mtpo

Selling Condo — should I redo kitchen?

mtpo
12 days ago

I’m planning to move in about 2 months. I am hiring a RE agent to list my Townhouse/condo. I’m the second owner. The building is about 20 years old. I put in wood floors, a new heat pump, recessed lighting and some other upgrades but did not replace the kitchen or bath floors or cabinets. Before COVID, townhouses in this neighborhood sold really fast because we are in one of the best school districts in the US and close to a metro, major shopping areas and nice parks. Buying a townhouse in our neighborhood is one of the cheapest ways to get into this school district. Now I don’t know how important those features are. I had planned to sell the place “as is” — just painting, cleaning and making minor repairs, and price it knowing it needed a kitchen upgrade. However, recently, our DW conked out, several of the kitchen cabinet drawers cracked and can’t be repaired (they are thermofoil or something like that), the microwave door cracked and our stove looks pretty bad, even after cleaning it. Before the thermofoil cabinets cracked, our RE agent suggested we only replace the appliances and our out of date Formica countertops. However, I can’t see putting new countertops on these broken cabinets. So, now, should we replace the cabinets too or just the appliances and show the townhouse with the terrible, broken, crumby, kitchen? I know that when I looked at houses, a nice kitchen was a big pull for me — made me want to move right in. However, people say you don’t get your money back if you redo a kitchen just prior to a sale. One other factor, the builder of my new house is willing to pass along his discounted price if I decide to get a new kitchen for my old townhouse.

Comments (16)

  • PRO
    Syros Construction
    12 days ago

    Hi, I would be more than happy to help. If you would like to send me some pics through email or on here I can take a look at your kitchen and give you some good feed back on what I think you should do before you sell.

  • millworkman
    12 days ago

    If you put in 30K worth of repairs what will the town home sell for? What would it sell for in its current condition? Trying to see if the ROI will be there. Sometime 30K worth of work leads to `a 15K higher selling price and the time and effort becomes senseless when you can't even get your money back.

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  • H202
    12 days ago

    Depends on your neighborhood. Most places in the US it makes no economic sense to spend money on a kitchen before you sell, because you will only get a portion of that money back. Other places - typically, I think, urban, high cost of living areas with lots of younger people with money but not a ton of time - you can put in a $20k IKEA kitchen and paint the walls, and your home will increase instantly in value by $100k. Just depends on where you live.

    mtpo thanked H202
  • Hot Rod
    12 days ago

    Most people rip out kitchens, no matter how new/old they are, to design one that fits their taste. Clean it up, price it "as-is" and move on.

  • H202
    12 days ago

    With due respect to Hot Rod, I have no idea where anyone would get the idea that most people rip out kitchens. Have you looked around at most American homes? We've had to move around a lot, and the vast majority of houses have dumpy old builder grade kitchens - despite the price point. The exceptions are flip houses and new construction. And then people buy those houses - our friends, neighbors, etc - and 10 years later they are all still using the same crappy kitchen. There's a small contingent of people who have the money, time or inclination to renovate, but it's a small group. A larger contingent has the optimistic view that they will renovate, but for most they never get around to it. That's why i mentioned that redoing kitchens in higher income areas often reaps a financial gain - because the people buying in these areas have the money to pay an increased home price to have the kitchen already done so they don't have to worry about it after they move in. But most people are not redoing kitchens after they buy. They're mostly young buyers (no money for renos), or middle aged buyers (no time for renos). Empty nesters with money love to renovate, but they hardly make up "most buyers". So the vast majority of people who view your condo will either assume they can't or won't re-do the kitchen. So if you don't renovate it, you just need to keep the price low enough to make them willing to accept it.

    mtpo thanked H202
  • AJCN
    12 days ago

    An experienced realtor should be able to guide you for your exact circumstances. It comes down to your neighborhood, sometimes it comes down to the exact block you're on on your street. In my last house it would have made no sense because, even though it was a popular neighborhood, the little old houses (even if they were in good shape) were being torn down to build McMansions. An improved kitchen would have been meaningless to the buyer. In my current neighborhood, it does make sense, within a certain range, meaning we wouldn't want to over-improve. Your realtor should be able to share comps with you of townhouses similar to yours, and near you, for both scenarios. If it looks like it makes sense to put a certain dollar amount into the home, and you can stick to that budget, go ahead and do it and choose materials that will appeal to most people. But if the comps don't support it, clean and repair as best you can and price it accordingly.

  • eld6161
    12 days ago

    I agree with AJCN.

    Yes, a move in ready house can sell faster, but.....

    I would look at my competition. What’s on the market now? Is everything newly renovated?



  • megs1030
    12 days ago

    Agree with AJCN. I would NOT recommend a full remodel. And 2 months does not give you nearly enough time for that, especially in these Covid circumstances. I'd ask your RE to dive a little deeper as to what ROI new counters would bring you? That seems like a silly suggestion and kind of grasping at straws.


    What if you replaced the broken drawer fronts and replaced the broken DW. It seems like you've done quite a bit to the house already. So I'd probably just do the minimum, price to sell and move on.

  • Denita
    12 days ago
    last modified: 12 days ago

    I'm a Realtor in a totally different area from you. I agree with the comments that say NOT to renovate because you won't receive a return on the kitchen. It is expensive to renovate. A refresh will generally get you the best ROI depending upon your neighborhood and the extent of your refresh. Your agent should be able to show you what has sold recently and the condition of the kitchens in each of the sales.

    I've noticed that in the neighborhoods in which I work the best return is from replacing appliances with new appliances. Not the high end package but a medium appliance package on sale. This is good timing since we are close to the July 4th sales. Take advantage.

    Check with your Realtor to see what the newer appliances bring in the sales prices of your townhomes. It should be relatively easy to determine since you are in a TH community. Changing out the countertop? That is a hit or miss proposition. Is it in bad shape? Fresh paint is a better option along with repairs of the current cabinetry. If you were going to be there longer than 2 months, more like 2 to 5 years, a more extensive remodel could make sense (but still, not an expensive remodel). You already have a big benefit - the school system.

    Don't throw away equity on a kitchen remodel.

    mtpo thanked Denita
  • julieste
    11 days ago

    6 months ago we bought a 40 year old townhouse/condo in a very desirable area. The place is a dump and hasn't been touched since it was built. We finally have the second floor completely remodeled, and it is amazing how nice it looks compared to the first floor. The kitchen remodel has been my major stumbling block because I want to do more than just throw in new cabinets and counters. I should say that we bought wanting to remodel to fit our taste. From what I understand, there aren't many people like us and most people just want to move in and unpack and sit down.


    Here is what I'd so in your scenario. It sounds like you could just have the exact same kitchen configuration that is currently there, and that would save you money because you wouldn't be changing and mechanicals. Put in new IKEA cabinets and counter. Buy an appliance package on sale for the July 4th sales.


    BUT, only contemplate this renovation if today or tomorrow you can find a contractor who can guarantee that he will be able to get the work completed in the next six weeks. That gives you a little bit of wiggle room as far as time before you put your place on the market. Sadly, I am suspecting that you won't be able to find a contractor on this short notice.


    mtpo thanked julieste
  • schnoodlemom
    11 days ago

    I agree with those who say refresh. Can the cabinets be repaired? Just fix anything that is broken and price accordingly.

    mtpo thanked schnoodlemom
  • maifleur03
    11 days ago

    If they would fit IKEA has some doors that can be used to replace the existing ones. Depending on what is broken on the drawers IKEA also has fronts and/or drawer frames.

    mtpo thanked maifleur03
  • Hot Rod
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    H2O2 - "With due respect to Hot Rod, I have no idea where anyone would get the idea that most people rip out kitchens."

    I get the idea because everyone I know who has bought a house in the US in the past few years has ripped out the kitchen, and usually at least the master bath, before moving in.

    My friend in Phoenix updated her kitchen to the tune of $50k, sold the house, and drove by after closing to find a dumpster in the driveway that the new owners were throwing the custom cabinetry into.

    So, with due respect to you, I get the "idea" that most people rip out kitchens from the people I know who are buying and selling houses.

    mtpo thanked Hot Rod
  • mtpo
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    You all convinced me to just clean up and sell my townhouse until a big pantry door fell off my cabinet and almost gave me a concussion today! The door hit the floor hard and cracked and chunks of thermofoil chipped off. This kitchen is demanding to be replaced. It’s the weirdest thing —- no problems for 16 years and now everything is falling apart at once. If I believed in ghosts and ghouls, I’d think they were inhabiting my kitchen.

  • salonva
    8 days ago

    I wonder if in this case, it might make sense to reface? I had entertained it briefly. It's really not much cheaper than replacing, but for the time frame you have in mind, it would likely work a lot better. It's way less disruptive.

  • megs1030
    8 days ago

    I agree with @salonva, just reface your cabinets. There's no need for an overhaul and you honestly don't have enough time to do it. I'd just order new cabinet doors and call it a day.

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