Selling your house and moving out can be a frustrating experience. Especially if you don’t want to sell at a loss or let the property sit on the market indefinitely. So, you naturally go in search of ways to improve the property, such as upgrading the kitchen countertops. And you do this with the hope that you get an offer on the house sooner rather than later. But should you upgrade kitchen countertops before moving out? Unfortunately, it is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. Situations and answers, as you can imagine, can vary in different parts of the country.
Through the years, we’ve met customers with all kinds of different unique situations when looking to replace their countertops. We’ve heard opinions from local realtors, out-of-state realtors, and we’ve even had conversations with local and out-of-state moving companies about the different scenarios.
It is common knowledge that buyers pay specific attention to areas like the kitchen and bathroom. Thus, countertops are bound to catch the eye of any potential buyer. But there are several factors you want to consider before spending money on kitchen countertop upgrades. Yes, it can help and there are benefits. But is it the right move for every homeowner? So whether you live in Utah, Washington D.C., or New York City, we encourage you to take a look at the following questions and see where they take you.
Can I Afford To Upgrade The Kitchen Countertops?
Every homeowner has their own reasons for selling. For some, it is simply a matter of moving an investment with the hope of making a profit. Other situations can be more complex. For example, if you are selling because you want to avoid foreclosure, upgrading the countertops might not be high on your priority list.
At the end of the day, affordability plays a major role. And if you have the extra money to undertake this project, there are good reasons to follow through. But when you are stuck with financial troubles, it is recommended to find cheaper alternatives for improving the condition of the countertops.
If you are not in a rush to move out of your home and sell, then taking your time to plan everything out is best. Consider for example the best time of the year to replace your kitchen countertops, so that you can leverage especial sales or slow seasons during the year. Depending on what month of the year you’re reading this, it may be something worth considering.
Is An Upgrade Really Necessary?
Take a moment to assess the condition of your kitchen countertops. While the countertops will definitely draw attention, they are not the only elements that buyers look at. Are the countertops just out-dated in terms of decor and style? Or are they damaged to the point where they make everything else look bad? Perhaps you can take advantage of other small fixes in your kitchen that can still help increase the value of your home.
If the only problem with the countertops seems to be decor-related, keep reading the other questions before settling on a decision. But if the condition of the countertops is so bad it discourages potential buyers, you might want to address it ahead of time.
What Options Do I Have When I Upgrade?
Not all factors are directly related to the interior of your property. There are some external considerations you should think about as well. For instance, do you have professionals in the area that can handle the upgrade? Because if you have to call on experts that need to travel a long distance, expect the costs to be higher than usual. Depending on where you live, it can be more challenging and costly for an upgrade.
It helps if there are several companies in your area that offer to do the upgrades because this creates competition. But if you only have one professional in the immediate vicinity, do not be surprised if they exploit the situation and overcharge.
Does My Realtor Have Some Suggestions?
For the most part, experienced realtors have a good eye for what sells and what doesn’t. In other words, get your realtor to give an opinion and take it from there. However, only take this advice for what it is – an opinion. Realtors are not always right and they aren’t taking any risks by paying for the upgrade. But their input can help you gain some objective perspective.
Can I Recoup The Money Spent On Countertop Upgrades?
There is some debate around recouping the money you spend on upgrading kitchen countertops. But as a general rule, you should not bet on this happening. Instead, if you do choose to go through with the upgrade, consider it an investment towards selling the property faster.
How Do My Current Countertops Measure Up To Those In The Neighborhood?
The surrounding properties in your area can serve a valuable purpose when you are selling. And just like you should set a price that is competitive with nearby houses, you can use nearby homes to gauge other things too. In this case, you can compare your countertops to those of your neighbors. Especially the properties that are also up for sale. If the countertops in neighboring houses are mostly the same as yours, upgrading is not really necessary. It’s only when your countertops stand out from the rest (in a bad way) that you should explore the option to upgrade.
Is It Just The Countertops That Require An Upgrade?
When everything else in the kitchen is up to standard except for the countertops, the added effort and cost of upgrading can end up being a waste. Ask yourself whether it will really make a difference to a kitchen that already presents well? If not, save your money or use it in your new place.
What Does The Rest Of The Kitchen Look Like?
The previous consideration brings up the interesting question of what your kitchen currently looks like. Because if more upgrades are needed apart from countertops, it can lead to other complications. Sure, at face value, a kitchen countertop upgrade sounds good. Is it bound to make the kitchen look more appealing, won’t it? The truth is you can create an imbalance by just upgrading the countertops and leaving the rest. Adding something new has the potential of making everything else look less alluring.
Only if you are sure the kitchen countertop upgrade will add to the overall ambiance and atmosphere, then take it seriously. Otherwise, stick to less excessive methods that are not as expensive.
Will Potential Buyers Appreciate The Upgrade?
There is no pleasing everyone. And this is the risk you take when you decide to upgrade anything in the house just before selling. Some buyers are going to love what you did. Expect some to be indifferent. And in the worst-case scenario, buyers don’t like it at all and they will likely redo everything if they still choose to buy.
This is why many sellers opt to add an upgrade allowance to the listing. In other words, the seller does not invest in any kitchen countertop upgrades. Instead, they give the buyer the option to do the upgrades according to what they like and want. So, get an estimation of what the upgrade is likely to cost and use this as a guideline for the allowance. Not only do you avoid doing the work, but you also avoid choosing countertops certain buyers won’t like.
How Easily Do Homes In Your Neighborhood Sell?
As mentioned earlier, not all considerations are directly connected to the kitchen area. And another good way to determine if a kitchen countertop upgrade is necessary involves how quickly properties in your area sell. If you live in a popular neighborhood that is close to key places (schools, shops, etc.), an upgrade to the countertops probably won’t be the dictating factor.
However, if other properties in the neighborhood struggle to sell, it is advised to go the extra mile. When external attractions aren’t working in your favor, give the buyer a reason to look past this setback. And the kitchen is a great place to start if there is a budget that allows it.
Do You Know Which Type Of Countertop Will Work Best?
Some buyers are not keen on doing any work when they move in. These are the type of buyers that prioritize convenience, and they want to start living from day one. So the upgrade allowance option, in this particular case, probably won’t be convincing.
This means if kitchen countertop upgrades are necessary, you need to be careful about not making it personal. When you choose countertops, broaden your perspective, and pay attention to current trends and styles. What countertops are popular now and what do they cost?
Am I Selling The House Through Conventional Channels?
This might sound like a strange question. But not every seller is going to follow the conventional route when it comes to moving their property. For example, house buying companies make it incredibly easy for homeowners to sell quickly and without complications. More importantly, they take the house as it stands and they do not worry about upgrades. If you are going to approach a house buying company instead of using a realtor, you will only be wasting money on repairs or upgrades.
Am I Upgrading The Countertops For The Right Reasons?
Just like every homeowner has a different reason for selling, upgrades work the same way. There are those who invest in kitchen countertop upgrades because it is absolutely necessary. Then you have individuals who upgrade because it can make the kitchen more alluring. And then you have homeowners that aim to up the asking price after the upgrades are finished. Although, the latter group is taking a big risk in this regard and the sale hardly ever works out the way they plan. Why? Because potential buyers do not like paying more than the market value. And kitchen countertop upgrades alone simply can’t justify a higher asking price.
In conclusion, there are no set rules you have to follow. This post is just meant to help you gain a better perspective before you start spending money on upgrades. And when you take all of the above into consideration, you will no doubt make the best decision according to your situation.