PINK 80's Kitchen!!

Katie Engel Spee
November 19, 2019

House is part of an estate going on the market. A buyer will probably want to do extensive kitchen / bath remodeling. Welcoming ideas for inexpensively replacing counters and backsplash (which are formica), and knobs. Everything else has to stay as-is, including pink'ish floor. This home is traditional/transitional in New England. Thanks in advance!

Comments (47)

  • shead

    I'd just leave it all as is. As you said, buyers will likely want to change it all out anyway and will be able to see past all the pink. Any money spent will be wasted.

    If you do anything, you could paint over the pink backsplash. That won't cost much to do. Just sand it lightly, prime it with a good primer, and paint over with a color matching the wall paint. We did that (along with painting over laminate countertops) as a cheap, temporary fix to the avocado green laminate counters and backsplash in a house we bought from DH's aunt.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked shead
  • Denita

    Don't replace the counters or the backsplash.

    According to your post, the house is going on the market as an Estate Sale.

    The best thing to do is to first make sure all the probate paperwork is in order. Not as easy as it sounds. Make sure you provide the paperwork either to a title co or a real estate attorney to review the title work and chain of title. I see errors all the time where probate attorney's have not done the right paperwork for the estate when it comes to real estate part of the probate process. You want to make sure that everything is in order before you put it on the market. The benefit to you is that the property can then close on time when you accept an offer. I have seen delays lasting (many) months when the real estate paperwork has errors. A probate attorney is not a real estate attorney (usually) and that's why the probate work can be done correctly but the real estate portion contain errors.

    The best thing to do for the property physically is to clean it from top to bottom. Super clean. Make appropriate repairs. This does not mean decor. Take out all the little items (stuff) before you put it on the market. If it is furnished, pare down to the essence. If the furniture is old and bulky, remove it and stage the property's main rooms. This will give you the best return.

    Anything you do to the countertops and backspash will be money thrown away.

    Price the property appropriately.

    Your Realtor can provide you the actual comp sales for properties in your condition. Come up with a strategy. My experience with estate sales is that they sell fast, usually with multiple offers to someone that has the ability, the money and the vision to rehab.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Denita
  • eam44

    It's actually a great space. New counters will make everything else look older - especially the appliances. Still, if you want to make it less pink, and have buyers think, "I can live with it for a bit..." go for counters in a very light beige with a pink undertone, and use the same material as a backsplash all the way up the wall, just like the original, budget permitting. Remove the stainless steel bs. Paint that beam the same color as the ceiling, and steam clean those floors. The entire space should be immaculate.

    This is Corian in Linen - they make switch plates as well - buy them.

    This is Wilsonart laminate in Natural Nebula. I'm sure re-laminating your existing substrate will be less expensive than solid surface, but I've heard the difference is negligible.

    Don't spend too much on the cabinet pulls. Something like this, featured here at Houzz, would be fine. Based on what I can see in your space, this should cost around $100.

    There are skins that allow you to change the appearance of your appliances - that DW should be stainless ($50). So should be the fridge ($150), unless it is paneled. If you can possibly afford a stainless range as well, you will be in great shape. The Black Friday sales have already begun...

    Katie Engel Spee thanked eam44
  • decoenthusiaste

    I don't think people expect estate sale properties to be staged for realty viewings. They want to buy an "as is" property cheap and do what they want to it afterward. Empty it, clean it and sell it reasonably. They're looking for a bargain they can rehab, and they'll know what needs to be done; they won't have high expectations, and will rip out whatever you do anyway. Don't waste your time or money. If you want to increase prospects, spend a little time/$$ getting the yard in order so the whole package entices buyers to the sale because it looks like a nice, well kept home from the outside.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked decoenthusiaste
  • Sharon Perkins

    I bought a house last year with a gut job kitchen. They kept talking about "sprucing it up a bit" before selling it and I kept telling them not to bother. Anything quick fix you put in will just be town out.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Sharon Perkins
  • Denita

    deco, normally I would agree about not staging an estate. Most estates need a tremendous amount of work and go to investors that don't need staging. If this property needs lots of repair then forget the staging and market to an investor.

    However, in this instance the property is not really all that old (1980's). It's possible that it is in good repair. If so, then this particular estate and others like it are also available to buyers that would actually move into the property and refurbish to their desires. Many of those primary residence type buyers don't have the ability to see the room sizes without furniture. And, if it's filled with old, overstuffed type furniture, it will cloud their vision and reduce the ultimate sales price. For properties that are in good repair but just need updating, staging is a viable way to showcase the size of the rooms. You don't have to stage the whole property, but the main rooms (entry, LR, MB) to yield a, very nice return IME.

    You are spot on about the curb appeal. It is very important.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Denita
  • eam44

    I would normally just say leave it, but for a few thousand you can actually have a great kitchen in that space before you show it. The cabinets are fine, the layout seems fine, I would actually put a little into it. Kitchen renovations are a huge hassle. You might get better offers if your buyers think they really don't have to change much.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked eam44
  • Lisette Mauch

    Depends on market, of course, but around here many many estate sale homes are sold to individual home owners vs investors. In those cases, much of the furniture is cleared out and what’s left, if it lacks sentimental value or is not desired by the family, is often offered to buyers, which saves money over having to find someone to clear it out.

    If this kitchen is indicative of the rest of the home, I think minimal staging and clean clean clean would be your best bet. I wouldn’t invest in changing counters, knobs, etc

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Lisette Mauch
  • felizlady

    Don’t waste money on anything in the kitchen of a for-sale house. You recognize that the entire kitchen will be redone by the buyer, so don’t throw money down the drain by replacing the counters or anything else.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked felizlady
  • apple_pie_order

    I'd add professional tile floor cleaning to the other cleaning items. If you replace or paint the pink Formica counters, the next-most-outdated item in the kitchen will be more prominent, and so on.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked apple_pie_order
  • apple_pie_order

    When we start making updates to a house that's older but not valued extra for its vintage charm, there's a tendency for "might as well change this and that, too ...". It's like giving a mouse a cookie. Resist. In my area, we get back our money on cleaning, painting and the obvious repairs (for example, broken door knobs, back yard gates that don't close, hinge screws that need tightening, drawers missing a drawer pull). If there are other heirs involved, setting out what can be done for a couple of strawman budgets for the prep can help you reach agreement.

    As for furniture left for staging or removing everything, talk to your agent or ask about it when you interview agents.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked apple_pie_order
  • pamghatten

    You could do a peel and stick back splash, just to change the look. Google it or look on Amazon.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked pamghatten
  • Angel 18432

    Don't throw any money at this kitchen. Even a few small changes will be torn out

    by new owners.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Angel 18432
  • Shirley Douds

    I am laughing because this reminds me of my kitchen. Bought the house 2 years ago and lived with it this way. Glad it wasn’t fixed up for the sale. Now everything will be gutted and I’m getting my forever dream kitchen. Do nothing with that kitchen. Save your money.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Shirley Douds
  • tartanmeup

    I can't be the only person who wouldn't turn up her nose at a pink counter. :)

    Katie Engel Spee thanked tartanmeup
  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn

    I would clean it and make sure all broken things are repaired so it shows as a well cared for home and put it in the market. THEN if there is no action on it, maybe consider some changes.

    What does your realtor say??? They are the ones who are getting paid to help you out?

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Debbi Washburn
  • PRO


  • B F

    super wasteful if it seems likely the buyer might just replace it again. don't do it.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked B F
  • Katie Engel Spee

    Denita, thanks for the valuable perspective about proper paperwork.

  • Katie Engel Spee

    eam44, thank you for all your suggestions and accompanying pics!

  • Katie Engel Spee

    great point, apple_pie_order about the next oldest thing becoming what people would notice!

  • Olychick

    Perhaps someone out there would love to have a funky pink kitchen. Not me. But you just NEVER know! I'd leave it as is.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Olychick
  • arcy_gw

    Can't stand it when the back splash is counter top material. Formica is about as inexpensive as you can get. Maybe just popping off the back splash and painting would tone down the pink. The counter-tops appear to be in good shape. Leave it for the buyers to change--worry about clean/fixing broken.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked arcy_gw
  • Katie Engel Spee

    Debbi Washburn, thanks. It was actually the realtor who suggested a counter-top change. I like your suggestion to try it without the changes (aster a super-good cleaning!), and seeing what happens.

  • Katie Engel Spee

    Thanks so much, Houzz community! I so appreciate all your advice and points of view.

  • ulisdone

    Pink is a very trendy color now. Some millennials might love this kitchen. It is a very cheerful and inviting space.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked ulisdone
  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    Clean it and then clean it again do not throw money at this if there are obvious things needing repair do them , we bought an estate sale house and knew when we bought it we were going to gut it we paid a fair price the sellers were happy and we were happy. IMO if you are selling the furniture with the house leave it in otherwise don’t

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  • Dormelles

    @Katie Engel Spee I love pink kitchens and as a potential buyer would view this as an asset as far as a color I would enjoy until I could upgrade to newer materials of my choosing.

    We just went through the process of selling an estate home and had several different realtors evaluate it. Everyone wanted us to change something different about it before putting it on the market, some of those changes being big-ticket items! Buyers who walked through all wanted to do different things to the house. Ultimately, we were easily able to sell it as it was for a fair price due to other intrinsic advantages of the house such as square footage, lot size, and location. Every buyer has a unique set of desired features. I hope you have a good experience and that the sale goes quickly.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Dormelles
  • Steph P

    I think that look is very cool with all the pink. Love the 80’s. If not in bad shape I would keep it for a while and possibly do a big remodel way down the road.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Steph P
  • treesstandingtall

    Probably most people will detest the color for the kitchen. And although it is obvious that much more needs to be done, those pink countertops and backsplashes can 'hurt' the eyes so much, that the value drops down in people's eyes tremendously.

    So despite what many others have written before, about throwing money away because the new owners will replace it anyway, I'd think it is worth the little bitty bucks you spend on it to not crash the value of this house, and eventually throw much more money away.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked treesstandingtall
  • Snaggy

    Someone will buy as is ..and rip the kitchen out anyway ..save you're money !

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Snaggy
  • bubblyjock

    I'd leave everything and make sure you have an articulate witty realtor who can incorporate "retro" into their blurb describing your kitchen! Won't cost you a thing, may sell the house ;)

    Katie Engel Spee thanked bubblyjock
  • PRO
    JudyG Designs

    80’s house with an 80’s kitchen in beautiful condition….leave it as is.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked JudyG Designs
  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    If the house is not a "tear down" (which describes many homes in my area), you'd be better off spending money on infrastructure--HVAC, roof, foundation repairs, etc. These are the items that no one wants to have to do--everyone wants to do the "pretty" things, like new kitchens and baths, repainting, pretty landscaping. Even new windows are not a good idea, as new owners may want to rearrange them for new interior spaces.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
  • rainyseason

    Wow, I agree, make it clean, but don’t change a thing! My favorite thing when house hunting is what I call a Grandma House— well cared for but unremmuddled since it was built. People who want to reno will likely tear out anything you put in, save your money.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked rainyseason
  • rnonwheels

    I would leave it alone and concentrate on any repairs that you could do. If it looks like initally it was well built, and any updates were professionally and well done, it will fetch more than if it looks like there are things being hidden, painted over, covered up. If it's clean someone will (owner occupied) figure it's ok to live with and if need be they will put the lipstick on it, their way, until they reno.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked rnonwheels
  • just_janni

    A pink kitchen only needs a TOWEL PIG!

    Katie Engel Spee thanked just_janni
  • erinsean

    Brings back memories....We moved into a house with pink Formica counter and back splash and the cupboards were painted white. This was in the 70's and I loved it (loved pink) We had a business where people came to our house and I got so many complements on the cheeriness and cleanliness of the colors.

  • Thomas Wadden

    If you do anything at all, sand and paint the cabinets. That can be done for relatively cheap (it is time consuming though) but everything else will be expensive. Otherwise, just sell.

    Katie Engel Spee thanked Thomas Wadden
  • Katie Engel Spee

    LOL, just_janni!

  • Katie Engel Spee

    No, definitely not a tear down, Diana Bier. Infrastructure in good shape. Appreciate your perspective and advice.

  • Katie Engel Spee

    treesstandingtall, our realtor agrees with you. Thinks the counters, back splashes, and knobs need to be changed for photos, just to get people in the door.

  • Katie Engel Spee

    Dormelles, thank you. The pink has grown on me tremendously thanks to all the comments on here!

  • tartanmeup

    Do you need to show the kitchen online? I often see houses in real estate listings that omit bathrooms or kitchens.

  • Denita

    Omitting a small bathroom is one thing, but omitting a kitchen will hurt the listing more than including photos of it. Without a photo, potential buyers will imagine much worse than what this kitchen is IRL.

  • acm

    Realtor doesn't have to pay any part of the new counters, but she gets a % of any increase in sales price, even if it's less than you spent. Let them be unless the comps indicate that any buyer would be planning to live in it unchanged.

  • calidesign

    All you need to do is offer a "countertop replacement credit" to the buyer, in whatever amount you were planning to spend. That way they get to choose their own finishes, or apply the money toward an all new kitchen. It gives the buyer options, which are always better than wasting your money on something they may tear out anyway.

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