It's no secret I live in an old house. It was built in 1917 and renovated in 1936; there has been little done to it structurally since that time except "internal" updates (wiring, plumbing, AC, etc). What once was a tiny square 10' x 10' kitchen with a butlers pantry has been combined into a "sprawling" 190 sq. foot L-shaped kitchen. It has character…
Moving into the house, my husband and I knew the kitchen needed to be renovated. But limited time and other house priorities have kept us from paying attention to the much neglected and oft-used room. We inherited old appliances that work but not so well (no energy efficiency here!). There is little storage space and no pantry. Plus the room has four windows, three doors, a staircase, an exposed radiator and two posts. It is also the main entry we use to get into our home about 10 times per day. Just call it the workhorse of the house.
But wait, there's more! It is also currently not set up in the classic kitchen work triangle layout. This makes for difficult navigating while cooking and entertaining.
At my most recent Deco Book Club (we used to read books, now we just give decor advice), I hosted the group. Our attention shifted to my kitchen and we discussed some renovation ideas. Also to give a little background, my husband and I have floated the idea of putting our house on the market in the next year so I've been hesitant to spend a lot of money for major renovations.
It seems the consensus among my decor club was to think about not renovating and not putting time/money/effort into making the kitchen my own only to have a new owner not share my same aesthetic. Instead they suggested I look into having an architect and designer create renovation plans for the kitchen and sell it with the house. Hey, that sounded promising so off I went to investigate.
I pinged a trusted architect friend of mine, Bob Borson, to ask him to ball park the cost of an architect creating such a plan. He gave me some numbers and suggestions then offered to draw it up for me since it would probably only take him about 15 minutes to do so. Score! I had my measurements and a rough sketch handy in my notebook so I sent those to him and he asked a couple questions and came back with this shell of my room. He's still waiting on me to come back to him on ideas about placement of counters, appliances, etc. (*UPDATE: he drew my current layout for me once he saw today's post- double SCORE!).
At the same time, I contacted my local realtor, Janet McKeown of Coldwell Banker, and asked her opinion of my idea. She sent me a great link to an article about the cost vs. value of renovating in Realtor Magazine. Basically the article said a minor kitchen remodel costing $21,695 would only recoup about 72.8% of its cost (based on 2011 national averages). The quote that stood out the most was this: "Too often, home owners overimprove their kitchen. That’s not cost-effective unless they’ll stay in the house a long time."
Well that makes sense! Janet also added some great advice that made me rethink what the article said too. Here is what she said:
Some buyers will not look at homes that need work. Others don't mind making some improvements but they expect this to be reflected in the price. I have to say that most buyers I come across don't want to do too much work. If both partners are working they don't have the time or inclination.
Here are my thoughts about the architectural plans:
- Most buyers will just expect the plans to come with the house. They will not want to purchase them so you would have to roll that into the list price.
- I think they are helpful in demonstrating the house potential.
- There is almost an implicit acceptance on the sellers part that the kitchen is a shortcoming and buyers will expect that to be reflected in the price either by a lower list price or by the sellers offering a "credit" to the buyer to go towards the cost of replacing the kitchen.
For example Janet last week saw a local listing which included a credit of almost 5% off the list price toward a new kitchen.
And some more food for thought…
So what do I do? What would you do? Have you ever sold a home with or without remodeling a kitchen? Any advice you can give me?
I promise to write a follow-up post letting you know what I decide!