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 Post subject: Renovating for resale without being stupid
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 2:56 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:50 pm
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Location: Vancouver, Canada
How do you know how upscale to go with renovations? My husband and I have a 3BR home in an area surrounded by new developments that have super-high-end finishings. Quartz counters, Subzero refrgierators, etc. Our place is 10 years old and so the finishings aren't as high end. We've put in hardwood floors. We're going to do granite counters (natural stone but not as high end as quartz). But it's the appliances that have us stumped. What do people expect? Our place will never command the prices of these newer places (with are probably worth $250k more). Still, we can't look cheap for future resale. What is considered a mid-range appliance? If it was just us, we'd go with something more entry-level. However, with resale in mind, we need to have a grasp of what most middle class people have. Any ideas?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:48 pm 
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This is a tricky question. All I can offer is a gut response and a couple of anecdotes.

My gut response is that you should install inexpensive but nice-looking appliances, if the appliances are included in the sale. Build the price around this. I don't think you can possibly hope to recover the cost of the appliances in the sale price, so it's best not to spend too much. Also, there are risks involve when you make changes to a house just before you sell it.

When we bought this house in 2004, the previous owners tore out the old carpet and spent several hundred dollars putting down new carpet. But when we moved in, we ripped that carpet out and gave it away free to somebody down the street. There were fresh hardwood floors underneath. When the previous owner heard about this (he lives just up the street now), he was sick. "If I'd known you were going to do that," he told me, "I would have just left the old carpet."

Some friends bought a 1920s Craftsman that had been recently refurbished. The previous owner installed new appliances, nice countertops, and gave everything a new paint job. The first thing our friends did was put up their own paint, tear up the countertops and put in something else, and replace the appliances with ones they actually wanted. They knew they were going to do this, so they offered less for the house than they would have otherwise.

I know this is all anecdotal, but that's all I have to go on...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:49 pm 
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I think a good idea, even if you're not planning to put the house on the market just yet, is to talk to a realtor (or two) that you trust. Realtors make it their job to know the market. They have a LOT more anecdotal evidence to rely on when it comes to return on investment. I've seen articles (sorry, you'll have to google) on how much particular home improvements increase the sales price of a home. I'm sure there's whole sections on appliances.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:55 pm 

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Thanks. My realtor said to go mid-range on everything. But what's considered mid-range for appliances? Basic GE, Whirlpool, Maytag, etc? Or do you have to step up to GE Profile?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:07 pm 
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ConsumerReports.Org wrote:
GE, Kenmore, Frigidaire, Maytag, and Whirlpool are the leading makers of ranges, cooktops, and wall ovens. Other major brands include Amana, Bosch, Electrolux, Hotpoint, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, and LG. Mainstream brands have established high-end offshoots, such as Kenmore Elite, GE Profile, and Whirlpool Gold. High-end, pro-style brands include Dacor, GE Monogram, KitchenAid Pro-Line, Thermador, Viking, and Wolf.

and
ConsumerReports.Org wrote:
For most consumers, pro-style ranges aren't the best choice. In our tests, they did no better than conventional ranges. Some pro-style models lack common features, and some brands have had higher repair rates.

I haven't bought appliances in a long time, but I've always been partial to Kenmore (Sears) for both reliability and ease of service. I don't have the über-schexxy stainless steel stuff though, and seeing them in a house I was considering buying would not sway me.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:45 pm 
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Location: Trumbull, CT
My brother recently sold his house and he was reall helped out by a few pieces of advice. The most important one was this:

Get a storage unit if your house is cluttered at all. Put as much in the unit that you can spare to make your house look bigger and more spacious.

Also, remove any photos of you or your family from the house. People don't like to think they're buying someone else's memories.

And the last is to paint everything a neutral color. It's supposed to pay to have your house be a blank canvas.

Another piece of general advice would be to install appliances that all match. I know it seems obvious, but the look of matching everything is appealing as well.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:50 pm 

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Yeah, I would go for Kenmore if it was just me. But I don't know that that would work in this neighbourhood. I mean, everything else for sale has Bosch, Kitchenaid, Subzero, etc. My husband thinks we should do GE Profile, but I'm thinking regular GE/Whirpool/Maytag would suit me fine. Not long ago, you would have seen new developments just pitching "stainless steel appliances", but now it's all "gourmet Kitchenaid stainless steel kitchen" and the like.

Thanks for the selling tips. We only bought this place in October, so we won't be selling for another 3-5 years. But we have gone with a neutral palette. (And when we sold our last place, we staged it, so I totally get you.)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:53 pm 
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consultantjournal wrote:
Not long ago, you would have seen new developments just pitching "stainless steel appliances", but now it's all "gourmet Kitchenaid stainless steel kitchen" and the like.


Last May we bought our current house with all new stainless steel appliances.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:05 pm 

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Maybe my questions are really specific to the Vancouver market....?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:44 pm 
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No, I don't think it's market specific. By the time you're ready to sell, the "pro" model appliance will be 3-5 years old. I doubt that is going to make a material difference in the sales price of your home one way or the other. (Someone who cares about upgraded appliances will likely complain that it's 3-5 years old, and someone who doesn't care won't place enough additional value in it to make it worth your initial cost.)

Therefore, buy what YOU would normally buy and assume that if a buyer doesn't like it, he can replace it himself.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:24 pm 
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Andrea, one way you could get a sense of "midrange" is to look at Sears' web site. They stock many many brands of appliances, not just Kenmore. If nothing else it'll give you a range of prices, so you can see what makes and models fall near the middle.

I know you're in Canada--if Sears isn't a major appliance retailer up there, I'm sure there must be a comparable corporation with a similarly comprehensive site.

Good luck with selling the house!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:10 pm 

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Okay, good. I just wanted to make sure that a 3-year-old GE or Whirlpool set of appliances wasn't going to be a deal breaker. I went to Sears a month or two ago and they told me the GE Profile and Maytag Professional & etc were mid-range. I would have thought they were upper-mid-range. Of course, it's not like they are going to try to sell me a lower model! Ha.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:13 am 

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You may also want to look at a Sears or JC Penney Outlet if there is one near you.

I bought the fridge of my kitchen fantasies, with a small ding on one door, for about 30% less than a perfect one would have cost. And I don't worry about The Boy kicking it.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:36 am 
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Mama's Money wrote:
You may also want to look at a Sears or JC Penney Outlet if there is one near you.

I bought the fridge of my kitchen fantasies, with a small ding on one door, for about 30% less than a perfect one would have cost. And I don't worry about The Boy kicking it.


Agreed. You can always put a refrigerator magnet over any imperfections.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:54 am 
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Kris and I bought a "nick and dent" fridge for about 30% off over a decade ago. There's some small bump in the side which is hidden when you actually install it into a recess.


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