the top of the cabinets would look really good.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 7:14PM
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kathyg_in_mi

Crown molding would look nice, I'd eliminate the curtains, then see how the pots and pans look. Yep, smaller rug too.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 7:59PM
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xamsx

You can get all sorts of advice on what to do/not do with your kitchen. All that advice is nice, but with a little leg-work on your end you can get a definitive answer on your own. Go to some open houses in your immediate area to see what their kitchens look like and how they are priced. Honestly compare to yours and what your pricing expectations. Take some spec sheets from those houses and make notations. Track the houses and what they eventually sell for (assuming you are not listing tomorrow). That will give you a fairly accurate idea of how your kitchen compares to others and if you need to make up any of its deficiencies via pricing.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 8:03PM
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young-gardener

Amen to the rug! It was a temp fix and is long gone. I've debated with the pots, so I'm glad to get feedback on that. I'd love to do crown, but the cabinets aren't all that even...will see if DH can manage. :)

Surprisingly enough, one down the street sold, they reno'd the kitchen, and relisted 45k higher. I was sickened. I wonder if someone will bite. I think I will scope out some others though. There are a few comparable in size/age which we could ask to see. (for whatever reason, open houses aren't common here. odd.)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 10:02PM
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bmrbabe

I would not do the crown molding. The shelf over the window is considerably higher than the cabinets. Adding crown would be too close to the shelf. Even if you took the shelf down, the window is still taller than the cabinets. Are the cabinets on either side of the window the same height as the ones on the other wall? The area between the top of the window (even without the shelf) is too narrow for crown molding without it looking strange. Even with the space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling, it would chop up the space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling.

My cabinets already go to the top of the ceiling, and we have crown that exactly matches the cabinets. (The crown is only on the walls with the cupboards.) There is no visual interruption of wall space. If your walls aren't exactly straight with the ceiling (which becomes true in most houses, and especially true in an older house like yours) the crown would simply emphasize that feature. I don't think you want to do that!

On the other hand, I think your kitchen looks lovely from the pictures. I would not spend the money for extensive upgrading at all. And realize that you will not recoup all the money on a kitchen upgrade when you sell. Your kitchen would certainly be easy to live with until the next owner might want to remodel.

I am a bit confused by this sentence: "Surprisingly enough, one down the street sold, they reno'd the kitchen, and relisted 45k higher. I was sickened. I wonder if someone will bite." Was the "one down the street" that sold the same one that had the kitchen redone, relisted, and then SOLD at that higher price? (If so, do you know the condition of the kitchen initially, and how much was actually spent?)

Have several realtors come in and look at your home. Get a listing recommendation, and ask them about your kitchen. Unless houses in your neighborhood are selling in the upper hundreds or over a million, I would be leery of a $45,000 upgrade that a buyer might not like. (Unless the kitchen were already beyond all hope; and yours is definitely not!)

I can post a picture of you tell me how to do it! :)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 11:15PM
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sheilajoyce_gw

Your kitchen looks nice for an historical neighborhood, and I would bet some buyers like the feel of its being original to the house for the most part. If you want to hang pots on the rack, make them pristine and high end looking. Remove the curtains above the sink. That is a pretty window all by itself. I suspect by staging you plan to declutter, remove the baskets, coordinate the towel and place it better, and add some kind of colorful decor item on the counter and table center.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 11:54PM
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lido

Do you have the doors to the 3 open cabinets? If not, I'd get doors made and hung.

I agree with getting rid of the curtains and the pots/pans.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 5:38AM
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chisue

I'm on the same page as xamsx: Check out your competition. Then call three realtors and get their feedback. Factor into what they advise that new kitchens and baths help sell houses faster -- but don't usually pay back what you've invested in the remodeling. Agents only make money after the house sells! LOL You want the house to sell too, but you don't want to invest a lot of money you can't recoup.

I see a typical 1940's kitchen. Actually, it looks larger than what I remember! And it has some eating space. (Show the nook with a small round table and four chairs.)

I don't like the shelving to the right of the refrigerator; hang a cabinet. I don't like the shelf over those nice double windows -- or the hanging pots, or the curtains.

Actually, I'd remove all the wall cabinets and hang taller ones. Leave the lowers alone. If you can't find close matches, find a carpenter to build and install these. Cabinets are just boxes with doors; easy to make, hang, and paint.

What's the closet with the louver doors in the eating area? Is the wall between the closet and kitchen a supporting wall? The whole space would look larger if you incorporated the closet space into the kitchen with more counter and hanging cabinets, or added it to the eating area with a matching window on the back wall of what is now the cabinet.

Have you looked at the GardenWeb forum: "Kitchens"?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 12:20PM
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neesie

I think your kitchen is bright and pleasant looking; much nicer than a lot of '40's kitchens I've seen. I agree on taking down the pots and pans while it's for sale. I'm not so sure I'd remove the curtain, you certainly are getting good light even with it on and it may look "nekked" with it gone. Keep you counters clear, just like they are in the picture and add a big bowl of green apples or a vase of flowers for the showings. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 4:17PM
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cmarlin20

I'd remove the pots and pans and curtains. The pans look as though you don't have enough storage for them, not like a gourmet kitchen with hanging pots.
The curtains look messy, keep the look crisp and clean.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 10:03PM
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young-gardener

You're right. We don't have anywhere to put the pots. :) The plan is to take them down for the sale...perhaps the whole shelf.

Yes, the home down the street from us was another 1940's house with an outdated kitchen (dark and dingy). Someone purchased it and put in a new kitchen. THen, they relisted. I felt the price change was rather drastic.

Yeah, the doors are back on the open cabinets. I had them down while repainting the cabinets.

The area with the bifold doors is the laundry area. THere are shelves above for storage, as well as the water heater.

The stove was going bad, but we scored a new Stainless one on clearance at Lowe's last night for only 275. Exciting!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 12:42PM
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Billl

Since you have a stainless fridge and now a stainless stove, you might consider updating the dishwasher and microwave to stainless so they all match. Obviously, stainless appliances are "IN" now and are a great selling feature. If you can find deals similar to your clearance stove, I think that would pay off.

Historic neighborhoods can be tricky. Your buyers are either going to just love old houses OR love the location. Most historic neighborhoods are in great locations, so some people are willing to pay a premium to live there even if they don't care about the historic nature of the home. The buyers who love old homes will appreciate the original details and wouldn't want you to do something like add period inappropriate crown. Buyers who are just after the location probably will prefer a newly remodeled kitchen with all the bells and whistles, but probably won't be impressed with more modest improvements.

With that in mind, I wouldn't put much money in the kitchen. It already looks fresh and clean with the new paint and hardware. Just put everything away and declutter.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 1:20PM
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bmrbabe

I would not do the crown molding. The shelf over the window is considerably higher than the cabinets. Adding crown would be too close to the shelf. Even if you took the shelf down, the window is still taller than the cabinets. Are the cabinets on either side of the window the same height as the ones on the other wall? The area between the top of the window (even without the shelf) is too narrow for crown molding without it looking strange. Even with the space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling, it would chop up the space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling.

My cabinets already go to the top of the ceiling, and we have crown that exactly matches the cabinets. (The crown is only on the walls with the cupboards.) There is no visual interruption of wall space. If your walls aren't exactly straight with the ceiling (which becomes true in most houses, and especially true in an older house like yours) the crown would simply emphasize that feature. I don't think you want to do that!

On the other hand, I think your kitchen looks lovely from the pictures. I would not spend the money for extensive upgrading at all. And realize that you will not recoup all the money on a kitchen upgrade when you sell. Your kitchen would certainly be easy to live with until the next owner might want to remodel.

I am a bit confused by this sentence: "Surprisingly enough, one down the street sold, they reno'd the kitchen, and relisted 45k higher. I was sickened. I wonder if someone will bite." Was the "one down the street" that sold the same one that had the kitchen redone, relisted, and then SOLD at that higher price? (If so, do you know the condition of the kitchen initially, and how much was actually spent?)

Have several realtors come in and look at your home. Get a listing recommendation, and ask them about your kitchen. Unless houses in your neighborhood are selling in the upper hundreds or over a million, I would be leery of a $45,000 upgrade that a buyer might not like. (Unless the kitchen were already beyond all hope; and yours is definitely not!)

P.S. PLEASE tell me how you posted your pictures!!! TIA!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 11:49PM
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dracko

Yup, the pots scream "not enough storage space" so I'd take them and the curtains down.

Also, like someone suggested if you have the doors for the cupboards tht are open I'd put those up.

I know for me the non matching appliances would be an issue.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 12:50PM
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chrisk327

To start off, your kitchen is fine, I wouldn't change anything for sale, its in the best shape for not redoing it.

1) open shelving is in, if you don't have doors, thats fine
2) hanging pots, may not have been the perfect dream for some, but if it were a hanging pot rack from pottery barn people would be fawning over it. I think the solution looks neat.

3) its surprising how picky everyone is offering advice. in my area that kitchen would be more than acceptable and probably a selling point. short of a full renovation, it looks great.

Also, depends on the market. How much is the house worth and where it sits in relation to the competition, top, bottom middle.

if your in an older market with no significant new construction you'll be just fine.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 3:44PM
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jenny_from_the_block

I would also agree on the suggestions to take down the curtain valances and the pots and pans. I like the table and chair by the window - shows its a big enough space to put something there. Other than that, I wouldn't do much of anything else and let the new buyers do what they want in there.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 7:49PM
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mjlb

I think the kitchen and breakfast area look quite nice. I love pot racks, but I agree about removing for sale.

The only other suggestion would be to add a stainless range hood (probably Ikea cheapo) over stove, and relocate the microwave next to the refrigerator. Will look more upscale for little $$.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 10:44AM
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susanlynn2012

I like your kitchen the way it is except I would also remove the the hanging pots for resale purposes. I would take the valences off of the windows despite them being very pretty since they are very taste specific. But even if you left the valences without the pots there, your kitchen would still sell since it is pretty, clean and has a very nice neutral wall color.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 6:13PM
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butterfly4u

Your not selling a house today.
Your selling a kitchen.
The price you get for your home will be the quality of your kitchen.
So, stand and look around at your kitchen.
That is what you will get as an offer.
I'm not kidding.
Good Luck to you!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 8:54PM
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sarahsally

I think crown molding on your upper cabinets would make a huge difference. It isn't hard to do. If you buy some lengths of molding in different heights, and don't have them cut, you can decide which looks best and return the ones you don't want. The crown molding will make the cabinets look taller and give them some presence. I would pick a darker wall color to show up the white cabinets. A cafe au lait color might be nice. Pottery Barn catalogues are a good place to look for paint colors and they usually have the names. I would put the doors back on the upper cabinets, and stack, rather than stagger, the wall shelves. Finally, I would take down the pot rack, curtains and shelf. The windows are one of the biggest assets in older houses. I would leave it bare, or if you feel you have to have something, try a bamboo shade. If you want to continue to display your white pitcher collection, put them on top of the cabinets. You may have to stack up some books or pieces of board so they'll show above the crown molding. Lowes and Home Depot have the same hinges in a baked-on white enamel. If your cabinets are pure white, they might give you a cleaner look. I know someone will love your house.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 12:58AM
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