Author Topic: Refresh kitchen?  (Read 3684 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Refresh kitchen?
« on: February 19, 2015, 08:59:35 PM »
I have been thinking about moving to downsize and everyone (realtors friends and family) tells me that in my neighborhood (upper middle class bigger 17 yr old home) that it won't sell without upgrading the kitchen and bathrooms. I saw that granite hAs come down in price and thought maybe I should do the counters, add a backsplash (myself if I feel brave - but j can't do the counter) and fix cabinets (they are white wrap cabinets that are in need of touching up if that is possible, or replacing).

What do you guys think?  What is most worth it? And do I need to do this?  We have regular countertops now, no backsplash, no under lights, worn cabinets, linoleum floors in bathrooms, standard mirrors, etc

Who has good style eye and can advise me on what is worth fixing up and what j should leave?


  • Senior Mustachian
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  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: Refresh kitchen?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2015, 09:23:15 AM »
Find a top-notch realtor in your area who handles your type of house, and get his/her advice.  A top-selling realtor will know what buyers will want and what they will not care about.  They will also know the demographics of potential buyers.  No point doing renos for couples in their 40s and 50s if your buyers are in their 30s.

Just my own viewpoint, and I am not in the same geographic area as you - wrap-around cabinet finishes are not upper-middle-class (I have them in this house and that is not the local demographic).  I would guess a realtor would say to buy new doors, keep the cupboards if they are in good shape.  Good hardware can make a huge difference, too. Worn (or good) linoleum, same - tile or wood or bamboo.

But really, the local expert is your really good, really respected, top-selling realtor.


  • Stubble
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Re: Refresh kitchen?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2015, 11:00:15 AM »
You could also price your home to reflect that the kitchen will need updating. Not everyone will like the same thing. I personally would never purchase a home with granite counter tops or travertine floors, others love those things. Get in a good realtor or a couple and see what their opinions are. You don't want to invest too much in something you are not staying in and may not recoup the cost of.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Refresh kitchen?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2015, 11:03:11 AM »
Might get your realtor a higher commission, but it won't make you money.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Refresh kitchen?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2015, 11:14:19 AM »
Depending on the market you are in, you might not recoup the cost of the upgrades.  Find a smart realtor who can show you the difference in selling prices of upgraded versus not.  It's usually not worth doing more than painting, though the upgraded version will sell faster.  Are you in a hurry?


  • Stubble
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Re: Refresh kitchen?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2015, 11:25:21 AM »
Dark granite seems to be no longer "in". But of course some people still love it. So there's a segment of the market that won't like what you do, no matter what you do.

Are they really saying it won't sell, or just won't sell quickly and for top dollar? If you price the house appropriately, then it should sell whether it has a fancy kitchen or not. Of course, if things are obviously in BAD condition, then you will probably gain by at least fixing them so they are in good/serviceable condition. People wonder what else is in a bad condition that they can't see. But personally, no, I don't think I'd spend a ton doing the kitchen.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Refresh kitchen?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2015, 03:50:57 PM »
Depends a LOT on your demographic.  If this is in a neighborhood of million-dollar homes?  Upgrades will pay off.  If it's a $100k home?  Probably not.

Most important things when selling?  CLEAN, declutter, stage the house well, fix any little fixit items that need to be done, fresh neutral paint and a clean-or-new carpet does a LOT.  Take half the stuff out of your closets and store it off site so that they look roomy and organized.  Remove all personal photos.

Granite countertops are heavy and require sturdy cabinets underneath - if you go that route, make sure your cabinets can supports them, otherwise you may incur additional expense.

Tour model homes in your area to see what current decorating trends and finishes are like.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Refresh kitchen?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2015, 12:10:44 AM »
Ten years ago I debated a kitchen refresh.  I'm not selling yet but, may in the future.  Had I refreshed 10 years ago it would be time again.  I invested the money instead.  Made it fine with old kitchen.   My house is a fishing camp.  Buyer isn't buying for kitchen, thay are buying location. They can build the kitchen.


  • Stubble
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Re: Refresh kitchen?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2015, 10:03:02 AM »
If you're in a market where houses sell very quickly, I wouldn't bother renovating--just clean and declutter.  Consider as well the cost of the time delay involved in renovating vs. getting your house on the market sooner.

Realtors generally have a stable of "professionals" who do kitchens, bathrooms, decks, landscaping, painting, etc.  They have to feed these guys on an ongoing basis in order to get their own house (of latest flipper house) fixed/upgraded at the bargain rate they will require in exchange for all the referrals.  My point is that there are market forces at play here that have nothing to do with your house or the buyer expectations in your market.  A realtor will sell your house once but will interact with these contractors time and again over the years.

We recently watched a neighbor plow an easy $50k (maybe much more) into kitchen/bathrooms and landscaping on a 1950s split level.  It looked very nice, and may have added a little to the value of the house, but the increase can't have been as much as they spent.  Ironically, the buyer tore the house down to build a spec yuppie mansion which sold for over twice the sale price of the split level.  We did notice the new kitchen cabinets and fixtures were carefully removed, presumably for re installation elsewhere.