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Kitchen remodel on the cheap...
Old 09-22-2011, 04:23 PM   #1
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Kitchen remodel on the cheap...

Presumably there are some real estate experts, flippers and others here who would probably have good insights.

We expect to sell our home in the next few years. The roof, furnace, AC, hot water heater, and all appliances have been replaced. The whole house was just painted. The 2-1/2 baths have all been updated in the past few years too.

However, we have not tackled the kitchen at all. Everyone seems to want granite countertops, tile or wood floors, high end cabinets and stainless steel appliances. Our kitchen is in good condition, but we have Formica countertops, vinyl flooring, mid-grade cabinets at best and white appliances with black fronts. We're not even in the HGTV ballpark.

Redoing all that would cost a fortune, so I hate to do it. What would you replace for the most bang for the buck? For example, I've considered replacing just the floor and countertops. A new buyer can replace appliances easily, and I can always do so to make a sale. I hate to replace the cabinets because it appears to be the big cost item with labor added.

I realize you may tell me to replace everything, may have to if other houses in our price range all have updated kitchens. Just hoping I can make do with less of an investment.

Suggestions?
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:26 PM   #2
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Granite is really a big deal to some buyers, so I'd do that for sure. If your cabinets look bad, but are sturdy, then you could just paint them and change the hardware.
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:35 PM   #3
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I'd do the counter tops and floor. Maybe reface cabinets, or just clean up with new hardware.
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:51 PM   #4
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The house we bought in 2008 had a similar issue, sellers upgraded to granite counters, nice ceramic tile flooring, newer sink, Grohe faucet, newer dishwasher, Dacor gas cooktop and Broan vent hood. Problem was they left the circa 1963 cabinets, refrigerator (no freezer) and 24" wide double electric oven unit. I believe it was a huge reason we were the only people that made an offer on this house. We really low balled the offer and were shocked they counter offered us. Now I'm stuck having to solve this dilemma, problem is there's 71 cabinets to reface/replace and a 24" oven that isn't very useful for the holidays, 20+ lb turkeys don't fit or big Costco pizzas either! Keep in mind this was when the housing market was on the decline, but nowhere near where it is now.
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:07 PM   #5
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We re-did our 1990's kitchen in 2008. We did it to suit ourselves, not Future Buyers, who are fickle anyway. Anyway, we kept the original oak cabinets, which are generous, but do NOT stretch to the ceiling or enclose the fridge (we dislike that look). We also have a small "butler's pantry" off the main kitchen, and we included this in the renovation.

For $20K (remember we live in a high cost area), we:
  • replaced the worn vinyl floor with glossy hardwood,
  • the Formica counters (they were very good quality Formica on wood - in perfect shape - sorta hated to have them taken away) with the most exotic granite I could find (I'm a rockhound, so this was really fun );
  • replaced the fluorescent ceiling fixtures with ceiling lights and a cool modern hanging fixture over the island;
  • replaced all the appliances, including the double oven, with new almond appliances that complement the granite (we rejected the popular stainless steel look because it attracts fingerprints);
  • replaced the old double sink with a larger, deeper single one,
  • installed a $450 imported stainless steel faucet that looks like a sculpture,
  • painted the kitchen walls (our labor);
  • and had enough left over to buy an 11x14 wool rug (for the eat-in area) that brings all the colors together, and
  • replace a couple of hallway ceiling fixtures with sparkly new ones (the electrician gave us a package deal w/the kitchen).
Every single day since then, I walk into that kitchen and feel that I am in a beautiful place. It is hard to believe that it doesn't increase the value of our home. As I said it is almost impossible to keep up with the latest fads that all the buyers want, so we didn't try.

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Old 09-22-2011, 06:28 PM   #6
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In order of importance:
  1. Appliances
  2. Countertops
  3. Flooring
Cabinets can be refinished, and/or hardware changed. Brass is out, brushed nickel is in...

But save the old ones, 'cause brass will be back in eventually.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:10 PM   #7
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We had to sell my Mother's home when she move to an ALF a few years ago and the kitchen was right out of the 60's when the home was built. It had been maintained pretty well until her last few years there.

We decided just to have it cleaned up, painted and leave the new kitchen up to the buyer as we discounted the price of the house.

The home sold in about 2 months in October 2008 which was the bottom of the market. The first offer was low but reasonable for the market at the time so we took it.
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR View Post
In order of importance:
  1. Appliances
  2. Countertops
  3. Flooring
Cabinets can be refinished, and/or hardware changed. Brass is out, brushed nickel is in...

But save the old ones, 'cause brass will be back in eventually.
We have done this in every house.

Kitchenaid dishwasher.

Gas stovetop (model varies).

In our present house, we tore out the linoleum (the hardest part) and I laid down engineered cork flooring. (DW had lust for it ever since we saw it in Denmark in a kitchen.) Strongly recommended. Cork looks really good and if you drop stuff, it doesn't readily break. And it is really nice to walk on.

Counter tops. Granite sounds good, but don't drop anything on it AND it stains. We use carefully selected Formica-type stuff. The last time, we loved the stuff at Ivar's at Mukulteo, asked the main office what it was, and bought it for our kitchen. In Houston, we put down tile countertop. Not really a good idea. One day, I might try a concrete top. We have seen a show on how to do it and it is well within our abilities.

We converted the house to gas. It was in the house but the house was electric. The gas company brought it into the house on the condition that we bought 4 gas appliances in one year. No problem. Stovetop, oven, gas water heater and two gas inserts for the fireplaces.

Of course, you use contractors to install certain things, but we put in flooring and counter tops on our own, without too much difficulty. I figure we saved about half of what someone who just called a contractor would have paid, and we got the best workmanship--ours!
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:12 PM   #9
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I'd chime in for new countertops and a really nice sink with cool faucet. That is the kind of feature that really stands out. Plus the floors.
Leave the cabinets, but clean and paint and update the hardware if it is dated.
As long as the appliances look okay and are functional, not rusty or anything, they are probably fine.
We have wood floors and wood countertops. Had a friend put in really neat teak and holly plywood counters with nice solid teak edges. Polyurethane on top. Unique and easy to clean.
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:50 PM   #10
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If your home has other really desirable traits and the existing cabinets look decent... you may still get your (net) price. For example: if you have a really desirable location.

But if your home is just like everything else around it and others are selling, you might have to do something.

You can always do the minimum to get the house prepared, list it and see what happens. If it is not working, you can take it off the market, do the upgrade and put it on the market a 2nd time!
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR View Post
In order of importance:
  1. Appliances
  2. Countertops
  3. Flooring
We've talked to some RE Agents about preparing our house for sale and most agree with this.

Quote:
Cabinets can be refinished, and/or hardware changed. Brass is out, brushed nickel is in...


But save the old ones, 'cause brass will be back in eventually.
...and brass looks great with avacado or harvest gold
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:15 PM   #12
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...and brass looks great with avacado or harvest gold
Hey, watch your language...
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:31 PM   #13
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Hey, watch your language...
That inside joke might be a little obscure for this crowd...

This is as weird (and sick) as it gets
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:05 PM   #14
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I wouldn't replace anything. You won't get back what you put in. Price sells in this market. Besides, if you can't sell, then you might want to rent it and you don't want tenants destroying your investment.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:10 PM   #15
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We did granite counter tops, appliances and knobs a couple of years ago. Nothing cheap about any of it, including just the knobs. Next up is a face lift for the master bathroom, ugh.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:41 PM   #16
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I wouldn't replace anything. You won't get back what you put in. Price sells in this market. Besides, if you can't sell, then you might want to rent it and you don't want tenants destroying your investment.
That makes sense to me in this market. However, realtors we've talked to do push for the granite and stainless steel upgrades saying these are popular and set your place apart.

I have wondered how useful it would be to give an "allowance" to prospective buyers to replace old countertops/applicances etc. so they can pick out what they like.

Any opinions on this?
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:24 PM   #17
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How old are the appliances? How much more out-dated will the kitchen look when you sell "in a few years"? Why not redo all the kitchen stuff now and enjoy it til then.
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:31 PM   #18
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How old are the appliances? How much more out-dated will the kitchen look when you sell "in a few years"? Why not redo all the kitchen stuff now and enjoy it til then.
OK, but how about if you're planning to sell in a few months??
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:37 PM   #19
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OK, but how about if you're planning to sell in a few months??
OP said he is planning to sell in the next few years.

Good luck to anyone who has to sell a house in the next few months!
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:03 PM   #20
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Re: granite tops. We looked at every granite place in two counties (and there are a lot of them). Remember I am a rockhound, so this was fun "prospecting" for me We also visited a lot of model homes, all of which boasted of granite. And, amazingly, people who were granite contractors' references, actually invited us into their homes to see their countertops.

We learned that builder-grade granite looks blah, and stains easily. Not all granite will stain easily - if it did, it couldn't be used for statues and buildings that are exposed to the elements for hundreds of years. Also, you will find 3/4-inch granite veneer bonded to plywood, which costs far less than the solid stone.

Based on research, we decided that in a used home, we'd rather get good Formica or Corian than builder-grade granite.

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