Advice re: upgrades to sell house

February 25, 2017
Our home was built in 1997 and we purchased it in 2005. This is a builder's grade home built in an area where the land is ridiculously expensive (so the house price is in the low $1M range despite being an "average" house that might cost $300K in a normal neighborhood). There is also a new neighborhood about 2 miles away with brand new houses with upscale finishes (but the builders have crammed them in very densely so you could reach out and touch the house next to you with a broomstick!).

We have lived here 12 years and only did minimal aesthetic upgrades (e.g., painted the exterior/interior and upgraded appliances). Everything else has been more practical (e.g., added solar rooftop system, water softener, the "little firefighter" gas shut-off valve since we live in Earthquake country, etc.). Thus, the house still has the original tile countertops, vinyl flooring, fluorescent bathroom lighting, etc.

Our agent has asked us to replace the old tile kitchen countertop with granite (and put in a new sink), rip out the Berber carpet and put in laminate wood flooring, and replace the vinyl flooring with tile in the bathrooms. We are not upgrading the golden oak kitchen cabinets and she did not like my suggestion to paint them. I think they date the kitchen, even if you replace the countertop with granite. We already upgraded most of the appliances to stainless steel (Bosch DW, Miele gas cooktop, etc.) but there are still the black GE double wall ovens.

I don't even know how to begin with research. I don't want top dollar items--I just want it nice enough to impress a buyer so s/he offers above $1M.

Our agent suggested sticking with beige/cream granite (African Rainbow? Typhoon Bordeaux?), beige/cream tile (I haven't researched this yet but did see they have rectangular tiles that look cool), and a medium tone wood (Brazilian cherry?). My agent brought her contractor over and he said the rectangular tile may not look as good in a small bathroom/laundry room. It is about 300 sq ft total for the 2 medium size full bathrooms with bathtubs, 1 small laundry room "pass-through" from the garage, and 1 large master bathroom.

Can someone please suggest how to approach this? I'm nervous about just walking into a tile shop and pointing randomly....Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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