Opportunity Knocks!

The timing of this post might seem funny, since I spent two days last week examining financial responsibility.

But it can’t be denied that some of the best deals of the year will be had in the next two weeks, and I think that any property-owner should consider the pros and cons of purchasing new wares for their homes if they can receive a substantial discount.  Of course, I just assume that people would only buy things if they can afford them, but I digress…

I’d like to take a look today at kitchen appliances and how condo-buyers value “Stainless Steel.”

stainlesssteelkitchen.JPG

Hot Damn!  Tell me that isn’t the ugliest kitchen you’ve ever seen…

It looks like something out of TRON.  Where is Jeff Bridges?  And how come drinks in futuristic movies are always bright blue?  It’s like everybody turned into Smurfs or something…

While I likely wouldn’t re-decorate my entire kitchen in stainless steel like the photo above, there is no denying that stainless steel kitchen appliances are not a fad after-all, and they don’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon.

A “Fad” is defined as: A fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time; a craze.

How “brief” must this period be?

I’ve been in the business now for seven years and I recall plenty stainless steel appliances when I started, although there seem to be more in use now.  There isn’t any “newer, better” alternative, and nobody seems to be getting tired of the shiny metal fridge.

I don’t foresee “Corduroy Stoves” becoming the new hot-ticket, nor do I think we’re transitioning to pink fridges.

I can’t honestly see any superior value from a stricly user perspective, but that’s really not my job.

I analyze things in terms of the real estate angle, and I can tell you, unequivocally, that buyers put a much higher value on a kitchen if the appliances are stainless steel.

Your beer will be just as cold in a black fridge as a stainless steel one, but that doesn’t matter.  It matters what the buyers believe.

In my opinion, there are THREE common upgrades or renovations that people do when they purchase a condominium:

1) Paint
2) Hardwood
3) Appliances

The first one is obvious – everybody paints.  Whether you like the existing colours or not doesn’t matter.  You want to make this your own condo and the first thing to do is get rid of the aura via the paint colours.

If there is carpet in place, most people would immediately put down hardwood flooring, and I think it’s a great investment.

But purchasing new kitchen appliances, believe it or not, is slowly gaining momentum on the “to do list” for most condo buyers, and it has zoomed past “granite counters” and into the top three.

I’m going to stray off topic for a bit, but bear with me…

Have you ever noticed that on November 1st, all Halloween candy is on sale?  Seriously – it’s like 50% off at the minimum.

Fireworks can be snapped up 3-for-1 in the second week of July.

I’m not much of a jewelry buyer, but I’m wondering what prices are like for gold and diamonds the day after Valentine’s Day.  Who knows; in this wacky world, maybe the prices go up.

And I find it tragically ironic that while we’re inundated with advertisements for “sales” around Christmas time, these sale prices simply can’t hold a candle to what we see the following week on Boxing Day and thereafter.

It might make sense for a family, struggling financially or not, to perhaps move Christmas to the 28th of December!  I’m sure they could save a ton of money, or maybe buy twice as many gifts!

But maybe instead of buying shoes we don’t need, shirts we won’t wear, and electronics that offer only a minimal “upgrade” to what we have now, we should look at replacing our existing kitchen appliances with shiny, new stainless steel!

I’m often asked by home-owners, “If I install hardwood flooring for $5,400 – will the value of my condo increase by that amount?”  It’s hard to quantify, but I’m tempted to say “no.”

Kitchen appliances, on the other hand, will bring back almost every penny, in my humble opinion.

In any condominium, the kitchen is always the focal point.  A large, open-concept kitchen with granite counters, slate tiles, and stainless steel appliances will more than make up for a small bedroom, an awkward living/dining, and a lack of storage space.

Buyers immediately fall in love with a beautiful kitchen, and instantly abhor a condo with a kitchen that looks like this:

kitchen24.JPG

So with that in mind, I’ve already begun the search to replace my existing kitchen appliances (which are all Whirlpool with the exception of the Frigidaire stove) as they are now five years old and standard “black” nothing-special.

My kitchen would instantly be jazzed up with stainless-steel, and I think the $1,500 investment would add $1,500 in value if I were to sell my condo tomorrow.

I’ve always been a fan of Red Flag Deals and they certainly did not disappoint in my search for Boxing Day flyers!

Future Shop is offering door-crashers starting on December 24th and I’m eyeing this Samsung package:

samsung.JPG

For the entire Future Shop Boxing Day flyer click HERE.

I’m tempted to say that I see absolutely no difference between various makes and models of stainless steel appliances, and even though I know how ridiculous that sounds (somebody, please rhetorically ask, “Do you notice a difference between a Lexus and a Hyundai?), I think that a $1400 package from Frigidaire might represent a better return on your money than a $2000 package from Samsung.

Do people really assess value to the different brands of kitchen appliances?

Or do they just group “stainless steel” altogether?

When I bring buyers through a house or a condo, they’ll verbally check the upgrade appliances off their list: “Oh, great, stainless steel….that’s awesome.”  But very rarely do people say, “Oh geez, these are Kenmore appliances and I was really hoping for G.E.”

Obviously a Wolf range is going to command a premium, but if we’re talking about a simply fridge, stove, and dishwasher in a run-of-the-mill condo, I’m not sure how much it matters.

The Brick also has their Boxing Day flyer out already.  Take a look at this:

frigidaire.JPG

For the entire The Brick Boxing Day flyer click HERE.

I recognize that Samsung is a better brand than Frigidaire, and I recognize that the Samsung refrigerator in the flyer above has the coveted pull-bottom freezer, but I just don’t know if the $600 premium is warranted.

My goal is essentially to replace my black appliances with their stainless steel counterparts, and I’d like to do that as cheaply as possible.

There are so many ways you can increase your purchase by 40%, and by going from the Frigidaire to the Samsung, I’d be doing exactly that.

I suppose, in theory, if I was able to get $200 for my old appliances then perhaps I’d be willing to pay up for the Samsungs.  The irony is – most of these places charge $50 – $100 per peice to remove the old appliances when you could likely get up to $400 for them on Craigslist.  But who has that kind of time on their hands?

I’ll be sure to follow up with you in January and let you know how I made out.  Perhaps some “Before & After” photos are in order!

10 Comments

Post A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. meow says:

    People can’t resist shiny things. The kitchen is like jewelry, with the shiny metal and sparkling granite.

  2. David says:

    I have the Frigidaire set in my unit at VU and it’s fine… A little bit annoying to clean since stainless steel can be such a biatch with splatter stains, but otherwise a kitchen ensemble that does what it’s meant to do.

  3. kevin says:

    er, trend not tread. 😉

  4. kevin says:

    the new tread (gazes into my crystal ball … or *wallpaper magazine) will be hidden appliances. all trends go from one extreme to the other. they will be hidden in the cabinets providing a sleek, seamless look.

  5. Duncan Scott says:

    You are right on the market with upgrading and with what the others say on measuring first. We recently did a re-design on a clients kitchen and after a lot of researching found that Sears had the best deal. Go the little extra to get a tall tub diswasher that is extra quiet.

    As for the removal of your existing appliances… if you don’t want the to take the time to sell them, contact the Habitat ReStore, or woman’s shelters. You will get a tax receipt from them.

  6. Potato says:

    If the appliances are in good shape, the cheapest way to get a stainless look would be to see if you can find the stainless trim pieces/panels and just swap that out.

    I suspect that stainless is to some extent a fad: a way to quickly mark appliances as being from within the last decade… I can’t say what will come to replace it, perhaps soon your fridge will have to come with that accursed bottom-drawer freezer to be marked as “new-enough”… maybe they’ll start getting patterned appliances, or some other finish… perhaps it’ll be some new feature, like a dieter’s timelock, or smartphone dock. Whatever the future brings, I expect in another ~10 years there will be something that replaces stainless as the shorthand for new and upscale.

  7. moonbeam! says:

    I agree with Wooba — measure first! appliances come in different widths and heights, don’t find out the hard way!

  8. Josh says:

    David – Be sure to Craigslist the old appliances. We got a total of $400.00 for the 15 year old white appliances that came with our house and they were gone within days. There’s a huge market for people looking to furnish rentals/basement apartments. And – as you note – you also save the pick-up fee the store delivery charges to take the old pieces away.

  9. Princess Clara says:

    The double doors on the samsung fridge look way nicer than the frigidaire. 😉

  10. Wooba says:

    Make sure you measure your fridge space to see if the model you are interested in will fit. I changed all my appliances in my recent move and had an extremely hard time finding a fridge with an ice maker that would fit into the tiny space they made.

TWEETS