Not knowing what your current cabinets look like and what if anything is wrong with your air conditioning, I don't know what would be best in your situation. The thing about changing the cabinets is that it really only makes sense if you also update the counter tops. This can become costly.
Like the other posts, I would highly recommend that you consult with a real estate professional before you undertake any improvements. You may end up doing nothing and just opt to offer a credit to the new buyer who then can make a choice. Good luck.
Choose a good high energy efficient unit and it will add value instantly. Cabinets are nice, but they don't help you sleep on a hot summer night plus you don't have to worry about an AC unit pleasing everyone's design taste. Everyone likes to be cool in the hot summers....
Also, if you happen to have a old furnance look into buying a package deal for the two, I know mine was cheaper to get them together.
Paying out of pocket now for C/A or new cabinets while the home is listed might not be the best course of action.There are going to be times during that process you will not be able to show your homeThis is not the best market to miss a single opportunity,nor do I think you should take it off the market for any length of time to do the work.
In my opinion I think you should get estimates done as to how much each job will cost then come up with a number based on both estimates, offer that amount as a credit for those items a "buyer's incentive".For example,the cabinets you choose may not be what the buyer would choose for themselves.A credit will allow them to purchase cabinets of their liking or the C/A system, whatever matters most to them. This alone will save you alot of stress and chaos as the work is done.You don't need additional stress to the pressures of selling too.
Best of luck to you
NAR recently polled buyers on what it was they were looking for in homes and central air came in at #2, while garages were #1. This was an interesting study considering the energy costs. I recommend installing the C/A, and perhaps updating your cabinets with a fresh coat of paint and some shiny new hardware. Best of luck to you!
As far as cost is concerned, I think you'd be looking at somewhere around $4,000 - $5,000 depending on the size of the unit. If you have get a unit that's for heating and air it maybe a little bit more. My recommendation would be that you have your existing air conditioning at least serviced and if you choose not to replace it with a new unit, make sure you add it to the 1-year home warranty you are offering (good decision by the way). Having the unit serviced will help showing that it was in working condition before the home warranty went into effect, which is a condition for coverage.
However, if you have central air already, then I would go with new cabinets. The problem there is that you open up a can of worms because you may have to replace your countertop and floors, sink, etc. You might be better off just painting the cabinets and putting on new hardware.
I do agree with Sean strongly! Placing the answer to this question in the hands of your listing Broker to get quality feedback from the potential buyers is key! If it were me, I would get feedback from everybody who looked at the home. If you hear things such as "it was very nice but they are looking for a home with A/C central air... an allowance for the central air could be offered.
In my opinion the cabinets wouldnt be my choice between the two, but every buyer is different. That is what makes selling a home so much fun! It is that "what if" that makes the decision a difficult one. You may have a kitchen person wanting your home, or somebody who recently moved from a colder climate. I would probably concider offering an allowance for either. I also like the ideah of doing the cabinets yourself, if you are a handy person-wich I am not!
Good luck on the sale of your home!
Other than that, it really depends on the cabinets that are there now. If they've been painted over, maybe you should consider sanding them down and refinishing them yourselves, as it would save you a bunch of money. If not, and they're just old or unsalvageable, maybe you should consider replacing them.
Best of luck to you!