A reader asked whether it makes sense to pay up for the most popular brands of kitchen appliances when redoing her kitchen. I stand ready to be corrected by my readers but my impression is that it does not. A GE Monogram refrigerator, for instance, is rated by Consumer Reports to be far superior to a Sub-Zero. Neither appliance is cheap, but the Sub-Zero is far, far more expensive. Same for Sub-Zero’s “Wolf” brand of stoves. Why pay more for less, if the next buyer won’t care?
It’s my experience that while buyers may look for the Greenwich brands like Sub-Zero, and builders all install them because buyers of new homes expect them, that doesn’t mean they’ll pay extra if they’re there – kitchen remodeling is often on the top of the to-do list for these people, so what do they care, really, about the brand of appliances they’ll be tossing in the dumpster?
And speaking of dumpster diving, I have recommended Green Demolitions here many times because it’s a great organization that offers incredible bargains on practically new kitchens donated by remodelers. $15,000 for a $100,000 kitchen is typical: granite counters, custom cabinets, appliances, the whole deal. If you’re in the mood for replacing your kitchen you’d be well served to contact them and see what someone else has recently donated. All top-of-the-line stuff, all really well priced.
So my advice on appliances is about the same as it is for most improvements: buy for yourself and don’t worry about resale. If you want a pool, go for it. Write off its cost when you install it, enjoy it during your ownership and if you make some of it back when you move, that’s a nice bonus. If you want a Bosch dishwasher (I do, they’re great) or an LG washer/dryer, pay up and get them for their performance – just don’t think you have to spend that money to sell your house later. A three-year-old appliance will still work perfectly but is worthless in terms of resale.