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Seeking opinions--especially from realtors--on value of kitchen/bath renovations

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ljr:
We bought an un-renovated Hawthorne Ct apartment in 2011 that was in pretty good, fairly original shape, and we only made a few, mostly cosmetic improvements (paint, new kitchen appliances, backsplash, kitchen floor, new light fixtures, new window coverings, new showerheads and bathroom cabinets).

Since then, our kitchen and big bathroom have aged even more, of course, and now we are thinking of doing a real renovation on those two rooms. However, we are not sure we will be staying here long-term, and we are wondering if we should spend the money renovating. If we do move, it likely won't be for a few more years at least.

The question is: do you really get the money back when you sell? How many potential buyers want an apartment that needs very little updating vs how many would rather buy an apartment that has not been recently renovated, so they can renovate to their own taste? I know I have spoken to people who had the latter preference and said they did not want to buy someone else's renovation and did not want to rip out a recent renovation because they didn't like it.

Basically, we are wondering if it would be worth it, on the resale, or if we'd be better off just living with the present condition of the rooms till we have a better idea if we will move in the next few years or stay. We'd love a new kitchen and bath--but it's a lot of money. In our former building, though, we recall that some people were unable to sell until they renovated their very old kitchens. But that was in a worse market....

Anyone have thoughts on this?

CaptainFlannel:
^one thing to consider is what is your board's policy about the minimum sale price it will approve. Flip tax is a consideration too, if your coop has one.

ljr:
Captain Flannel--we have no flip tax--never has been one here--and there is no minimum price the board will approve.
We are all on the board as there are only 10 of us, and apartments turn over very infrequently--twice in the past 15-20 years has there been an apartment sale here. Values have gone way, way, up in that time, so anyone selling now would be selling far above what they bought for.

There are no concerns vis-a-vis the coop--just wondering if $40K spent would result in a sale price that much higher.

CaptainFlannel:
ah, sounds like you're in a good position in terms of maximum flexibility!

In my non-expert opinion, I'd wager it's just going to depend on how the market is when you decide you want to sell. I keep an eye on sales in my building, and about a year and half ago (I think) I couldn't believe the prices sellers were getting for apartments with shag carpeting, original cabinets and 1980's era laminate counters, with minimal time on the market (for coops that is). My impression is the market has softened a bit (or that current prices have reached the point where folks are no longer sensing the prices are going to increase at the same rate as the previous couple of years.)

But what do I know? Hopefully you can find an agent with better credentials than my "looks at Realtor.com and MLSLI.com a lot."

ljr:
Thanks Captain Flannel--I was kinda hoping some realtors read the board and would pipe up. I also watch the market obsessively--a hobby. We did renovate our last apartment (not in JH) and wound up very happy with the result--then when we decided we needed to downsize for budget-cutting reasons over a decade later, had to say goodbye to our lovely cherry cabinets, granite counters, new appliances, marble bath, etc.

Our kitchen here is smaller and more cramped, and we'd love to open it up a bit, create more counter space, etc. And the bathroom is just so old it's deteriorating--it appears to be the original bathroom, except for the cabinet over the sink--so it's nearly 100 years old, tub in lousy shape, old tiles missing, old pipes that clog easily and have sprung leaks.

I think most people would have redone the bathroom by now, but we've been trying to avoid the expense for as long as possible. But thinking about it now. Also thinking that doing both together might make a big enough job that we could actually get a good contractor--they don't like to bother will small jobs, I guess.

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