Building Up a Mountain of Expectations

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

Building Up a Mountain of Expectations

HGTV and other like networks that tout the latest trends in kitchens are building a mountain of expectations with home owners and soon-to-be home owners out there.  While we are living through an unbelievable seller's market, buyers are struggling to afford homes in just about every market in the United States.  Yet, the primary concern a good number of them have is what the kitchen updates are or, how quickly they can update the kitchen.  When did cosmetic finishes become essential?

Earlier tonight, I wrote a post on my personal blog about embracing ugly kitchens.  First time buyers with granite, gray or white cabinets and stainless steel appliances in their minds translate to a newly licensed driver turning their nose up at the hand me down family car while waiting for a new, luxury sports car.  Would a new driver turn down whatever car they could afford if it ran and was reliable?  NO!  Why are buyers turning their noses up at outdated kitchens and making remodeling them a priority?  

Perhaps our seller market conditions will bring expectations into a more realistic realm for first time buyers.  The highest end finishes were not even a consideration when many generations before bought their first home.  It was achieved over time as more important things came into focus.  The pandemic has certainly made saving a more important priority for many.  

We'll see if ugly kitchens are ever embraced for just being the place where a family recipe can be prepared and bring joy.  What happens in the kitchen is far important than its appearance.  Doesn't mean that you can't update the kitchen when it is financially comfortable to do.  Going into debt to update a functional, outdated kitchen makes zero sense.  Nor does draining your savings to get granite and stainless steel appliances to replace laminate counters and functioning appliances in uncertain economic times.

Comments (15)

Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Chris Ann Cleland Thank you for sharing this.

Feb 09, 2021 07:19 PM
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Chris, "The highest end finishes were not even a consideration when many generations before bought their first home" very true. Mos of todays buyers have far higher expectatons.


Feb 09, 2021 07:23 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

And those expectations aren't jiving well with the ever-increasing prices most of our markets are experiencing.

Feb 10, 2021 08:43 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Kitchens, bathrooms and flooring seem to have become focal points for many homebuyers.  However, that being said, I have noticed that certain trends in these areas often outdate about every 10 years.  I'm looking at the modern kitchen cabinetry of today, which one homebuyer labeled "Early IKEA," and I can't help but wonder what trend we will soon see in the future!

Feb 09, 2021 07:56 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

There doesn't seem to be a timeless style emerging Myrl Jeffcoat .  In my mind, wood cabinets are never a bad thing and a neutral counter top.

Feb 10, 2021 08:44 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Chris Ann - keeping up with the Jones(or the Khardashians) may be part of it but true reality doesn't "work" quite like what is portrayed or imagined.  

Feb 10, 2021 03:28 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

It's really limiting to buyers who focus so much on ideal finishes that they can't afford and forego home ownership in the process.

Feb 10, 2021 08:45 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Chris Ann Cleland - the TV reality home shows really do show unrealistic pictures.

Feb 10, 2021 06:11 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Or unrealistic budgets.

Feb 10, 2021 08:45 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Many buyers do want upgraded/new kitchens and are sometimes disappointed to see what their money will buy. But really, the important thing should be whether everything is in great working order....

Feb 10, 2021 06:13 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Working order is definitely more important on a shoe string budget.

Feb 10, 2021 08:45 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

This is a great post to share with our buyers - you make money when you buy the house - not when you sell - so buy the house with the ugly kitchen - and have an ugly sweater party this year at Christmas!

Feb 10, 2021 08:08 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

Time to glorify the ugly kitchen like the ugly sweaters!


Feb 11, 2021 04:27 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Yea I've been hearing this for quite a few years now. I want this, I want that....etc etc. For awhile they could get most of 'that stuff' if they drove out to the subdivision....way far out.  To some it made sense and others figured out it would cost less to remodel at some point in the future than spend 2 or 3 hours driving back and forth to work.  For what?  Granite counters!!

Feb 11, 2021 04:24 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

Granite doesn't make the food taste any better.

Feb 11, 2021 04:27 PM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Interesting perspective, Chris Ann Cleland - you're right. But many of our clients sure want the lastest in kitchen and bathroom design. Seems to be top of the list for them. 

Feb 12, 2021 07:24 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Chris Ann Cleland  I cannot agree with you more - however, if a house does have these features one must consider the benefits and the cost if they would have to do it themselves . Glad Carol Williams featured this post as I missed it 

Feb 13, 2021 08:34 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Chris Ann:

Unrealistic expectations, especially price-based, are probably doomed to be unrealized in our market, with the rising prices and such limited inventory. An upgraded kitchen does seem to be high on the list for many looking for a home, and a rule-out for some, rather than considering the most important needs and taking on the upgrades later.


Feb 13, 2021 12:00 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Chris Ann Cleland ,

I'm so glad to see your post featured in Carol Williams Second Chance Saturday series. Forgoing home ownership because the kitchen isn't updated is so far sighted. Some are waking up because in order to purchase in our extreme sellers market expectations need to be lowered.

Feb 13, 2021 07:36 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

It's all a matter of personal choice, and in the current seller's market, a buyer should first look at what the house has as far as their needs as all else can be changed in time

Feb 14, 2021 05:05 AM
Linda Metallo DiBenardo
RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois - Lockport, IL

You are making so much sense!   But buyers will continue to look for that needle in a haystack house.

Feb 14, 2021 07:52 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

CONGRATULATIONS Chris Ann, on having this blog featured in the "FEATHER NESTERS" group!

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Feb 15, 2021 07:30 PM

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