Home Selling in Madison>Question Details

Bret, Home Seller in Chicago, IL

What price point for Granite vs Laminate?

Asked by Bret, Chicago, IL Sun Nov 29, 2009

For brokers that are working with buyers. In the Madison area what price-point would a larger 3 bedroom house, around 2,000 sq ft. Will buyers expect/want Granite in the kitchen. We are getting a house ready for sale, and it is older and in a more mature neighborhood. Probably list for around $230,000 or so. We are considering making some improvements for re-sale. Will granite counter-tops add value at this price point? New laminates will run around $750 while granite will be around $3000. Wondering if it makes any sense.

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9
Remodeling never ends.

But, to your question: Granite's time is over, unless the goal is to recreate a Y2K-style kitchen. Also - it's not just the countertops, but the cabinets and the floors and the appliances to consider - if they're going to be ancient and beat up, there's no point in doing the countertops; the room only looks as good as it's ugliest component.

Plus, even if you do the kitchen, then you have a great kitchen and tired bathrooms ...

My advice, without having seen your house? Paint. Clean. And clean again. Literally, the kitchens and baths must be clean enough to eat off of. If you can accomplish that, your work is done. Let the next person remodel the kitchen and baths!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 30, 2009
Bret,

This greatly depends on your neighborhood and what your competion has installed. In most cases value is the driving force. While potential buyers are expecting to see granite in a kitchen's surfaces, you will not get the return on investment when you install granite or even solid surfaces like Corian or Silestone. The higher quality laminates with stone like finishes will get you a similar premium look, and most people will not see the diference. When you put a premium laminate you can expect to get almost all the money back in resale value. With a granite or solid surface top, you will recapture only a fraction of your investment. I tell my remodelers "If you are doing it to satisfy your own preferences go with the solid surfaces. If you are doing it for resale value install the laminates."

Good luck on your decision,

Chris
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 30, 2009
I have mixed feeling on this...Do I as a buyer have the cash to spend renovating a house AFTER downpayment and closing costs??? Do you stand a chance to sell the house in a competetive market that isn't up to date???

On the other hand, can you truly choose the correct finishes to the taste of that buyer? My thought might be to clean it the best you can and offer an allowance of $xxx for counters, cabinets or floors.

I'm not versed well enough as to whether this is real cash out at closing for the buyer or if the banks object to this and it would just be a lower sales price???
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 9, 2010
Whatever you can do to a house to increase the positive difference between the market price and market value—noticeable major repairs/updates and cosmetic alterations/improvements will improve your chances of getting the best possible sale price. Be aware of any bad odors, clutter, lack of cleanliness, overcrowded closets, leaky pipes, old looking paint, etc. Strive for orderly closets, squeaky clean kitchen (s) and bath(s), manicured landscape and general curb appeal. Show it as a property to remember.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
That's right, Dan. The problem with trying to "improve" the home for resale is that the existing stuff does have some value, which is lost when you replace it. So maybe the kitchen isn't in great shape, but it's worth more than if the kitchen had been stripped out.

If the kitchen isn't cleanable, then I'd suggest trying to replicate what's already there - if it's orange or blue retro-space-age Formica, go with that! Chances are, it will look better restored than with a couple - and only a couple - of "modern touches" added.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
Would you be looking at an older couple who want a place to live or a young pup who reads home and gardens? If you have someone who insists on having the stainless appliances and granite they will either refuse your place OR add the stuff themselves. If you have someone who just wants a nice place to call home as long as the kitchen is decent the fancy expensive additions are a turn off.

Are all the other places near you coming with the granite, or are they the old unremodeled houses they were built as? There is no reason to upgrade past your competition as that puts you in the wrong price point compared to your competition. If you think in reverse if you have an older kitchen and sell cheaper it could get more people to look at your place. Price sells. And some people dislike granite, It is hard and breaks dishes much easier than normal sideboards do.

From a blog I read awhile ago it appears that any improvement you do on your house will not give you back more than 87% of the 100% you spend. And many were a lot less like 70%. Another thing to consider.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 1, 2009
You need to work direct with listing agent who can assist in making decisions. 'There are some amazing laminates on market HOWEVER MANY home buyers want granite if an kitchen is not updated could cost you $1000's AND home on market much longer than anticipated.

Once an area is updated makes other areas in home appear dated, keep in mind lighting, hardware, flooring and etc need be considered



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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 1, 2009
Bret
You have some very good answers below.
The key is this - if a buyer wanted to buy in a neighborhood like yours, what would their options be?
My recommendation would be to talk with a local Realtor who knows the market and have them analyze your entire home, not just the kitchen.

When a buyer looks at the property they have a unique perspective. If you were prepared to invest some money, say $3,000, where should it be used? I had a client that put $6K into a bathroom (which was gorgeous) but she had no money to paint the interior (which it needed) and change the carpet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 30, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
MVP'08
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Bret,

Today's buyers, regardless of the geographical area, are informed, intelligent, and expect to find value with their purchase of a home today.

Upon entering a home, buyers initially look around an come up with their first impression of the home but almost always gravitate to the kitchen area where family members spend a great deal of time(that goes far beyond meal time). For many, THIS is the most important area of the home.......

People expect to find up to an up to date kitchen work area that includes, appliances, lighting, flooring as well as cabinets and counter tops. Additionally, most buyers expect to find some sort of solid surface counter, corian, stone, granite etc. are among the most desirable.

Our recommendation is to not view this decision as one that increased the value of your home but one that will improve the overall sale ability of your home. Hopefully, by making the decision to do the right improvements, it will allow your home to make a statement that will attract buyers.

Best wishes with your decision.

The Eckler Team
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 30, 2009
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