Profile picture for Mom2NAC

How big of a deal are light fixtures?

Our realtor suggested that we "consider" updating our light fixtures.  They are shiny brass, but are not terrible looking (other than the brass, of course).  The problem is that in the main living area (the room you see when you first enter the house), the ceiling is vaulted, up to the second floor, so there is no way we would be able to do the light fixtures on our own.  We have a living/dining combo, so the fixtures in the room include the dining chandelier, a ceiling fan with lights, and a foyer light.  We could probably do the foyer light because it is at the beginning of the pitch, and we could just reach it with a free standing ladder. 

Which brings me to another couple of questions - if we just replace the foyer light, we have to keep it brass, right?  Since the other lights in the room are brass?  And what do you think of a flush mount fixture on a pitched ceiling?  That would be much cheaper and simpler to install than a pendant light, which is what is currently there.
  • April 21 2012 - US
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Answers (7)

Profile picture for Ofe Polack
Listen to what Mack has to say, because he is so right!  You hire a Realtor, as your listing agent, because you trust that person's expertise, when you bbegin to question her recommendations.....then you are not trusting so much.  I suggest that you ask your agent to bring a few other agents to offer their comments on the matter.  We can't see the physical space, or your fixtures, to make any recommendations from where we are.  Sorry just being honest~!
  • April 22 2012
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People that are interested in purchasing your home are not buying it for the fixtures, but rather for the integrity of the house itself. Even if you replace all of the fixtures................would they be to the liking of the Buyer?  In my opinion, that "adjustment" can be made and reflected in the price of the home, that way, they could get the fixtures that they like.
Just a thought.
Ania Miller
  • April 22 2012
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Have you considered trying to polish the brass on the fixture you can reach.  If it works on the one you can reach, you could do that and give it a good coat of shellac to inhibit retarnishing.  If it works you could rent a ladder as Sunnyview has suggested, and do the other to fixtures as well, just remember to turn the power off at the breaker before attempting it even if you polish them in place.
  • April 22 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Honestly, I am not a fan of the flush light fixture on a tall foyer ceiling. They always seem to look far away like a little brass satellite in out space. lol Pendant lights seem to work better in those spaces and make the area seem grand yet inviting.

Replacing lights in the main rooms can make a big difference and is pretty cost effective. It can make the house look more updated for a relatively small amount. Along with painting, it was one of the first things I did when I bought my current house.

If your ceiling is high, you can rent a ladder from a rental yard for not very much or you can hire a qualified handyman that has tools for the job. I would do the lights you can yourself if you are handy and then for the foyer get the tools or help you need. Many of the big box stores have nice matching lights. Most are not too expensive. Just remember you are going for a good first impression and want the lights to fit with the general style of your house.
  • April 22 2012
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Mom, collectively, we can't do as good a job as one Realtor®. Committees do not create better work than one good manager. Especially when they haven't visited the site.

My advice is to either trust the agent you've got, or get one that you do trust.

All the best,
  • April 21 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
If you can't get to the fixture to replace it, how do you get to the fixture to relamp it?  It sounds like you may be intending to create more problems than you already have.

Light fixtures can cost anywhere between $1 and $20,000, depending on what you want, and why.

Brass can also be polished instead of replaced.

As for choice of materials?  It really depends on other finishes in the room, and the coordination of the design.

Most Realtors are not interior decorators nor Architects.  Though they may know something about "curb appeal", and "first impressions", and "staging", that won't give you the full economic picture not the potential return on investment, nor what might work the best long term.

You can't just put any random can light in a ceiling and expect to have good lighting.  You really want to know something about the efficiency of the fixture and the photometrics of the fixture, and the maximum wattage (or lumen output).  Also, for recessed lights, you need to consider if they are rated for insulation contact, or whether space needs to be maintained.  And you need to consider the depth of the fixture, and space between the ceiling and roof.

Changing out 4 fixtures "in kind" because they look rusty and would take too long to clean up is no big deal.  Trying to "upgrade" for one reason or another is often a bit more of a challenge to make sure you are having the intended affect.
  • April 21 2012
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Ask another Realtor for an opinion of the cost of the light fixture will be recovered on sale. Im my experience it USUALLY is not but Im not sure what city/area you are in OR the price range of the fixture.
  • April 21 2012
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