Cora's Properties

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Ask Cora

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Should I do a kitchen remodel?

Hey Cora, I am thinking about doing a kitchen remodel before I sell my home. What should I do and not do? Signed Kitchen Queen

Dear Ms. Queen, Well, let’s be super careful here because kitchen remodels can get really spendy really quickly. I’ll give you 5 things that can really break the budget, and 5 alternatives that you can do keep costs down. Remember, you are doing this remodel for someone else, not for you. Okay, here we go:

Now you may or may not be replacing your countertops, but the backsplash is a place where you can add some color, shine and “glamour” to your kitchen. Usually, people tile this area. This started as a way to keep the kitchen clean, tile is easy to clean and looks great when all shined up! But then, things got a little crazy. Heavy patterns and bold colors can make the kitchen look busy and unkept. So, keep it to the “KISS” method – “Keep It Simple Stupid” haha! If you want to do tile, remember that if you hire someone to do it, it’s not going to be cheap. There is a labor shortage right now and tile layers are getting top dollar. If you decide to do it yourself, You Tube it and get some advice before you start. The hardest part of tile backsplash… around the electrical outlets. You must adjust those outlets to fit on top of the tile.
Here’s another way to add color and a little style to your kitchen back splash. Paint it. Yes, just paint it! Use a good quality paint, because you don’t need much, primer first, then a high gloss paint, use several coats, allowing them to dry fully between each coat. This makes a washable surface, it’s bright and shiny and it will look nice. Choose your color carefully though!
Designer Appliances. It is not necessary to get designer appliances. They are expensive to purchase, expensive to maintain, and their parts are expensive too! Yes, they are beautiful, but again, go with the KISS method! I bought this washer dryer once that I was just in LOVE with (yes it can happen) and I thought, “these things are going to do everything except take my children to school!” I paid more for them because of all the wonderful things they were going to do. After the first week, I was back to using one setting and keeping it there for the next 7 years until they died having a long and painful death of washing 6 kids’ clothes for all those years. Repairs were expensive and included the removal of bb’s from a bb gun that merged with the motor of the washer, a plastic shark that melted into the dryer leaving a “shark” imprint on everything I owned that was white, the breaking of the dryers belt because and I quote “mom, I was drying out my boots so I put them in with the clothes that were in the dryer.” And finally crayons delicately painting in the dryer drum decorating everything in a Picaso-like fashion! Simply put, don’t get the latest and greatest… stick with the basics.
Get middle of the road appliances. Nothing super fancy or new technology. It will date quickly! Get the “chevy” model of appliances and if you keep to all the same brand, it will look great.
Trendy hardware and accessories. Anything “trendy” is going to be “spendy”! Go with mainstream. It might sound boring, but remember, you want it to look nice, clean, modern, but average! Average is what is needed because remember – you are doing this to sell the house.
You may want to us the hardware you currently have. Drawer pulls can easily be sprayed to look fantastic in your new kitchen. And you don’t have to drill new holes!
Avoid High-Tech Gadgets. I know they are kind of fun and make us think that we are in the age of the Jetsons! We should have a fridge that talks to us about what we need. We should have a dishwasher that greets us in the morning with a “hello beautiful” in a baritone British accent. But, they are trends. And trends date your home quickly. I remember my mom wanted an intercom system in our house. Oh, it was the desire of her heart to have an intercom! Remember those? What is the first thing you say when you see one……yup!
The best thing to do… keep it clean looking and simple. This will attract buyers. Keep things off the countertops and hidden away. No need for fancy gadgets.
Open Shelving. Okay I must admit I do like these. And if you have old cabinets and perhaps you are painting the lower cabinets, and your uppers are rather “ho-hum”, this might be a good alternative. If you plan on removing your upper cabinets, and replacing with shelving, you should have a rather large pantry, since you are going to want only decorative items on your shelves. Now, floating shelves are more difficult. You Tube them, and it might change your mind. They are beautiful and have clean lines, but they are a bit of an engineering challenge. We have done them before and honestly, when they were done, you could have 5 gorillas standing on them and they wouldn’t budge!
Use decorative brackets rather than the floating shelves – so much easier and less expensive.
With all this, remember, you are trying to guess what someone else would want. You may want a consultation with myself, your friendly realtor, to help you decide if even doing the remodel will be worth it financially. Call me anytime with your questions or comments and I am also available to help you buy or sell your home! Remember, experience matters… I don’t want to say I am old, but let’s be real! I have been doing this longer than Google or YouTube have been around! OH! and remember the KISS method!