Sarah Kelsey, Special to National Post | October 19, 2015 11:11 AM ET
Buyers are looking for a kitchen with good flow and a cohesive style throughout, not necessarily up-to-the-minute appliances.
Q. Our kitchen appliances are in great working condition, but they’re not the most modern or stylish. We upgraded them along with our kitchen 15 years ago. Do purchasers care if a stove or fridge isn’t stainless steel? Would investing in new units increase our property’s value?
A. “The trick isn’t that all the appliances be modern or stylish, but instead that they are suited to the kitchen they are in,” says Chris Allen, a real estate agent and the author of The Book on Toronto Real Estate.
“Few things stand out as awkwardly as seeing brand new stainless steel appliances in a kitchen with worn melamine countertops, tired old cupboards and tarnished or mismatching cabinet handles.”
He recommends this family skip investing in new units largely because they now match the look of their space, the machines are in good condition and they were upgraded. The buyers may purchase the place with the thought of renovating it, in which case they’ll undoubtedly look to buy new appliances anyway.
Allen doesn’t deny that stainless steel stoves, fridges and dishwashers can positively affect the value of a home. The catch is they need to fit in with the overall look of a space.
“If someone has the standard white 1970s-style devices and they’ve renovated their kitchen so it now better suits a sleek black or stainless steel unit, then it’s time for an upgrade.”
Sellers should also look to buy new appliances if the ones they currently have don’t work, will cost a fortune to repair or if they’re downright dated.
“If someone’s 1950s fridge is still running strong, but has a face that looks its age, they may be better off replacing it,” he says. “They may also see potential cost savings in electricity by shutting the non-energy efficient unit off.”
Allen suggests this family take some time to thoroughly clean the stove, fridge and dishwasher before they list their property.
Another option is to look into some facade upgrades for the large units such as the fridge. Many tasteful paints and removable “wallpapers” can help cover up the appliance to make it look a little more modern. Google “fridge wallpaper” and “appliance paint.”
Overall, he says simply having new units is not enough to increase the value of a house.
“Buyers are looking for up-to-date appliances in a matching kitchen. What impresses them is when everything flows together nicely.”