Should I Replace My Kitchen Countertops Before Selling?

Selling your house is sometimes an experience that’s full of disappointments and frustrations, particularly if you don’t want your property sitting on the market too long or selling it at a loss. It is therefore only natural to try to find ways to improve it.

Upgrading the kitchen countertops is one way you can improve the property and hopefully find a buyer sooner rather than later. The only question is, should you really upgrade kitchen countertops before you move out. Unfortunately, the answer is a little more complex than a “yes” or “no”.

The reality is that buyers pay a lot of attention to certain areas such as the bathroom and kitchen. So, it goes without saying that countertops are likely to capture the attention of a potential buyer. However, you need to take several factors into consideration before spending money upgrading your kitchen countertops.

Yes, upgrading kitchen countertops may help you sell the property sooner and it has other distinct advantages, but it is not always the right move for all homeowners. The following questions should help you determine whether it is worth it to upgrade the kitchen countertops in your home:

Are Kitchen Countertops the Problem?

You should take time to assess the condition of kitchen countertops and determine whether they are actually the problem. While kitchen countertops draw attention, they are not the only elements that buyers consider. Do the countertops look outdated in terms of style and décor? Or are they so damaged that they are making everything else look bad?

If kitchen countertops are so bad that they discourage potential buyers, you need to consider upgrading them. If not, you should perhaps concentrate on other areas. For instance, if the cabinets are worn and the rest of your kitchen looks tired, you should consider focusing your attention on those areas. To help you better determine if countertops are the problem, you should consult a kitchen renovation specialist.

Will I Have to Change the Backsplash?

The countertop and backsplash are essentially two peas in a pod. It is impossible to change one without changing the other. You have to replace the backsplash when installing the countertop and you have to determine if changing it makes a lot of sense, especially considering the fact that you are selling the house.

What Does the Rest of the Kitchen Look Like?

A kitchen countertop upgrade might sound good at face value, but you need to determine whether it actually makes your kitchen look more appealing. You risk creating an imbalance if you upgrade the countertops only and leave the rest.

Adding something new tends to make everything else look less appealing. A kitchen countertop upgrade should only be attempted if you are sure that it will add to the overall atmosphere and ambiance. Otherwise, you should stick to less expensive methods that are cheaper.

What Other Alternatives Are There to a Full Countertop Upgrade?

If the budget does not support doing a full countertop upgrade, there may still be options available to you. You may look into financing the project or delaying it until you have the money to do it right. However, those might not be options if you are looking to sell the property quickly.

Still, you may be able to get away with doing either a partial upgrade or undertaking repairs. If just part of the countertop is damaged, find out from the contractor about the possibility of repairing just that section without replacing the whole counter. If you take this approach, the project will be completed faster and you can sell the property sooner.

What’s Your Budget?

If you have determined that the kitchen countertops are the problem, you should then consider what your budget is for upgrading them. The budget will determine the material you use, whether you will do it yourself or hire a contractor, and whether you need a full countertop replacement.

When setting the budget for the kitchen countertop upgrades, you need to include a bit of extra padding. There will always be unexpected expenses and having extra money factor into the budget will ensure that you don’t go over budget.

The budget will also determine whether or not you actually upgrade the countertops. If you find that it is too expensive to replace them, you may opt to lower the price slightly and completely forego upgrading the countertops.

What Options Are Available?

You have several different options when it comes to kitchen countertops. Popular options include quartz, marble, and granite. All three are natural stone materials that look graceful and elegant and may add beauty and value to your kitchen and property as a whole.

Quartz countertops are generally the cheapest option of the three. While they cannot match the grace and executive look of granite and marble countertops, they still look appealing. If you want maximum cost savings, quartz countertops are ideal, but this will mean that you won’t be able to sell the property for a higher price. A granite or marble countertop gives the most refined and elegant look, but it costs more and translates to a higher selling price. It is up to you to weigh the options and decide.

How Much Time Will the Upgrades Take?

It is always important to factor in the construction time when planning your countertop upgrades. You should note that countertop installations can take some time, which is why you should be prepared for that before actually doing it.

The vast majority of contractors can install a countertop in one day, but this obviously depends on the complexity and size of the project. However, fabricating the countertop can take up to 2 weeks. If you are looking to sell your property quickly, this is something you should consider.

Is It Possible to Recover the Money Spent Upgrading Countertops?

Whether it is possible to recoup the money spent upgrading kitchen countertops is a topic that’s still up for debate. However, as a general rule, you shouldn’t count on it actually happening. Instead, if you decide to go through with the upgrade, you should think of it as an investment towards helping you sell the property faster.

What Suggestions Does My Realtor Have?

Experienced realtors, for the most part, have a good eye for what sells and what does not. Simply put, let your realtor give his/her opinion regarding the matter and take it from there. However, take the advice given for what it is – and opinion. Realtors are not right every time and they aren’t taking any personal risks by paying for the upgrade. Still, their input can help you gain some objective insight.

Who Am I Upgrading the Kitchen Counters For?

Upgrading the kitchen countertops as the occupier or owner of a property is not the same as doing it when you are looking to sell. Ask yourself whether you are upgrading the counters to create your dream kitchen or to appeal to potential buyers.

Personal preferences might be appealing to your target market, but it is important to be mindful and avoid the latest colors and fads. Neutral colors generally appeal to a greater range of buyers compared to bold colors that might be currently ‘trendy’.

Real estate agents often say that there’s a buyer for every property, but the greater number of potential buyers you are able to attract to your property, the better the selling price and the shorter the time the property is likely to be on the market.

Will Potential Buyers Appreciate the Upgrade?

It is impossible to please everybody and this is the risk you take if you choose to make any type of upgrade in the house before you sell. Some buyers will love what you did, but some will definitely be indifferent. The worst-case scenario would be that buyers don’t like the upgrades at all and will probably have to redo everything if they still decide to buy.

That’s why sellers often add an upgrade allowance to the listing. Simply out, the seller doesn’t upgrade the kitchen countertops. Instead, they give the buyer the option to do them according to their likes and preferences. So, get an estimate from a reputable contractor of what the upgrade will most likely cost and use this as a guideline for the allowance.

Did the Neighbors Upgrade Their Kitchen Countertops?

The first step in planning a renovation before selling is to consider what is typical for comparable homes in your neighborhood and kitchen countertop upgrades are no exception. You can get a feel for the average home in your neighborhood if you research listings for properties of similar square footage and age.

If you are working with a listing agent, they can also provide comparable sales information for other homes that have sold in your neighborhood. Ideally, you would find a or 2 that have upgraded kitchen countertops and 1 or 2 with older kitchens. Compare their selling or listing prizes to the listing price that you have in mind.

Based on your research, you can determine whether the property will appreciate in value after the upgrades or it will seem overpriced in comparison to other properties in your neighborhood. You can ask a local real estate agent to help with your research.

Final Thoughts

If you are wondering whether you should upgrade kitchen countertops before moving, it is important to note that there are no set rules to follow. The questions listed here are just meant to help you gain a better perspective prior to spending any money on upgrades. If you take all the information provided here into consideration, you will undoubtedly make the best decision according to your situation.

Continue to learn more about kitchen countertops!

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