Microwave question for resale

gin_ginAugust 18, 2014

Hi everyone,
We were planning an extensive kitchen remodel when my husband's job was eliminated. He has some promising job prospects, but none of them are here, so we will have to sell the house and move.

This obviously drastically changes our kitchen plans, now we are just going to do a minor update to fix the obvious problems.

My question is about the microwave. Unfortunately the previous owner put in a powerful Viking range under an OTR microwave. I know now that is a big problem. The heat from the cooktop has cracked the plastic on the front of the microwave. The vent fan is woefully inadequate, though it does vent outside.

We are not replacing the range or the cabinets. So our only 2 choices are either:
A. Replace the microwave with another OTR, or
B. Replace the current OTR with a vent hood and get a counter top microwave.

Which do you think would be less of a turn off to buyers?


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I don't think I'd do anything. Let the buyers decide.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 5:26AM
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Leave it and allow the buyer the amount you would have paid in replacing it. Then they can decide which way to go with it. I think the otr would actually appeal more to buyers, but it seems wrong to go with the wrong choice, knowing its going to cause problems for them later.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Thank you both for your input.

Currently there is an obvious crack on the front. Also it is a dated bisque color. Currently we have the Viking range in stainless, and a stainless fridge. The micro & dishwasher are both bisque, and the dishwasher is a POS and falling apart. Also the countertops are tile with impossible to clean wide grout, and it looks horrible.

My plan was to replace the micro & DW, and put in granite counters. Logically it might make sense to leave it alone and offer a credit to buyers. But the property has some unique features that I fear will make it harder to sell. And we need it to sell quickly, so we don't mind spending a little money to make it more attractive to buyers.

I'm going to contact my realtor and see what she thinks too.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:22AM
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I'd say option 2, no question unless (a) your potential buyer will have no clue what a Viking is or (b) buys the property only for the lot or will basically immediately gut the kitchen.

In my area, move-in ready sells. Of course, it depends on your market, the price range, the potential buyers. Houzz has several useful idea books on how to get a house ready and also how to evaluate what to fix/update for the best return.

For starters. check fix it or leave it?

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz selling advice

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:53AM
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I don't hate OTR microwaves, but would one ever work with that type of stove? I'd get hood and let the new buyers worry about the microwave, cracked appliances are a real turn off. I'd probably do a ss dishwasher since yours is on it's last legs anyway. I'd have to see the tile before I could tell you if it would delay the sale. Granite may be the way to go because many buyers expect it in a home. I hate to say it, but relators love people to invest money in property, it makes their job easier and they get an increased commission if your house becomes worth more, so take what she says with a grain a salt. I wish you the best of luck during this difficult time and hope your husband finds a new position soon. Any choices made should appeal to the widest variety of buyers.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 12:02PM
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I agree with nosoccermom. They're less likely to notice that there isn't a dedicated microwave space, unless that's on their checklist. Also, a hood shows well, especially over a Viking range.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 12:04PM
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More and more homes are going without microwaves now. Not my house, but others. I would put in a proper range hood, and if the buyers want a MW, they can put it in wherever they want.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 12:05PM
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If I was viewing a house and saw an OTR microwave over a Viking, my impression would be that the installers didn't know what they were doing, and I would do a much more thorough check to see if the gas line etc. were adequate for the installation. And it would make me wonder what else they installed in the house without really understanding what they were doing. If you do not want prospective buyers wondering about such unseen things during a walk through, install a good range hood. If you want a microwave to use, purchase one for the counter. But it is fine to not provide one at all and let the additional counter space impress.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 12:54PM
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gyrfalcon just saved me a whole lot of typing.

Plus cheap counters don't jive with the Viking range so do the granite. Cheapest granite that looks good but quality install.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 3:08PM
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Not to mention that any home inspector will immediately point out that the Viking and the OTR literally don't work together. So, strike my scenario option (a) above, because even if the buyer won't know what a Viking is, the home inspector will.

This post was edited by nosoccermom on Mon, Aug 18, 14 at 15:48

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 3:46PM
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Get a proper hood, because the range will just kill the next OTR microwave.

And, as mentioned, the inspector will look at the CFMs for the OTR and the requirements of the range and say ... no matchy!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:37PM
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Install the hood. Forget the MW, the new buyers can deal with if, where and what type...

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 6:05PM
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Add me to the list of those saying replace with a hood and forget the micro (unless you will need one until you move and take it with you). If you can swing counters, I'd replace them too. The DW -- if it works and will pass inspection, you don't need to replace it and most folks won't have an issue with replacing a DW since they are standard sizes and easily changed out -- and you can even live without one.

Best of luck with the move and new job for DH.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 9:17PM
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Ha, I sure wish our home inspector had noticed the OTR over the Viking issue. He also didn't notice the dishwasher is a rusting mess. Well the previous owner had it full of dishes every time we looked at the house, I'm sure that wasn't an accident.

More info: The house was built in 2000. It's a large house in a fairly affluent Chicago suburb. The previous owner was some sort of contracter (a very bad one, I'd say) and I'm sure he did the counters himself.

What was original to the kitchen were bisque mid to bottom of the line appliances. I'm sure the Viking was not original, I can remember seeing a bisque range out in the garage before we bought it. So the moron finds this Viking somewhere and just slaps it in and leaves the OTR there. He liked to salvage stuff, my house is full of crap he must've saved from jobs.

I realized the OTR was not ideal when we bought it, but I had never cooked on such a powerful range so I didn't know yet how bad it really is. Plus DH promised me a full kitchen remodel right away, but then he balked at spending the money so it didn't happen.

You guys, the counters are so, so bad. Huge dark grout lines, and tile with an antiqued look so they always look dirty. I really feel like to make this house more marketable we should at least do the counters and replace the last 2 crappy old bisque appliances.

After reading all of your responses I'm leaning toward the vent hood instead of another OTR. I'm not sure a real vent hood is going to vent much better. Get this, my ducting goes down to the basement, does a loop de loop around a joist, then back up and out. That's because my kitchen is not on an outside wall.

Thanks for helping me think this out, I appreciate it!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:57PM
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By the way, sometimes when I've got the oven cranked up, the micro vent hood comes on by itself due to the heat. Yeah, that's kind of a bad sign.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:59PM
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I think we had the rural version of your house, once upon a time, except the guy was no contractor, ha! Did build it all himself, though out of salvaged or cheapest materials he could find. Place was a nightmare.

Yeah, def replace counters, but in a neighborhood like that people will expect granite.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 12:06AM
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I would pill out the range and move it with me. Put in a cheap stainless range, dishwasher and hood from Sears Outlet.

Many buyers will like that more and you can get some great deals at S.O. If you are purchasing a couple appliances that are marked down a few times, don't hesitate to bargain a little. We went in late on a Friday night and they knocked off a few hundred bucks on our range and DW if we closed the deal that night.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 12:32AM
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Actually, 1929's suggestion has some merit. If that fits the house, weight it as an option too. If you won't have a use for the Viking range in your new place, you could sell it to offset your other expenses. Maybe you could find some scratch and dent appliances -- range, hood, (micro optional) and DW, then consider the options for the counter -- inexpensive granite, really nice laminate, super cleaning job on the tile and grout (DIY or professional), new grout, etc.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 12:53AM
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We will be moving out of state, though I don't know where yet. Besides, I hate the Viking for several reasons. It's powerful, and that's about the only good thing about it. it's 10 years old and IMO has a lot of issues. No, I will not be taking it with me. :)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 1:04AM
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Debbi Branka

Put the Viking on Craig's List.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:09AM
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Can you buy a "regular" stove that will fit in that space? If so (and I know I am in the minority) I would sell the viking on craigs list and buy a regular stove and put the microwave vent back in place. I know that everyone here dies when they see those, but I think most of the rest of the world thinks nothing of those. I have been to several tour of homes lately and they were 50/50 split on the over the stove microwave.These were nice large homes that were showcasing builders. At least talk to your realtor about it - maybe look at some kitchen pictures of other homes in your area that are for sale. I do think a lot of "average" buyers would be turned off by no microwave.

I know I sound pedestrian. I am sorry.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:21AM
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Ask your realtor, but I think leaving the range and adding a hood will help your house "show" much better. OTR micros are "standard" and most people consider a hood to be an upgrade. New counters would probably help, too...but it would be so much nicer if the new owners could choose. I'd be inclined to put in the very least expensive on trend laminate or granite from Ikea spending no more than $2k. I wonder if you could get something used from a store display, or from Habitat ReStore?

Please give us just one little picture?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:07AM
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No to OTR. Don't worry about microwave, people nowadays around here just get a very small one to heat up coffee that goes cold. No one cooks in them ever. Maybe defrost, but that's it. Absolutely the hood, that's very important for a high BTU range.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 12:36PM
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Do what's the best bang for your buck and time. How much is a hood that will go with the Viking? How much hassle and money is it to sell the Viking on Craigslist and replace with range and OTR MW?
What do your potential buyers expect in your price range?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 3:35PM
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Here's a picture as requested

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:10PM
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Close-up. Sorry it posted sideways, if you click on it it should be right side up.

This post was edited by gin_gin on Tue, Aug 19, 14 at 23:15

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:12PM
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My awful counter

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:18PM
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I'd change the micro to a vent, live without a micro until you move and scrub the grout. When I had tile counters, I bought the firmest toothbrushes I could (though Mr. Clean Magic Erasers would be worth trying now) and used them with Soft Scrub with bleach on the grout., I would leave it at that. I'm not a tile fan, but I wouldn't not buy the house for it -- and I'd rather select my own counters. I've seen whole bunches worse.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:34PM
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I would change to a vent and not worry about a MW at all. Do not worry about changing your counters. I'm speaking as a person that recently sold two properties and bought another in another state. Clean the grout, clear the counters, and be done with it.

I do strongly suggest hiring a home inspector for your own peace of mind before you sell. We did, and it really helped when our buyers' had paid their own home inspector over 5 grand to come down from NYC and he didn't know how to turn on a gas-log fireplace, or how a tankless water heater worked, or how to utilize a ceiling fan remote control :)

Good Luck, and don't over think things!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:08AM
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Thanks for the pictures! It isn't a bad looking kitchen, but the cabs aren't so great that you should spend much if anything on new counters. Vent, clean grout (or pay a pro to do it), clear counters, and start thinking about your new house. I hope you find one with an awful must-be-gutted kitchen or one which a GW TKOer is selling. You and dh have been through a lot of stress with more ahead, take the easy way where you can.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 6:19AM
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My friend recently put her house on the market. She hired a professional cleaning crew, and they did a terrific job. She was amazed at how thorough they were and it was done in one day. Her house was large and very nice everywhere except the kitchen which was outdated with what I thought was a dysfuntional layout and old appliances. But that didn't seem to matter to the buyer. They were just very happy that everthing worked and it was clean.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:13PM
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I agree it would look better to change the OTR to a hood. Find the hood--as someone has mentioned--at Sears outlet; also look at Costco. However, note that there might be a problem with the tile behind the range when you switch to a hood. I expect your hood will be around 9" tall, and an OTR MW is about 16" or so tall. Look to see if the tile goes up behind the OTR, or, does it stop at the bottom of the OTR? If the tile stops, then when you install the hood you will have several inches of drywall exposed, which will look worse than just having an OTR MW there.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 8:09AM
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Like others have said, change the OTR to a stainless hood, and skip the microwave all together. Your kitchen looks large enough that if having one is important to prospective buyers, they can fit it on a counter somewhere. Replace the dishwasher with the least expensive stainless model you can find (because buyers will like that). Make sure the counters are as clean as possible, and leave it at that. If prospective buyers don't like the counters but everything else looks fresh and nice (and your kitchen does), they won't balk at the idea of replacing them.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Home selling is so specific to the market. What does your real estate agent suggest?

Where I am (Atlanta suburb), granite & stainless appliances are near absolutes for family size homes. Anything else is a drawback, and there does not seem to be any significant payback for awesome appliances. Stainless is stainless. But I can see other markets being more open to different ideas.

If it were me, I'd hit up an outlet to stainless-up the kitchen. And then take that gorgeous range with me!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 9:39PM
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