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Kitchen update for resale

Posted by cmm1 (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 18, 12 at 13:23

We are planning on selling our house within 12 -18 months. We built the house 13 years ago so that is just about the right time for the original fixtures to be out of date! We had corian countertops which were popular in 1998. I have contracted to replace the counter tops with granite and am replacing the black island cooktop with a new stainless Jen air.

The granite I picked out is a darker color and was one of the least expensive pieces available. Even though I liked it I am starting to second guess my choice. I have spent a lot of time on the kitchen forums and jab been seeing more light colors.

I know I have to install granite. That seems to be the only countertop acceptable in our area. My question is whether to pick what I like or try and guess what a buyer would prefer?
Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I wouldn't do any of those things. You will never get your money back from "updates" in a tight market as long as the kitchen isn't a 1970's harvest gold horrorshow. Leave it as is and just make sure it's clean. As long as everything works, that is. If there is something that doesn't work, then replace that item only.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I wouldn't do it either. I would leave a notice somewhere in the kitchen for showings that says you will give an allowance for replacing the counters with granite to the buyers. Then they can pick their own granite.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I would not do it either. But I also wouldn't leave a note offering an allowance for new counters. Perhaps it's regional or maybe things are approached differently in a tight market with several similar homes to choose from, but my experience is that buyers offer based on their perceived value and will take that into account automatically.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

You may not get your money back, but buyers will knock off much more from their offers, because all of your competition has it.
So, pay "X" for a remodel now, or pay "2X" for it by receiving low offers.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I do not like stainless steel appliances or dark granite.

I personally would rather have a kitchen that I can update to MY likes/tastes.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

As a recent house hunter and buyer, one of my strongest criteria was a kitchen that had NOT been recently updated -- we also dislike granite/stainless, and do not want to pay to replace someone else's expensive taste (and wince at the waste that would entail). We want to make it our own kitchen with our own layout and finishes.

Don't know if we're unusual, but I think not. In our recent experience, the houses that had newly remodeled kitchens were overpriced because of the seller's perception that they would get their money back.

So much depends on the kind of buyer you expect for your house -- if it's a big family house, families with lots of young kids typically don't have much cash and might prefer a ready-to-use kitchen. Ditto if it's a small place for young couples or working professionals - they seem to prefer not to remodel. But for folks with older kids or 30+yr-old professionals with no kids, I suspect leaving it be is the wisest option.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I think circuspeanut is right, you need to think about the likely type of buyer. I don't like granite & stainless either, but would probably buy the place because I don't want to do a make-over, & don't care so much about the look. We fit the "working professionals" category ... too busy to supervise a remodel.
But I think a lot of people would prefer to do the remodel themselves and choose their own look.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I agree, it's not worth doing. Many don't like the 'modern' looks being pushed by decorators and prefer more traditional kitchens. Others may want the most up-to-date look, BUT prefer to choose their own colors and materials. I think either way you'll probably appeal to roughly the same number (not the same individuals, however) of buyers.

If you do want to update the counters, have you looked into the Rustoleum counter system thing? Under $300.

And stainless? I'd walk away, too--don't care for the look and especially dislike the fact that it's impossible to keep clean and scratches easily. Also, you'll NEVER get your money back on a high-end appliance. If you have to replace the cooktop, go with something more reasonable. It's hard to imagine, but there are loads of people out there who hardly use their range--a Jenair would mean nothing to them. Another suggestion? Head to your local used appliance store. We needed to replace our gas range when we sold. The cheapest gas ranges (not self-cleaning) from any appliance store would have cost over $500 installed. I went to the used store, and got a much nicer one (self-cleaning, warming drawer, other perks) that looked brand new--purchased, delivered and installed for under $400. My real eastate agent was green, because he needed to buy a range for a rental unit he managed, and was going to go to the same store--but I got the 'good' one before he did--LOL! I used it for about a year before our house sold, and it was wonderful! When you're selling a house, most of the appliances are used anyway--so if you can buy a good used one, and save several hundred $$$, why not?

The fact is, different people like different things. Often if your house isn't a clone of everything else on the market, it stands out. That really helped sell ours--it was an old house, and we'd chosen to maintain it's wonderful traditional look rather than updating everything--that appealed to many buyers. I'd suggest that you work with what you have, replacing only those things that don't work, and make sure that everything looks as well-taken-care-of as possbile. That's what's going to sell your house. Ours sold in 6 weeks, even though it was the 'out of step' house. And in that time, we had over 20 parties go through, with several interested enough to make return visits.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I think pricing it right and making sure the house looks clean and well maintained is going to be much more appealing than adding granite that may or may not be what a buyer likes. None of the updates you mentioned sounds like hard to do or messy for a buyer to have done on their own.

Clean and no deferred maintanaince will always get a buyers attention if they like the layout/location of the house.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

If you choose not to update just be ready for buyers lower offers to you. They will be reducing the price to what they think it will cost them to remodel. Not what it actually cost you if you did it. Oh, and do not leave a note telling potential buyers you will give them an allowance. That's just asking for trouble. Negotiate the reduction if and when you have a firm offer. NOT BEFORE! When you replace your counters with a dark granite(which I think is a good idea if that is what other houses in your area have) how will it look with your present cabinets?


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

A place you can move into without immediately remodeling will appeal to a lot of people. If granite is the going countertop in your neighborhood, go with the granite. If you think the black looks nice, then I would keep it and decorate accordingly. I've seen black countertops in several homes and it looks nice. I live in a neighborhood of homes that have been built in the last five years. We all have granite. Some people have light and some people have dark. As long as it doesn't look cheap and it isn't ugly, someone will love it.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I would be happy with a Corian countertop.

Would you like to post a photo of the room and get opinions on whether it looks out of date?


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Thanks for all the great advice. We are hoping to get 725k or more for our house. Everything else has been kept up to date (new master bath) so the kitchen counters show their date-1998. The natural cherry cabinets were custom made and in excellent shape. I also will replace the gold colored cabinets pulls-1998 also!

For the area we live in ours is a higher end home. Any other home listed for sale in our price range has a granite kitchen with stainless appliances. It is just expected. The slab I picked out is a very nice piece that should match my cabinets quite fine.

I would not consider giving an allowance for granite since technically there is not anything wrong with the corian it is just very dating. To allow buyers to start asking for their preferences in the form of an allowance is not an option. We just replaced a roof. This was not optional!

Even though I know house hunters is staged nearly every last buyer on that show is interested in the granite kitchen.

Thanks!


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

In your market niche you may also get a buyer who wants to redo the entire kitchen. It sounds as if there are some other potential issues such as an island cooktop with downdraft (?), which is currently not very popular. I would not buy a kitchen with new granite countertops and a new downdraft range because in my experience with clients, they have wanted to replace the downdraft with a conventional hood. This has probably been the #2 reason I've heard for remodeling, including a kitchen that was less than ten years old and barely paid off.
I might buy a house that I liked with an old downdraft in it because I would Not feel like I was paying for brand new items I would want to remove immediately.

No matter what you price the house at the Realtor could say " the price reflects that the buyer will probably want to update the kitchen." I heard things like this at open houses regularly.

Also, trying to predict a potential buyer's taste is not possible. My Realtor had clients who bought a house and said the first thing they were going to do was 'tear out that Awful kitchen' --that the sellers had spend 50K on and finished right before they had to put the house on the market.


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Also

I just bought a house that had 1.5 baths in it when I first looked. Between the time I first looked and tried to an offer (a week or so) the house disappeared from the market.

It turns out, based upon some feedback, that they were converting the half bath to a full bath.

The house accidentally got put back on the market for two days and I made an offer, as did someone else. BOTH of us asked if they would please NOT convert the half bath to a full bath, but the demolition was already done. It is the cheapest, most poorly done bath I have seen Ever in a house at that price point, because the owners didn't want to spend an extra nickel.

I don't know who convinced them to do such a thing. If there wasn't another offer, I would have offered LESS for the house than I would have before they did the work.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Palimpsest - dontcha just love it. Most of the work Ive done in my durn house has been undoing the cheezy remuddling. Wish they wouldve just let it be.

Right now I'm just starting to look for a house again after 15 years and Im not finding many that haven't been futzed with. The easy credit of 90s-00s apparently resulted in a lot of what they claim is updating (& for which I the buyer am expected to pay a premium for( but which I see as a liability, in that I have to undo all of it before I can make it into what I want it to be.

Just give me a kitchen that is clean and functional and let ME do the updating in my own time, is that too much to ask....


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Palimpsest and Kashka are right on. Leave it, as a lot of people are going to want to redo the kitchen anyway. Or do it, and know that you will still get feedback that the kitchen is dated and needs work.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I'm always amazed that buyers fall for that Pottery Barn look......but ya' know, the formula works! There's a local husband and wife team that still flips houses (even in this wretched economy) and they're quite successful. Every one of their kitchen remodels looks like a page out of the catalog. i.e. simple white Shaker cabinets, honed black/gray granite, wood floors,stainless steel appliances, and neutral wall colors. Nothing is over-the-top high end, but just, well, Pottery Barn fresh. (BTW, it's not my look, but I'd be willing to be a convert if it meant a sale!).

So if you can be your own general contractor and get the job done at a reasonable price, then go for it. The old adage that the kitchen "sells the home" sounds rather trite, but it's still true.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

The people on here saying that they actually look for homes with crappy outdated kitchens are a minority. Especially if the competition is updated and upgraded.
You can seel your home in either condition, but you must price it very smartly if you sell it as is. Even those buyers that are looking for an outdated kitchen are going to reduce their offer more than what it would cost to redo the kitchen. And it will probably take much longer to find that rare buyer that is looking for an outdated kitchen.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Thanks for all the replies. Countertops and new cooktop will total less than $8000.00 The kitchen already has a subzero, double jenair oven so a modest update will bring it in line with the rest of the kitchen.

Our area of country never had a real estate bubble. House prices have remained steady and houses priced right in a good school district sell fairly quickly.

I think maybe I have been spending too much time on the kitchens forum too!


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Countertops are such a personal thing. I would be disappointed in a kitchen with black granite. I would probably still buy, but would offer a lower price because it would be a NECESSITY to get new countertops.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

What do your Corian countertops look like?


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Corian countertops are not "outdated", even though they are currently not as popular as granite. You see it in many homes with a modern aesthetic. If it is a nice neutral color, leave it be and just replace the brass knobs and pulls (BTW, brass is also making a comeback.)

The big red flag is the downdraft on an island. To many people, that means an instant remodel. Putting in granite and stainless won't "update" that into a desirable feature ever.

However, if you don't start adding that 8K to the price of the house to pay for those updates, and you feel you'll enjoy it, however briefly, go ahead. But, if you think that you'll just add that to the asking price, or add even more for that "updated" kitchen, you are making a BIG mistake. New counters doesn't make it a new kitchen. It's still an older kitchen that many will want to immediately tear out.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

What does the competition look like?

Other houses at your price point in the same area?

Major improvements rarely pay off.

The most they do is speed up a sale sometimes (if a buyer likes them).

Renovation of very old kitchens to bring them up to near the competition can help, but 'chasing style' is a fools errand.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

We've got contradictory views here:

>"You will never get your money back from "updates" in a tight market"

>"Even those buyers that are looking for an outdated kitchen are going to reduce their offer more than what it would cost to redo the kitchen."

Quote 1 says you won't get your money back. Quote 2 says (in a roundabout way) that you will. Which is right?


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I'm with NCRealestateguy on this. These people on the messege boards are not your average buyer. the average buyer wants a done, updated kitchen. They will discount heavily if they feel it is outdated.

the OP wasn't asking if he should do this, it was what counter he should put in.

And this debate about improvments paying off, this isn't about an improvement, this is about an eyesore(or at least that is my perception). you have an otherwise perfect high end house that has a deficiency in the most expensive room in the place. you fix this. He's not remodelling a kitchen for resale, he's not replacing the siding for resale, he's bringing his countertops up to meet the remainder of the house. If A) the house really is beutifully updated and B) the corian really is screaming fake 1998 counter, then he will definately get more than his investment back. If the kitchen still screams 1998 but now has granite counters, then he won't get it all back. Its probably a bad idea for him to drop 50K-100K in a kitchen remodel regardless of condition at this point.

The popular time for Corian has come and gone. its not "outdated" but then no counter is, and for that matter no cabinet is either. it is out of style. Unless you picked the perfect color and pattern back in the 90s, it looks well, straight from the 90s.

If your cabinets are custom cherry and look the part of a modern kitchen, change the hardware and put new tops on.

I personally like some of the lighter granites, they hide more. I also find absolute black to be too modern bachlor pad-ish in the kitchen, and shows everything. If you are definately selling in 18 months, resale and minimized cost are the concerns. Put in the "normal" not the high end yellow river granite.


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If your home is in the high-end price bracket, then definitely get the Corian counters replaced. They would seem out of place in that price range of a home imo. I think the darker granites would look very nice with the cherry cabs and give your kitchen a warm feel to it. NancyLouise


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Thanks everyone for the generous feedback! I appreciate the feedback.

I am still planning on the granite slab update. The corian not only looks dated but it is the exact same as the public bathroom counters at the Pittsburgh airport! Talk about a cringe worthy moment!

The rest of the house has been kept up to speed with the 21st century! A new master bath replaced an all white and green tile bath look. Along with a new tile shower enclosure which replaced a one piece surround.

I have not given the granite people the final word on the color choice so I think I may have to rethink the dark counters in favor of a lighter look.
I agree that some corian may still be popular but the style I have is past it's prime.

The rest of the house is fine - when we built we thought we would be here forever so we have plaster walls, two by six framing, geo thermal heating etc. We know that these items may not mean much to some buyers though the geothermal we hope is a huge bonus. We have gotten our money back plus more for the system.

It almost feels the kitchen counters were an afterthought.

Thanks!


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

" These people on the messege boards are not your average buyer. the average buyer wants a done, updated kitchen. They will discount heavily if they feel it is outdated. "

That is why you need to know what the sales competition is like.

If nothing at the price point has "a done updated kitchen" it does not matter much what the buyers want.

They will have to spend more.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

There is a huge amount of real estate between "crappy outdated kitchen" and well-kept kitchen with custom cabinets and outdated countertop.

You may get a return on your investment in terms of a quicker sale, but if your granite is $6000, you are not going to get $6000 more in asking price just because of that. There are a number of upgrades that my Realtor puts in a category of "the buyer will love it/love that you did it...but they won't actually PAY for it." That was more the point I was trying to make.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Bricheeye... she said in her post that all of the competition has granite and high end appliances.
And yes, you may not recoup the $6000 granite costs, but if you would have left it outdated, the offers would reflect more than a $6000 hit. That is just the wau buyers are. So, in that respect, it will pay off.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Darker granite sounds better to me.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Since apparently the "typical buyer" doesn't even care what it looks like as long as they hear the word Granite, I would recommend the absolutely cheapest granite you can find, and that should fit the bill.:P


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

If all the other houses at the same price point are upgraded, you will probably take a hit, but are still unlikely to recoup the costs.

You may find a buyer looking to find the cheapest house in the neighborhood so THEY can upgrade (instead of paying for YOUR choice in upgrades.

I see it all the time with older houses (often owned by a surviving spouse).

They think they will get the prices they have heard the neighbors selling for.
They fail to realize that the neighbors have upgrades, possibly multiple times over the years.

They may not be brad new kitchens, but they are not 30+ years old either.

Upgrading a very old kitchen MAY pay fr itself, especially if it results in a faster sale.

If you own the place free and clear though (no mortgage) a faster sale may not have that much benefit since your carrying costs are already likely rather low.

Upgrading JUST to sell rarely recovers the upgrade costs unless the kitchen was VERY bad (as in so bad it dragged the price down a LOT).


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Why guess on this issue? Ask the realtor for a list of comparable houses that are on the market now, and look at the listing photos or attend their open days. That is the only way you will know if you "should" update your kitchen. If their kitchens have the upgrades that are the norm in your price range and yours does not, you will have to price it under theirs to be competitive. However, in my experience the majority of buyers want the work already done. I think you may be getting a skewed opinion here on this forum about not upgrading because people want to do their own work. Most people are not on gardenweb forums talking about houses, so the opinions here will probably not reflect the average buyers. :-)


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I'd much rather have Corian than granite, but doubt I'm typical. FWIW, though, a few articles lately have dubbed granite 'outdated'.

If you feel you must replace the counters, at least keep in mind the overall look, rather than focusing on just one element. Dark wood cabinets with dark counters can make for a dark, gloomy kitchen. Light spaces seem more likely to appeal to more people.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Thanks for all the feedback. I am still moving forward with the granite but will be rethinking the darker color. The kitchen forums are showing mostly lighter colors which will be easier to clean too!

It really will change the entire look of the kitchen-it already has a sub zero, jen air double ovens so I feel the countertops will have buyers looking past the kitchens good points.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

"The kitchen forums are showing mostly lighter colors which will be easier to clean too! "

??
How does the color make it easier to clean?


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I think they probably meant that they do not show grease and grime as much as black does. They both clean up with the same amount of effort.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Hmmm, having granite counters for over 14 years, I find that the darker colors are easier to take care of. I have Uba Tuba. It is a dark blackish/green with gold, blue, and white areas. It doesn't need sealing, is extremely durable and just wipes up with a little dish soap and warm water.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Darker the granite the harder and less porous it is. Light granite will stain worse than dark. There are fewer craters in the dark granite.

The black granites do not need to be sealed.

I have black with tan/grey/blue and it never shows streaks or stains. I use 50/50 alcohol mixture to clean the counters.

Again it will all depend on what the current buyers are interested in.

Ask several real estate agents what feedback they are currently getting regarding counter tops. What are their clients looking for?


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I have black granite in the bathroom. Soap scum and water marks are always keeping me busy with a rag. Lighter granite would not show as much spatters-both colors need to be cleaned. Still looking for the elusive self cleaning counter!


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Cmm, when you find it, inquiring minds want to know. Immediately! :-)


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I plan to sell my primary residence in the next couple years, current price range for this house is slightly less than yours, however it is towards the lower end for this community in metro west of Boston.

This house also has a 90's kitchen, custom cherry cabinets, Corian countertops, brass pulls, etc. I plan to update the cabinet hardware, maybe touch up a cabinet or 2 and the paint, but little else.

I DON'T like granite and stainless appliances, and think it's trendy and that it's possible it will be "out" in a few years. What if people look at all these granite countertops as outdated and tired some day, just as they look at Corian today? I figure the next buyer can do a relatively inexpensive remodel of the kitchen and update these features themselves if they want them and they can choose their own decor. I can't see spending thousands of dollars trying to guess at people's tastes.

Just my 2 cents.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Cmm1 - sorry I'm a little tardy on the debate. We are in your same position as far as age of home and being just out of date (shiny brass everywhere, eww). We did do the kitchen 'facelift' late last year-hoping to list in the spring of 2014. We do not expect to get our money back and accepted that going in but we DO expect to possibly get the sale over another comparable home because ours is updated, basement finished, etc. Hopefully it will payoff in a quicker sale. Time will tell.

Here is a pic of before (didn't snap a pic before we had the floors switched from white linoleum to porcelain slate) and after (almost complete when that pics was taken). The appliances have yet to be changed but they will before we sell since everything else in the kitchen has been done and the appliances are mis-matched (and the fridge is way to large for the space). Make sure you come back with an update!

FWIW - we did use uba tuba. It did happen to be the least expensive but it also went best with our oak cabinets so that was our overriding factor in choice. The cabinets were in great condition and decent quality so we didn't want to change them out too.


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Wow. The bottom picture looks much nicer. I never thought it made that much a difference!


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Thanks autumn 4 this really looks nice and makes such a difference. As I stated before we live in an area that is slow to trend so I think the granite will still help the sale. I am a kitchen forum junkie and stainless appliances and granite are still very much the standard. There is a trend towards the lighter countertops but your uba tiba looks great!


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I too am a kitchen forum (and now building a home forum too) junkie and no surprise on lighter granite being the trend - I am usually a few steps behind, lol!

Good luck with your reno and sale! I hope the market stays steady a bit longer. It's been pretty rough in our parts but has stabilized a bit.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Looks nice. I like the subway tiled backsplash. You can buy electrical face plates in a different color to not stand out so glaringly. You can even spray paint them to match better.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Thanks for the tip nc. I will check into that - just came across something like that on the kitchens forum the other day but I wasn't sure how they did it - bought or made.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I bought unfinished wood outlet plates and pained them to match my slate backsplash (I still need to swap out the actual outlets for dark brown)

Photobucket


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

"And yes, you may not recoup the $6000 granite costs, but if you would have left it outdated, the offers would reflect more than a $6000 hit. That is just the wau buyers are. So, in that respect, it will pay off."

"Paying off" means you get your money back.

Not very likely.

Maybe you can rationalize it with the carrying costs eliminated with a faster sale, but that is more of an investors point of view than a homeowner.

Most folks move directly from one house to another, so there is no actual 'carrying cost' since they are living in the house.

Unless you have an absolute disaster, improvements rarely return their cost.

They do NOT 'pay off' in that sense.

'Improvements' to things that every buyer expects (plumbing, heat, cooling in many places, electric, a roof that does not leak, etc.) are NOT going to 'pay back' either.

You are restoring the price back to 'base' level, not upgrading.


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Terriks - very nice. I am afraid I am handy but not so much crafty in a decor type of way. I may have to try my hand at that though. I never thought of painting wood. Thanks for sharing the pic!

Brickeyee-bad play on words, sorry. I do not expect to charge more for my home, but I do hope that it might get someone to purchase it over another home in our area. So the 'pay off' to me would be having a quicker sale, esp. in the housing slump we are in. We did put a new furnace in which has literally paid off for us in our heating bills but again, don't expect to get 'paid' for that either. It will likely be appealing though to a buyer that they will not have to replace the furnace anytime soon. :)


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

I know people say that improvements you won't get your money back...... however, I do think Autumn's kitchen is a perfect example really. I don't know how much they spent, but its basically the cost of the granite, a backsplash and a faucet. my guess is somewhere around that 6K number thrown around, maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less.

I would argue that you can easily see a 5-10K price difference between the before and after pics, possibly more, where a buyer sees i have a function but older kitchen that I want to update, compared to I have a fully updated kitchen. Again, this is in my market, not yours, and most likely on a 400K-500K house.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Autumn, the paints that I used were acrylic paints from the craft store in a metallic finish, because my copper slate has a bit of shimmer to it. I just sponged them on and blended them to mimic the slate. Then I sprayed the cover with a clear sealant.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Terriks-did you spray the actual outlet as well? No issues with it coming off or causing problems with plugging in and out (paint chipping)? This actually sounds like a bit of a fun project and if I didn't like it not to costly to have a few tries.

Chrisk327-haven't updated appliances yet so that will add $$. I think for flooring (kitchen and dining room), granite, backsplash, under-cabinet led lighting and pulls we were at around there for materials - no labor. We did all of that DIY. Small kitchen though - roughly 10x10. We figured the new may not be EVERYONE's taste but the old was likely NO ONE's, lol! In our market here - most people do not buy and then renovate right on top of the purchase so we should 'show' well with some updates.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Terriks-never mind - I just looked back at your pic and see you didn't do the actual plug. I think I saw one elsewhere that was done and that had me concerned.


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RE: Kitchen update for resale

Yeah, I still need to get my husband to change the outlets out to brown.


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