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Kitchen Cabinet Painting or Laminates?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ July 7, 2010 ~ 2 Comments » | Respond to this question

I want to sell our home in New Jersey, but not in this market. There are plywood kitchen cabinets in the upstairs rental we have and the doors are worn. Is is smarter to add strip laminate or paint them as opposed to having them redone completely? Could it negatively affect our home value?

Barry P. ~ Passaic, New Jersey

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Barry, I'm not sure how the real estate market is in Passaic, New Jersey, but if it is anything like around here then I think the keys to selling your house are pricing it right and making it stand apart from the others in the same price and size range. A good location doesn't hurt either.

If we were talking about your main kitchen, I might have a different opinion, but for a rental unit in the house I think you should make it look very nice without spending a lot of money to do so. I don't know how the cabinets look right now, but anyone who purchases your house will probably use the space as a rental unit like you have or perhaps use it an an in-law suite.

The kitchen area is probably not very large, but installing all new cabinets is still going to be an expense you probably don't need, and I feel the same is true with installing laminate at this time. I would recommend have a painting contractor do a nice job of painting the kitchen cabinets in a nice neutral color. You might want to choose white as it can really brighten up a small area. I would also have someone check all of the kitchen cabinet doors to make sure the hardware is nice and all doors operate properly. Installing new pulls on the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers isn't expensive and is something you could probably do yourself. A fresh coat of paint and new hardware may go a long way towards making the kitchen cabinets look new again.

One last thought concerning the laminate or installing new cabinets in the rental kitchen area. If you have a serious buyer looking at your home and they are talking about using the space as an in-law suite, you might offer to absorb the cost of redoing the kitchen cabinets as part of the deal. Potential buyers planning on installing family in the space are going to want it to look a little nicer than a rental space. Offering to install new kitchen cabinets or to laminate them might close the deal for you and it wouldn't cost you very much in the long run. I would definitely put a ceiling on your proposed improvements though, you don't want to be paying to install custom cherry cabinets and granite counter tops in the space.

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