A short time ago I listed a house that was 20 years old with original kitchen appliances. Clearly worn and quite frankly a bit grungy, these appliances were a distraction from the rest of the kitchen which was remarkably in pretty good shape by contrast.
When a home buyer sees older appliances that show considerable wear and tear and appear poorly maintained, reliability fears will surface.
So, this seller was faced with a kitchen marred by appliances that had seen better days. What were the options?
• Use some serious elbow grease to degrease and clean them.
• Remove food stains, rust, and any unidentifiable stains.
• Remove all magnets and any other hanging paraphernalia.
• Clean inside and out thoroughly; buyers will look inside.
After this thorough cleaning, is the improvement enough? Maybe … but, the age is still going to be an issue. The buyer will figure in the cost of appliance replacement into an offer. Under this scenario, if the appliances can be replaced for say $5,000, the buyer will double that in his mind.
With my seller, the appliances did not look a whole lot better after the “power” washing. Age did not help either.
The seller agreed to replace the appliances within his budget with Energy Star appliances which would be a great selling feature appealing to “green” buyers.
Now, what finish to buy? The present appliances were almond. A big no to that. Home buyers have a fondness for stainless steel kitchen appliances. The pricing on stainless has come down considerably. The return on the investment will pay off.
The seller got a great stainless package deal, and the new appliances made that kitchen sparkle as well as the eyes of buyers who quickly placed an offer. I am convinced those new shiny stainless steel appliances sold that house.
But what if the seller can’t replace the appliances with new energy efficient stainless steel ones?
• If a total replacement is unfeasible, try to replace that old energy hog refrigerator. Only word of caution here is that it could make the older appliances look worse by comparison.
• If the appliances are not too old, sometimes a door replacement is possible.
• Apply a coat of appliance paint, which comes in black, white and, yes, even a faux stainless steel.
• There is also stainless steel film to “experiment” with. Both concepts are interesting to say the least.
• If you don’t already have one, prepare a binder with all the present appliance manuals. Makes the buyer feel a little more comfortable buying older appliances.
• Offer a home warranty to cover repairs/replacement of the present appliances.
If new appliances are purchased, they should be in line with what current comparables are offering. A $200 thousand home would not warrant a Sub-Zero refrigerator or Wolf range, while a $1 million-plus home should not have a lower end refrigerator and range. Buy accordingly.
There is a lot of competition out there. Sellers need to prepare their homes before listing by improving any areas or items that might raise red flags in the buyer’s mind.
Kitchen appliances can contribute significantly to getting the home sold. Homebuyers are infatuated with stainless steel. In a competitive housing market home sellers must do everything within means to make their home as attractive as possible to the home buyer. Newer kitchen appliances do help the selling process. Make it stainless steel and you have a winning combination.
For more information, contact Barbara Altieri at RealtyQuest Real Estate Sales and Services, 30 Huntington Street, Shelton, 203-929-1752.