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Budget Conscious Kitchen Remodel (for starter home)

My husband and I purchased our first home last year for 138K and we have done some small changes and spent about 2K on bathroom remodel (new vanity, new vinyl floor and granite countertop/faucet). The kitchen cabinets are builder grade oak -with thin plywood doors. Wondering if it would be better to 1.) Replace cabinet doors with oak shaker style real wood- total cost approx $1200 OR 2.) Reface cabinets with Maple or Painted Maple with glaze- total cost approx $3900...I can live with oak, but absolutely love cream coloured Painted Maple with chocolate glaze- But I don't want to invest $3900 into a home for nothing when it could go towards my next home or a new roof when the time comes...(We plan to live here for 7-9 years). Home is approx 1000 square feet and while we live in a nice neighborhood I am not sure what resale value may be 7-9 yrs from now. Should we do a small upgrade or complete reface?...Do you think the creamy beige maple cabinets with glaze are only a 'trend'?

I know $3900 is only pennies to some people, but we have college loans and would like to use our money wisely so it is not chump change to us...Thanks!!

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August 13 2010 - Midlothian
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Answers (9)

I have remodeled many a kitchen.  I am an agent,  as well as a home rehabber.   I am also very cost conscious.  I wonder why housing prices keep dropping,  while the costs of building supplies keeps going up? Doesn't make sense.  But anyway...back to your question. 
 
I know the cabinets you are speaking of...the painted maple with chocolate glazing.  They are very pretty,  but I think they are a very personal selection.  You many love them...but the next woman that considers buying your house may not.  You may want to select something more "neutral"...like white,  or cherry.  Cherry seems to be a trend now.  White never goes out of style.  If you choose to put in a darker cabinet...be sure your kitchen gets alot of light...either natural or man-made.  And also put in light colored floors.  7-9 years is a long time to be in a house and "wait" to improve it.  If you can do it now...I'd go ahead...because that's 7-9 years of enjoyment for you!  But  put money aside for that roof!  (And when you do the roof...do architectual shingles! They are so pretty!)
Good luck to you!

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December 10 2010
A Colorado Real Estate company called us last week to refinish all the cabinetry of a home located on Somerset Dr. in Golden Colorado. Found our blog article published weeks before, Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets [link removed by moderator], Web content pays.

Vacant, allowing ease of movement and assembly of hardware, we removed all cabinet doors, drawers, priming them with an XIM primer. This primer cost a little bit more, but saves a huge step of scuff sanding, which in turns, saves time and money. Turing out like a Million Dollars, spraying two even coats, of a hard latex enamel, allowing to dry a day in between, the new homeowners will think the original cabinets having factory finish. Taking pictures, will post them here next week. 
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November 11 2010
Builder-grade plywood cabinets are not only cheap, but make the whole home less desirable to the buyer. You can probabaly do the entire Cabinets in a nice raised panel maple or cherry, with granite-look laminate countertops, that will stay in style, for about $5000.. If you are planning to stay in this home for that long, you should enjoy your kitchen, and you will get the $$ back when you sell if you stay as close to that budget as possible.
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November 07 2010
Funny you ask. I just recently published an article of a [link removed by moderator] discovery I've made over the last year. Wanted to be sure it worked properly before rolling this out. Good Luck with your kitchen remodeling!
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October 18 2010
You may not get your money back on the $3900 investment but it should help you sell down the road and you will be able to enjoy the benefit in the meantime.
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September 19 2010
I wouldn't look at the kitchen upgrade in the context of adding dollar for dollar value upon resale in 7-9 years.  Do the upgrade as a life benefit and enjoy it while you live in the property.

Simon Mills
Mills Realty
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September 17 2010
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I would not put the 3900 into the cabinets on a 1000 sf home. You may be able to get cabinet facings that are less locked in as far as style goes than the plain, square Shaker doors though. Lighter cabinets are "in" now along with painted finishes, but in 9 years they won't be.

Taking the middle road of a medium toasted honey tone will wear well over time and never be offensive to your future buyers. You can add pulls later or add a fancy trim around the top to make it trendy when you go to sell. It also saves you enough money to be able to replace countertops or refresh your bathrooms when you do go to sell in 9 years or it lets you save that money for other projects around the house that you will enjoy over time.

Having a house that you plan to sell means taking the middle road between what you want now and what might be expensive to change in the future. With a little planning, you can usually get pretty close to having both.
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September 17 2010
Since this is your starter home you may want to be conservative and go with cheaper option. However I tell my clients if you invest in low your return will be low also. I would also question how important it is for you to update the cabinets at this point? Can you hold off till you are in better financial situation. Paint and do other updates to make the home feel fresh, clean and new!.

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September 17 2010
Do what is needed and what pleases you. Kitchen and bathroom updates provide a decent return on the investment but very little in the way of remodeling will return even it's own cost. Updates may help to make your home sell quicker but not necessarily for more money. I would advise keeping the style conservative, (remember the dark woodwork and burnt orange carpets from the 70's), Whatever you do don't try to exceed the average for the neighborhood, ie. granite counters and hardwood floors in a subdivision of starter homes with laminate and vinyl.

If you feel the roof may need to be replaced in the near future it might be best to save for that. Try to imagine the next buyer dealing with the initial expense and then spending thousands to replace the roof. I think it's likely they would look for another home.   
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August 13 2010
 
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