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Should I Update My Kitchen?

New Home Excitement

Think about it.....you walk into a prospective home you might want to buy. The outside A stainless steel countertoplooks nice, grounds are well kept, you walk through the front door and like the way the house feels. Then you walk into the kitchen and it has orange countertops and appliances straight from the 50's. You think to yourself that you could break out your floral smock so you would fit in with the decor or redo the kitchen. Everything you were feeling about how nice the home was have just gone through the floor. Sure you could renovate the kitchen, but unless the home is $50-60,000 below market value, you know you'll be living with the kitchen from "Happy Days" for some time.

I know that kitchens are really not the end all, be all,  but the vast majority of buyers I have worked with will walk away from a home with a 'dated' kitchen. It just seems too daunting to think about doing the upgrade with the mess and inconvenience that is sure to accompany the upgrade. Think about it, the current owners haven't upgraded probably for the exact same reason.

What Do You Do Now?

There are a couple of things that can spruce up a tired kitchen. Whether you are looking to sell your home or you love a prospective home, and hate the kitchen, here are some ideas that could save time, money and mess:

Look at the paint. Is it in need of a new coat or just a good cleaning? Should you add some style by changing the color? Look at the cabinets. Can you get by with changing the hardware? How about swapping out the doors for updated ones. This often times will make cabinets look new. Look at the lighting. What if you added some track lighting to lighten up the dark areas? Maybe swapping out old fixtures for newer ones will do the trick. Look at the appliances. Which ones could use replacement. These can be the more expensive upgrades, but can also save money in the long run because newer appliances are much more energy efficient. Not to mention you may be able to get rebates for upgrading. Check with your suppliers. Although it is not technically an appliance, a new sink dresses up a kitchen even if the countertops are dated. Look at the countertops. That brings us to the orange countertops......not much you can do short of replacing them. There are so many options you have to shop around. This upgrade is going to be the messiest of them all and has the potential of being the most expensive, short of full appliance replacement. But if you have orange, they need changing....sorry.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Cost vs. Value Report in Remodeling Magazine. Kitchens don't rate at the top of the list, but almost. For a minor kitchen remodel, basically what I've been talking about, you can recoup 71% of your investment. Not bad for the very high emotional return on your investment.

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