Discount for a dated kitchen?


Don’t be surprised when a seller bristles at the thought of subsidizing your dream kitchen.

Dear David,

We just made an offer on a 20-year-old executive home that has been on the market for a few weeks. It’s a very nice property, but the kitchen and baths are dated and in need of an update. Shouldn’t the owners be willing to knock quite a bit off the price for this? – READY TO RENO

DEAR RENO: As Realtors, we see this all the time: buyers look at a home and identify the things they think it needs to feel pristine, fresh and modern. It’s not uncommon for them to want to make changes, but wants and needs are two different things. If your roof is leaking, you need to fix it. If you dislike the look of your functional kitchen cabinetry, you may want to replace it.

In many homes — but executive homes in particular — the quality of finishes can be such that their economic life far exceeds their ability to keep up with the latest decorating trends. Cared for properly, a high-quality kitchen or bathroom can last for decades, though it’s bound to become cosmetically dated in that time.

If you wanted to add a pool to a home and it was going to cost $75,000, it would be unreasonable to expect that the seller would knock $75,000 off the asking price in order to accommodate your wish. Likewise, don’t be surprised when a seller bristles at the thought of subsidizing your dream kitchen.

If the rooms in this house are functional and in good shape, let it be. Should your offer be accepted, you can work away on any updates you would like to see in the years you spend in the home.

When my sellers ask if they should update their kitchen or baths before listing, my advice is usually the same: take care of any outstanding maintenance items, then price the home according to current market value. Depending on the home, a major renovation can increase its value by two or three price ranges, potentially reducing the pool of interested buyers. Indulging in a major renovation for your own benefit is one thing, but if you do so strictly for the sake of the sale, the investment may be harder to recoup. A safer option is to have the buyer choose their own projects, according to their personal taste and budget.

PRO TIP: This can be hard to wrap your head around, but if your heart is set on something new and modern, I encourage you to shop in a price range that leaves a little wiggle room. Every home is unique and may require a different level of updating. #AskDavid #Advice