Question About Updating Kitchen

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Question About Updating Kitchen
Thu, 01-24-2013 - 4:43pm

I was wondering if you guys could give me your opinons about what I should do with regard to my kitchen.

My home is an older (built in 1872) "character" home in a small rural community.  I want to sell it (and had it on the market for approximately 18 months prior taking it off the market to refi.  I will be listing it again soon.  The local housing market has been very down for several years, and is now starting to see some recovery in the lower priced homes - which, hopefully means the higher priced homes will be selling again soon.)  It has been substantially renovated with a complete kitchen overhaul approximately 12 years ago.  

Now my wall oven is dead.  

My appliances and counters are white, and they match the originally painted pine trim and white radiators in the room.

The replacement price for a white wall oven is in the $1200 range.

But I wonder if anyone thinking of buying the home would want to upgrade to stainless ('cause it seems like EVERYONE thinks stainless is the ONLY way to go). 

I don't want to upgrade everything to stainless, but I could . . . if it might help to sell the home.

But . . . I wonder if any potential buyer would want their own preferences in the kitchen (and upgrade the appliance to their own tastes)?  Perhaps any potential buyer wouldn't so much care if the wall oven worked (there is another range/oven to use) since they would want to replace all the appliances and perhaps even the counters and floor.  

Let me say that I would think anyone interested in buying a home this age isn't the type of person necessarily expecting a complete, move in ready home.  I suspect these sorts of buyers are ready to roll up their sleeves and make some changes (though I could be wrong).  Our home is period appropriate which includes wood siding, etc . . . Potential buyers will (I certainly hope) understand that there is work involved in maintaining an older home.

(My H did a wonderful job with the kitchen upgrade, even moving out a few load bearing walls to enlarge it.  People RAVE about the kitchen, but also there are many people who are suprised we haven't "upgraded" to stainless steel yet.)  

If I were staying, I personally would stick with a white wall oven (at least for the time being until I could afford to fully update the roome again).

So do you think I should buy a new white oven, no oven at all (since there is another one to use), update all the kitchen appliances?????

I'd appreciate any insights. 

Thanks so much for reading this post!


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 01-24-2013 - 8:00pm

I don't have a qualified answer for you, just my opinion.  Laughing

I don't know that stainless is something a house MUST have.  Acutally, isn't stainless kind of a pain with fingerprints and all that?  I only have one stainless piece on my counter and I have no desire to have any more.  It just seems to be high maintenance.  I have a GF who said she wishes she had never got her stainless refridgerator.  

Plus, with the age of your house, I wouldn't think people would expect stainless.  I could be wrong.  

As far as the wall oven, I don't think I would rush out and spend that kind of money on a new one unless it is something you currently use now, and has nothing to do with what a potential buyer may, or may not want.  If you want a new one, or need a new one, or will use a new one, then go right ahead and get one that matches what you have and plan on keeping.  

If you don't need the wall oven, or don't really use it, or don't really care either way, then maybe wait on the purchase and have an allowance for that (or however that works when you sell a house with things you know a new owner will need to fix or replace).

I just know you have to be careful with all of the ideas real estate agents throw out at you that will help your house sell.  They might be right, but I think you have to decice where that line is for you personally.  I mean, would you REALLY make a profit above the $1,200 cost?  I don't know.  No way to truly know.  

So, if you use it now, then get it.  If not, then maybe wait.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Fri, 01-25-2013 - 7:46am

I am going to build a house and have no plans for stainless. Don't like it. Go with the white I say. You won't get your money out of it and if its not your thing, its not worth it. Good luck in selling!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2009
Fri, 01-25-2013 - 1:45pm

I think you should postpone the purchase alltogether unless you will get a lot of use out of it and keep a fund for repairs that a buyer may ask for in the purchase contract. You are very unlikely to recoup the cost when you actually do sell (especially when you mention that the home has been on the market previously and did not sell for 18 months). Additionally, while buyers may like the stainless upgrade it probably will not add to the purchase price...the thing it may do is help it to sell a little quicker (kitchens and baths sell the house...blah blah). It seems like a big expense for no return on investment.

I agree with PP...stainless is a PAIN to keep clean. I only have my dishwasher in stainless and I have baby handprints on it all.the.time...I loved it until I owned it and had to clean it :(

JenAaron.jpg picture by jen2075

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Fri, 01-25-2013 - 4:01pm
I do agree with the concensus here - NO stainless for me and I don't even see stainless in a period home, although I may be wrong. Why not add a $1000 kitchen appliance upgrade to the offer on the home OR put it in a counter offer? If you get an offer and it is low, make a counter and add a gift card for $1000 of home appliances and that might help your deal. My DH is not that handy - or should I say he does not WANT to be that handy, so count your blessings! I would love an upgrand and would NOT do stainless and my house is not period, but a cape cod built in the 1990s. Good luck on the sale! -Marie
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Sat, 01-26-2013 - 1:25am

Unfortunately, buying a home often involves perception and emotional reaction. Some might subconsciously what else you have left unrepaired in your home when they discover the wall oven is not working. When I was house hunting, I remember seeing those "cash back/buy your own thing" deals and thinking there must be something wrong with the house! Of course, I didn't KNOW that...and I feel guilty admitting that...but I did think that.

Why not try to find a used white wall oven on craigslist? I seriously think $1200 is a waste but you need all the help you can ge to sell the place :)

And yes, there are snobby people about SS. I have it but that is just bc I thought it be a good resale feature and it fits our preferred design scheme. I do prefer black over white but I ironically have had white & SS appliances only, lol!

I watch House Hunters on TV all the time (it is one of the few programs that doesn't have a Call to Duty or some graphic commercial I don't want my boys seeing!). I can't believe how snobby some shoppers can be. I remember one woman INSISTING that she must have some specific tile (porcelain or something)...and then saying in EVERY house, "is this porcelain?" Hmm...if you can't tell, why does it matter so much? But to some it DOES.

Good luck and keep us posted. I'm putting my home up for sale next month!


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Sat, 01-26-2013 - 1:27am
Sorry about the terrible syntax - I have been up since 6am & my brain is done!! I'm even too lazy to go back and edit it :( Dee
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Sat, 01-26-2013 - 1:32pm

I can't reply to the original post. I would say hang on for now. If it looks okay and you have another option then let it be for now. You can always replace it if you need to, but if not, hang on to the cash!

Bex -

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Sat, 01-26-2013 - 2:16pm
I think looking for a used white oven is a great idea. If you get close to the listing time and haven't found one, you can always make a decision then. Or could you pull it out all together and make it cabinet space if you already have an oven? I lik the design shows, but it cracks me up how people have to have granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and ensuite baths in their starter home. I grew up in a 1960's development of ranch houses, three bedrooms, one bathroom...and some families had six kids....we only had two...we each had our OWN room...our freinds were envious...
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-11-2008
Sun, 01-27-2013 - 8:25pm
It's true, a lot of people tend to like the stainless look (for whatever reason...I'm not one of them). If the appliance still looks new and in great condition, I would offer an appliance credit for the buyer. A good realtor will help you plan how to go about it.



Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Mon, 01-28-2013 - 4:01pm

I'd say that if you can find a used white wall oven to install, great.  If not, I would probably grit my teeth and buy a replacement one.

The reason, as someone else here said, is that potential buyers may wonder what else you "let slide" if a major appliance isn't working. 

I would not replace everything with stainless.  Not because some people don't find it attractive (we have stainless and it's not hard to keep clean at all), but because stainless appliances will probably not influence anyone one way or another with your house.  You seem to have a good awareness of who's likely to buy an old house; stainless appliances probably aren't going to sway an old-house buyer in either direction.  If they like charm, they'll like the white appliances; if they like stainless, they probably have a preferred brand or style in mind.  Stainless in an antique house isn't the "must have" update that it is in a 20-50yo house.