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Best Appliance Brands for 'curb appeal'?

14 years ago

Hi, all,

We are getting ready to purchase new appliaces to update our kitchen with the expectation that we will sell our home in about 3 years (the kitchen is 20 years old now).

I haven't shopped for appliances in a few years and I am a bit out of touch with my kids grown and gone. I don't really know what the suburban working mother of 3 (let's say middle schooler/high schooler age kids) which is who I would guess would be cooking in our kitchen expects to have in her kitchen. Or would LUV to have in her kitchen.

I am reading about Avantium ovens, Blue Star ranges, wolfs, sub zeros, etc., but some of these prices seem a bit excessive unless you are buying them as a 'treat' for yourself. (And most of these high end brand names I have had in the past in one house or the other, so I know they do a similar job to the 'ordinary' brands).

So, in your opinion, what appliances can I get by with purchasing, let's say, 'Kitchen Aid', and which appliance should I splurge on for 'curb appeal' or to really set our kitchen apart so that our house will sell faster than my neighbor's home??

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Comments (21)

  • Fori
    14 years ago

    Depends on the neighborhood of course but I think you'd get the best resale bank for your buck putting the well-known brand on a range or wall oven. Other items don't jump out as much so no need to go fancy on those. And those brands would be Wolf, Viking, or Thermador (unless your prospective buyer is into appliances like us people).

    And get a counter depth (if not built in) fridge because the kitchen will show better.

  • ya_think
    14 years ago

    As fori said, depends on the neighborhood. But in a middle class neighborhood I think splurging on a 36" Wolf range will set you apart. They've got very good brand name recognition AND they're a good brand.

    I would not plunk down thousands and thousands on a built-in fridge for a 20 year old kitchen unless the cabinets were in very good shape and of a style that still is in fashion. The very last thing I would spend money on is speedcook technology. 99% of people are going to see a microwave.

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  • davidg_tgi
    14 years ago

    The best applianes to recommend depends on several variables like, neihborhood, cost of the other properties in the immediate area and budget. Having said that I'd recommend going with a inexpensive ($400.00 regular range) for the time being and a black fridge and black dishwasher and preferably a cheap vent hood to get by. Then in 3 years when you plan on selling, I'd recommend a new stainless steel microhood over a new stainless range and a stainless steel panel kit for the dishwasher and frige close to the time of selling. That way you're updating the look of the frige and dishwasher without buying in 3 years.

  • plllog
    14 years ago

    In Beverly Hills, go SubZero or go home. But then, a buyer is likely to rip out whatever you've put into the kitchen anyway, especially north of Santa Monica.

    For more sane parts of the world, check the real estate listings. If they brag on the names of the appliances, e.g., "Nearly new Viking kitchen!!", there's your answer. If they don't, then don't worry about it so much.

    If you're in a very high end market but want to keep it reasonable, you might try the up lines of broader companies, like GE Monogram and Kitchen Aid Architect. If you're in a normal market where "nice" is good enough, choose appliances that you like, even if they're not fancy, and keep them nicely. Instead go for some bells and whistles. If there's room, make sure you have double ovens, a built-in microwave or dedicated place for it, a large fridge--counter depth, etc. And little, inexpensive touches like the air switch for the disposer, tapmaster to turn on faucets, spice pullout, etc., that make a kitchen special.

  • muddypond
    14 years ago

    Bosch dishwasher for sure. A real estate agent told me they are a great selling point, even in the boonies.

  • chipshot
    14 years ago

    I'd prefer an empty kitchen and a big allowance. That said, make sure whatever you have is immaculate.

  • fairfieldcircle
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    OK. Lots of good points here. Thanks so much.

    We are in a fairly upscale neighborhood enhabited by 'professionals' here in Cincinnati, although not an 'elite' neighborhood (like Beverly Hills, but are more like San Marino). I don't think I need ALL premium appliances, so I appreciate the advice on where to focus the dollars.

    I guess my idea of buying appliances now is so that I can use them for a while, too! And they seem to be breaking down rather steadily too.

    It's interesting that there were several mentions for the counter depth fridges. I was hoping I could get away with a nice double door stainless non-built-in model. I know about half the kitchens on our cul de sac have subzero or the other built ins.

    One thing that's troubling me is that we have a Jenn-air downdraft gas cooktop with an Over the Range microwave and after reading the threads here I understand OTR micros are really NOT loved. So should I go ahead and have a range hood installed and put a range underneath and find another place for a microwave?

    I had no idea OTR microwaves were so hated, but I have to admit when we bought this house I thought it looked pretty cheesey, and if others think so too, maybe I should get rid of it as a first priority.

    I'm going to have a good custom cabinet maker (David T. Smith) come in and rebuild some of the cabinets to create a more up to date look so I have some flexibility.

    And what about those wine refrigeration units? Are they necessary? (We don't have a wine cellar).

    So no advantium/speedcook stuff. That's good. I suppose a convection oven or two is a must, though?

    Thanks again.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Workshops of David T. Smith

  • plllog
    14 years ago

    Wine refrigerators came into vogue as a replacement for trash compactors. Then they got a little bigger and were good for the newer style of building with lots of usable interior space but little grounds or storage. But they're what you might call a "lifestyle" appliance. If you have a huge kitchen and nothing better to do with your space or money, yeah a wine or beverage fridge is a no brainer. Otherwise, get it if you want to keep your wine cold.

    I think investing in a "feature" range and hood which will have good visual impact as well as utility for real cooking will give you good bang for your buck. People usually buy with their eyes. Cooks look for function. A good, good-looking range and hood will give you both.

    Rather than building in a microwave, you could make a dedicated cubby into which to set a countertop style unit. This looks attractive and allows the new owners to customize easily. Plus, I assume you have the OTR because of counterspace issues to begin with. Sharp microwave drawers are very cool, but I'd be worried it would be hard to keep really pristine and still use for three years.

    You answered the frigde question yourself: I know about half the kitchens on our cul de sac have subzero or the other built ins. Since you're trying to make your kitchen attractive to buyers you want to have the same average standard, or above, as your neighbors. The good news is that even with some of the more recent doubts people have expressed about Sub-Zero, the phrase "three-year-old SubZero" sounds like nearly new and is an attractive feature. You could do Monogram, Miele, BSH (Thermador or Gaggenau) instead, but, as I said, in BH, and San Marino as well, go SubZero or go home. There's cachet. And there's that new air filter thing that keeps the veggies pseudo-fresh for weeks.

  • mfrog
    14 years ago

    I love this question. I was out looking at tile & the salesperson asked what my appliances were, I told her white.

    She said "oh well maybe one day you can upgrade to stainless"

    My brand new white appliances were being delivered the next day, the stove being an Electrolux wave touch gas range & the new Samsung fridge.

    But she's right, perhaps when I go to sell, I'll take them with me & replace them with run of the mill stainless.

    Ask around at places where people buy things for their kitchens, ask at appliance stores what is popular in your price range.

  • lascatx
    14 years ago

    If you are in a built-in fridge neighborhood (at least 1/3 to 1/2) I would go built-in, even if you do a 36" one. I think Thermador and Bosch are becoming widely known in that market, and the fully integrated look would be the way to go in my book.

    Bosch is s good DW you will enjoy using and will still be good for resale.

    I would go with a pro look or a sleek look for cooking (drop in gas or induction) if you are planning on resale. I don't think it needs to be the most expensive, and I don't think I would go with Bluestar if you are planning on resale. The name is known here, but it isn't a household name brand.

    If you go all Wolf/Subzero, a realtor will say "Subzero kitchen." They might say that with just the fridge being SubZero. If you go with all pro look they will list a professional or gourmet kitchen and built in fridge. They will figure out how to spin it to the best advantage.

  • chipshot
    14 years ago

    I love it when realtors say "gourmet kitchen" because I imagine many gourmet (real or self-imagined) would prefer to design and equip a kitchen their way. Kitchen design and appliance selection can be very personal; one size does not fit all.

  • PRO
    modern life interiors
    14 years ago

    It depends on where you live. I am also out of touch
    . My condo reno is starting like this ........

    retiling bathroom with american olean catarina tiles.....wall 10x13 inch coliseum white.

    The floor is 12x12 inch catarina coliseum white

    . it looks like marble without the high price. I am making copies of a high end look.

    The price of the tile is $2 each. a real fortune!

    My kitchen cabinets will be Ikea abstrakt white. The base cabinets will be all drawers. The tall pantry will be all adjustable shelves with 2 doors covering it.

    The appliances are a 24 inch gas cooktop and a 24 inch convection electric oven from miele that fits right below the cooktop.
    I was lucky enough to win both pieces on an ebay auction.

    It came from a brand new building and the owner does not want miele.

    It is still under warranty with all paperwork and all parts wrapped up.

    it was a small fortune but still less expensive than retail. Miele does not discount anywhere.

    In otherwords I saved about 35% off of retail and no tax.

    The refrigerator/freezer will be a 24 inch integrated liebherr. It is half the price of subzero with no bad repair history like subzero.

    If you buy pre owned luxury appliances take the serial number fom the item and call the manufacturer. They will tell you exactly when it was made and who bought it. Do this before you buy from the owner. Ask the manufacturer about the warranty.

    Corian glacier category A, the least expensive but the brightest white from lowes at $37 a foot including the installers from dupont corian company.

    With a little bit of imagination and some careful planning you will be ok with your project.

    Who has money to make the real thing?

  • fairfieldcircle
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Thank you all for your additional points. OK: No wine unit. Must get built-in fridge. Must get rid of OTR microwave. That's all settled!

    I have been out asking the appliance installer guys and the kitchen cabinet suppliers in our neighborhood about the brands for our neighborhood, etc. They are pretty much confirmall all you are telling me. I suppose I should call a real estate person now too, just to cover all the bases.

    Three more questions:

    1. Are convection ovens the norm now or can I get by with a standard double oven set or just one convection (of a double oven set) and one traditional oven?

    2. I don't really have a counter space issue. I don't know why in the world they put in an OTR, our cabinets are custom made by a cabinet maker and they could have put it anywhere. But I like the drawer Sharp microwave idea. I hadn't thought of that. So I was considering getting 'panel ready' appliances rather than all stainless steel. Wrong idea?

    3. What about a flat screen TV mounted on the wall in the kitchen. My sister has one and her husband thinks it is really cool. Not necessary, but it seems like the men love that sort of thing. A kind of 'hook', you know.

    mfrog, I am sorry your saleslady said that. It seems like people these days are automatically focussed on stainless steel, even though some of it is quite ugly, and some of it is very nice, too, of course.

    And gita, I applaud your resourcefulness, but I'm not up to being so creative or energetic anymore!

    Yes, I know, the real cooks would love to install their own kitchens, but of course, it's difficult to do a remodel these days so most have to accept what is in place. The word 'gourmet' can mean many different things, I'm finding out, and it really is a silly word, isn't it?!

    At least we found some nice granite (while out looking at display kitchens Friday, so that's settled). I'm assuming you guys will say granite is a MUST too! Right? (Although in our house in Pasadena we had mahogany and stainless steel and a little granite too. Don't see that around here, though).

    You have all been very helpful! Thanks so much for the tips.

  • plllog
    14 years ago

    Most convection ovens let you choose whether or not to use the convection. The ovens don't matter as much on a sales impact value--the new owners should be able to replace them easily, especially if you do 30" (27" seems to be on the way out). But for the whole "buy me rather than the neighbors'" thing convection is better because it's a "feature".

    Panels are a good choice. I'd definitely do stainless or match the cabinets with panels for the resale thing, but either will do. If you like the Sharp MW drawer, go for it. Just be careful to keep it really clean. :)

    TV, yes. It's a feature. Anything that's a feature is a selling point, including customization inside the cabinets. Pullouts, organizers, etc. But not so custom people can't envision their own stuff inside.

    Granite isn't an absolute must, but it's safe. It's not going out of style in three years.

    Re Chipshot's observation: I think a "gourmet" kitchen is anything that's appealing to people who are interested in kitchens. My big disappointment was some time back when I had to make a sudden move and was so enticed by the ad for a place with a "cook's kitchen" (Brentwood). I wouldn't have fallen for "gourmet" but "cook's" sounded really good. The worst kitchen for cooking in I've ever had. What made it a "cook's kitchen" in the eyes of the guy who wrote the ad was that it had a long peninsula separating it from the living room, so therefore the cook could put on a show for his friends. Had nothing to do with the scrawny fridge, cheesy old OTR MW, rattletrap range, or lack of cupboards. My furniture fit and it had a separate stall shower, so I took the place, but got out as soon as I could.

  • mfrog
    14 years ago

    I'm not sure if someone offered this tip too, sorry if they did.
    I called our realtor to find out what clients were looking for in a kitchen in your price range. It was very interesting for me & helped me make a decision for myself rather than for someone else.
    Good luck!

  • ya_think
    14 years ago

    Just some more of my gut (i.e. uninformed but honest) opinions:

    Sharp microwave drawers - Is cleaning the "ceiling" involved? More importantly, are the controls below counter level? If the answer to either of those questions are "yes" and you aren't starved for space (doesn't sound like it) then I'd look elsewhere.

    If you're going for the SZ or similar, I'd go with panels. First off, 3 years is a long time to risk stainless getting scratched or dinged. Wood is more forgiving and repairable. Secondly, 3 years is a long time to sit around and pray that these stainless steel kitchens are still in vogue. I don't know about you, but I'm seeing less emphasis in the mags.

    Granite a "must"? Hasn't granite been called the new formica for a couple years now? I'd consider it a minimum in a higher end kitchen these days. A safe minimum. Your mahogany/stainless/granite sounds lovely though.

    Flat screen - Assuming you've got a seating area where someone is apt to sit down with a cup of coffee and the morning paper, it sure couldn't hurt. Plus, you'd probably be looking at a relatively small size, and those are pretty cheap these days.

  • eleeny
    13 years ago

    Posted by plllog on Fri, Feb 20, 09 at 15:15
    ... And there's that new air filter thing that keeps the veggies pseudo-fresh for weeks.

    Sorry to go off topic, but what is that? Sounds great! Does it really work, or is it just a gimmick? Would love to know more about it.

  • amcook
    13 years ago

    First thing I'll say is that in most houses, you can't see the kitchen appliances from the curb. I say that with just a touch of humor but the truth is, nobody buys a house just for the appliances and very few people will *not* buy a house because of the appliances. Appliances are easily replaceable and whatever additional value they might gain is probably not worth worrying about now. If you are really going to be in the house for 3 more years, then think about what kind of range/oven/etc will make you happy. If you are really in the mindset of get me out of this house, then keep what you've got until the year before you move out and then replace them with a reasonably nice consumer brand like GE profile or some such. What people see when looking at a kitchen are the counters first, cabinets, second, appliances third. A very few of us that really love cooking might flip that around a bit but I for one know I'll probably replace whatever is there with my hand picked appliances. I guess what I mean to say is nobody is going to pay $5k more for a house because it's got a Wolf range vs a brand new GE. And, like chipshot said above, anybody who really cares probably would rather have the $5k instead to pay for what they want rather than what you picked.

    Go with what will make your house livable FOR YOU for the next 3 years. If you really don't care and just want the best situation for resale, then wait until the year you sell and replace the appliances with mid-high range consumer brand. Depending on the housing market in 3 years in your area, you may be able to sell with old or no appliances.

  • mrtimewise
    13 years ago topic a little...

    I just wanted to say that reading this post has been fascinating. Everyone's ideas are great and better yet, everyone allows other ideas to be stated without debunking them.

    This GW Appliance forum site is just wonderful. I'm actually reading topics that are of little concern to me just to get ideas.

    BTW...we have an OTR 240 V Advantium that we love. Nevertheless, I do wish there was a nice hood in its place with a 36" countertop range below. Had I designed the kitchen with the information I find here, the Advantium would have been located in a different area.

    We really like our 9 year old Thermador gas cooktop with two "extra-low" simmer burners. You gotta get such a feature regardless of the brand name. Get a 36" size cooktop or range if you can accommodate that size.

    And get a 30" wall oven - single or double - for resale since built-in wall oven cabinetry can be expensive to change.

  • kirkebaby
    13 years ago

    I am so excited everyone on this forum posted answers to what I have been mulling over. My kitchen has been gutted and I have to select my final problem: the ovens.

    We are doing a complete gut- we live in a neighborhood similar to 'fairfieldcircle'- in Richmond, VA and I love to cook and entertain, so we decided to go with the new Sub-Zero (found a floor model at the distributor) and the Wolf rangetop 4 burners and griddle in the island with the downdraft vent.

    We are going with 2 dishwashers- one Miele (I got a full warranty, unopened return for 1/2 price only reason I went with Miele- I never really researched); and a one-drawer dishwasher (Fisher Paykel) for our 'beverage center' area- and a MOnogram Icemaker/Fridge combo for under the counter in that area.

    Additionally, we also found a floor model Viking Warming Drawer and a Gagganeu in-counter steamer (these were mega savings, so we could optionally not even put these in, but they were too good a deal and we were ruined by the Wolf demonstration of the steamer).

    So my dilemma is about the ovens- reading over the forum, and my 'gut' is to go with the double wall ovens- with convention capability- and just plug a microwave in somewhere in the kitchen(make a shelf? or put it in the pantry?)

    The Wolf we kind of decided was way too expensive, that a Thermador, Electrolux or Monogram would probably do-- but is it really biting off our noses to spite our faces? I don't want to end up going cheap on that- I was also looking at the monogram/avantium combo, etc.

    Thoughts on the double oven?

    We are doing custom white maple shaker style cabinets with soapstone countertops- our island will have our rangetop (and the steamer if we put it in), hardwood floors. We have a 1950s colonial revival, so I am trying to keep with the style of our house- brick and slate with lots of moldings, customs, etc.)

    Any help is really appreciated!

    Here is a link that might be useful: our remodelling blog

  • sfcitydweller
    13 years ago

    We just bought a house, total gut job, but it had a brand new 36' Wolf and a Subzero. The Subzero looked to be about mid 90s, but we later found out it was manufactured in 1981! The reason I bring this up, is because if the house is going to be completely remodeled by new owner, then it is not worth it. However, that does not seem to be your case.

    I know where I live, that if you don't have 'professional' appliances you are at a huge disadvantage come resale time. I also think my city may have an unhealthy obsession with kitchen opulence. You should check local listings online and see what houses similar to yours have in there kitchen.

    We asked our agent if we should try and move the Wolf to out current condo, which will be sold once the house is finished, or try and sell it. He advised putting the Wolf in the condo(We currently have stainless but a random assortment that came with the condo) because it would definitely increase the sale price.