Should I spend the time and money on remodeling the kitchen?

I just bought my first little 2/1 starter condo. The place is pretty nice and spacious for 868 SqFt. Its in a great neighborhood. The living room is nice and the bathroom is descen but the kitchen is like a cave from hell. The kitchen is a boxed in 10×10 slum, pretty much the same as it was the day they completed it in 1987. Orange/yellow linoleum, old dark cabinets, beat up appliances and one dim light in the center.
I have the money to put into remodeling the kitchen to be quite nice. New lighting, maple cabinets, granite countertops, stone floors and stainless steel appliances. Here in NorCal kitchens get the money on a resell. The dilemma is, do I want to sink that kind of money and effort into a place that will scare away “starter home buyers” or do I want to go for it and appeal to the higher end bachelor/bachelorette? Any suggestions?
I do plan on living in it for about 5 years to build some nice equity. I would like to live with the nicer kitchen, but I would be content with a less extravagant kitchen that would cost thousands less.
Good answers so far…I was thinking about the fact that the kitchens in the other unit’s for sale in the complex are updated, somewhat, but are still 10 years old and not impressive. That’s why I picked mine, besides the best location in the complex; it had the oldest kitchen with the lowest asking price.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go “all out” on the remodel or hold back and just do a “nice” remodel. I am definitely doing more than just some painting on cabinets and a tile backsplash.

6 Responses to “Should I spend the time and money on remodeling the kitchen?”

  • umph_mcgee:

    I would say YES…kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. I wouldn’t worry about “Scaring” away new home buyers because they will give up other niceties for the kitchen you put in. Only thing I can tell you is that if you are planning this for resale in five years to decorate it for the masses…such as, don’t put too many personal touches in it. Keep it neutral and appealing. Good Luck

  • Leslie:

    I would fix it up to where you like it. Get the things you want because it’s YOUR place. Anything you put into a kitchen comes back on resell and you can always change some things when you want to sell to appeal to more high-end buyers and get top dollar. Good luck and congrats on the new place.

  • Archer:

    starter home buyers will like the upgades (they won’t have to do it themselves) and you will get up to 90% back on the remodling cost.

    Most of all do it for yourself….you have to live there for 5 years….what do you want to look at?..outdated or new kitchen…get the job done and enjoy the new look….

  • clemenscathy2003:


    I am a kitchen & bath designer but in a different geological area. I would suggest that you do what is called a “comp” (comparesion) of the houses around you. If they have granite tops and stainless appliances, go for it!!! If not, you are going to price yourself out of the neighborhood. You will never get your money back (it is projected that from the “get-go” you are only getting 86% at the time of the sale anyway) But on the flip side, you will sell your house much faster if you do remodel it. I would suggest keeping the price resanable by keeping the fixtures in the same location (e.g.: sink), doing a semi-custom line of cabinets and maybe splurging on granite. After all, you are going to live there for another 5 years!

  • GracieM:

    You could save money by painting the cabinets. The countertops would probably have to be replaced, but there are other options besides granite. Corian countertops are clean, easy to maintain, and cheaper.

    Appliances are something that you usually take with you when you sell the house, so how much you invest will be up to you.

    Lighting is easy. Put in a ceiling fan with a light fixture, and under-counter lights.

    Paint the walls a light color to make the room look larger.

    You are the one who has to live there, and I wouldn’t think a kitchen re-do would do anything but increase the value of your home, and keep you happy!

  • Scott:

    Staying in the property for 5 years you would at least get the use out of the new Kitchen. Before doing anything I would live in the property for like 6 months. Get use to making the monthly payments. See if anything else pops up that needs immiediate attention even more than a new kitchen. Go over your finances to truely see if you have the extra to redo as with anything like this you set out to spend $ 2k and it will take $ 3k or more to complete the project. And you also have the right Idea about not overdoing for the neighborhood. if you put in a $ 30,000 kitchen and the neighbors all have $ 10,000 kitchens you’ve overdone for your place and you maynot recover in a resale.

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