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I used them a little over a year ago when we re-did our kitchen and bathrooms. I highly recommend them.
BTW...we bought a CC house with the ugliest kitchen ever. We had a blue speckled Corian counter on our island. I think our house sat on the market a lot longer than the average CC house due mostly to the kitchen and some other outdated aesthetic issues.
If you do go with granite (love mine and would look for in another home -- we are serious cooks and love its heat resistance) be sure to go for granite SLAB! No granite tile. Better a new Corian or formica than granite tile. Shudder.
Go with inexpensive granite in a neutral shade. Granite and stainless appliances are pretty much expected nowadays. Of course there is always someone who won't like it. And I'm sure plenty of people will reply to this saying how much they hate granite (and stainless). But you are looking to appeal to the MOST people, and granite will do that.
As far as offering allowances goes, most buyers would rather have move-in ready than deal with the hassle of moving and then deal with the hassle of replacing things, especially in a house that is not that old (like yours). Even if it may not be the granite they would have chosen, it is usually viewed as something they can live with for now and do later or get around to eventually if they want to . And believe it or not, a lot of people shopping in Circle C in that price range feel as though they simply can not live with formica.
And I totally agree with the previous poster. Go with granite slab and not granite tile. Tile just send the message that you were too cheap to put in slab.
I think the support for doing it (at least from my client who is a real estate brokerage in Circle C) is that it might cost you $5-6K (depending on how much footage you need) but it might increase the perceptive value by $10-12K. Countertops matter to some for sure, especially if they are nice ones. Also matters what price range you are in. I would also encourage you to stage your house. I was SHOCKED at how much better my house looked after it had been staged. Many realtors now include it as their cost, not yours. I didn't budge on the countertops (left my laminate) mostly because of time constraints (we relocated in under a month) but I had just done some other major upgrades so felt like the house as it was showed really well. I was right...it listed on a Thursday night after 9pm and was sold by 8:30am the next day to the first family that looked at it.
But my neighbor across the street in Circle C had the opposite experience. She arguably had the cuter, better house with all other things being equal (same sq footage, bedrooms, etc) but it wasn't staged (though decorated immpecably) and it sat for over 2 months. She listed before I did and sold well after and about $17K less than ours though list price was the same. Actually sold after she had gleaned some decor out and took a stager's advice. Who knows if that was it? Find a good, experienced selling agent and trust what they tell you.
That being said, CCR really has a low amount of inventory with a good amount of buyers looking for homes. So maybe you do nothing and it goes fast? The danger is it sits on MLS and then people start wondering why...
At present there are only 28 homes Active for sale in Circle C, which is the lowest inventory in many years. Typically there are 50-100 homes for sale in CC. There are now20 Pending listings, resulting in an Active/Pending ratio of 3:2, which is very high.
Median Days on Market for Pendings is 12, Avg DOM for Pendings is 29.
High/Low DOM for Solds so far in 2012 is 13 Days High, 6 Days Low, 10 Days Median and Average.
It's a Sellers Market. Don't waste money upgrading. Your home will get showings immediately the first 3 days on market. If you stage it properly and price it right, you'll have it under contract within a week.
That said, I would follow your Realtor's advice, provided you have an experienced Realtor familiar with the market conditions, the area, and the comparable listings.
But consider this:
Working with buyers, it's more common to experience negative feedback about the partial and often obviously impulsive upgrades that leave a home in disharmony (or worse), than it is to hear complaints about a clean pallet, not ruined by the former buyer's poor taste. Doing just the kitchen countertops without also taking a comprehensive look at the entire set of needs in the home is, in a word, dumb.
Countertops are not a standalone item. Countertops trigger questions about cabinets, flooring, hardware, lighting, etc. Then it all bleeds into the adjoining areas and next thing you know you're talking about a remodel. I've had more buyers tear out brand new countertops, carpet, tile, repaint, etc. than I can say. Often, they say "I wish they'd have either gone all the way with it or left it alone".
Without seeing your house I'm just speculating on where you fall within that spectrum, but based on market conditions alone, give the home outstanding curb appeal, declutter and stage it as-is and don't replace countertops.
I could be wrong.
Last edited by austin-steve; 01-24-2012 at 08:06 PM..
Reason: egregious typos and grammar errors.
I think Austin-Steve's advice is right on the money. I'm not a real estate agent or in the business, not a designer / remodeler / etc., but I looked at probably 200 + houses here (over a year) before I bought one.
Saw all kinds of things! For me personally, I couldn't have cared less about "move-in ready" as spawned by HGTV and their ilk. People just need to get over that already!
Sold my house which was "move-in ready".............as you could have moved in and just been fine, but it wasn't "up to standards." The kitchen needed a remodel to bring it up-to-date, and the house was priced and sold accordingly.
Bought this house which needed a redo in the kitchen, but again, it was bought and sold accordingly. (FYI, put in quartz.)
If we had spent the extra money on redoing the kitchen in the house we sold, we would have seen very, very little return on the investment, and we lived there for over a decade. It makes absolutely no sense to me to redo those countertops in your home just to sell it.
Just make sure you clean up, declutter, and present your home in the best possible light. If people really know what they are looking for, and have a decent agent to guide them, they'll see the positives.
I agree with Steve also. We bought our house based on our immediate needs, centered around things that can't be upgraded. (We wanted a green belt lot, smallish yard, one level, open feel, big master bath.) The kitchen was not upgraded. That wasn't great, but it is a large kitchen, which means we can upgrade it at some point, and at least we will have the room to make it a great kitchen. I was frankly quite grateful that the past owners had not put in a new counter top, as the kitchen cabinets are builder grade, and I would have been angry at the thought of paying more for a granite counter top when the cabinets were so poor. The kitchen may not be beautiful, but it has a great pantry and lots of room, more than my last house. Sometimes you don't get everything you want at once. As the months have gone by, I am not at all irritated by the older (just 1996) kitchen. I am happy to have my greenbelt facing deck, from which my husband and I can watch the birds and the deer. It may be that some folks really require a super kitchen (those who are super cooks, perhaps) and for them it is the most important thing. You may lose a sale to someone like that if you don't upgrade (although they may want a more complete upgrade than just counter tops.) But it may not matter to others, who are more interested in other features of your house, and don't want to pay for a quick, piece-meal upgrade.
I did things like paint the outside, repair a hole in the ceiling of my deck, strip wallpaper and repaint, freshened up a few fixtures, power washed the concrete areas, washed the windows and removed the solar screens (holy cow, what a difference!!) and staged it beautifully. Literally took all of our crap and clutter to Goodwill or storage. I wanted to buy my house after seeing it and prior to that, I was so sick of it. Again, I didn't do counter tops as the point was brought up...granite would have been out of place with the cabinets, fixtures, etc and really it looked pretty nice and fresh because we had already done wood floors. The buyers didn't redo the kitchen either (they did other things) include repaint what I had paid to have repainted (LOL) but honestly the house showed soooo much better without the wallpaper, it was worth the $800 in painting. Find a good realtor and listen to them.
austin-steve, that answer was phenomenally informative. THANKS. All of these answers are so appreciated. Our house was built in '99 and was owned by a couple with no kids or pets...so we've put more miles on it it 2 years than they did in 10. lol. That said, everything is still in pretty pristine shape thanks to the prior owners and our short stay here. Our cabinets aren't sexy, sleek dark wood cabinets, but they are the standard builder-grade maple cabs that I still see being installed by builders today and they still look new. Seeing our exact kitchen with the exact cabs plus some granite looked gorgeous in the other owners' virtual tour that I saw. Our counters aren't an eye-sore by any means. They disappear. Just feels kind of cheap for a house that will be listed around $330k. That said, I had no idea that CC was such a sellers market. I am huge into staging and had 3 offers on our last house in the first 5 days, killing our competition. 50% of our stuff went into storage and my husband and dogs narrowly escaped the same fate.
Perhaps I'll get a granite quote just as a conversation point for a serious buyer, IF they ask about it. There are things about our house that could be better, but it shows pretty well as-is. No wallpaper, neutral paint and palette throughout. We love this house. Now I just have to figure out where to stow 2 toddlers and 2 big dogs during showings. lol If houses are really selling in a week, maybe listing time would be a spectacular time to rent a beach house in Galveston for a week.
Thanks again, everyone. I am blown away by how wonderful these answers were. Even the contradicting ones show different opinions that will likely represent our potential buyers. Good stuff!
Oops, I had forgotten about this..... We had a kitchen designer / remodeler come in with a design, samples, etc. and set them up for prospective buyers......at no cost to us. (In the end, that didn't go anywhere, but just a thought.) And, in several homes I saw, there were plans shown for a pool (which we wanted.) Sometimes, it help to have that visualization.
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