How does the kitchen affect the value of a home? We posed the question to estate agent Peter Starck in Malmö.
Peter has been an estate agent since 2003 and is now working for Bülow & Lind. He has always been interested in history and ever since he was a teenager, he has been going to auctions to buy antique furniture, and nowadays he is interested in building restoration and the history of architecture. That’s why we wanted to talk to him about older houses and new kitchens.
So, how does the kitchen actually affect the value of a home? Peter’s response is that the price of a house is mainly influenced by three factors:
– When a customer calls to ask what their home is worth, and I already know the area, I ask three questions: What’s the kitchen like? What’s the bathroom like? What the general conditions of the walls and floors? The price is influenced by these factors, in that order. The kitchen is most important, because it is most expensive.
Peter says that a kitchen makes more of a difference the more expensive the home is. In a smaller apartment the leverage is smaller.
Right kitchen in the right home
Does the kitchen always raise the value of a home? Well, not necessarily. Peter gives an example of an apartment in a property built in 1945 on Rådmansgatan in Malmö.
– The owner had renovated the apartment and restored the kitchen to its original style. When he was going to sell, it turned out that the new buyer was going to pull out the kitchen and put in something modern. I couldn’t resist but telling the buyer that it was a mistake. But it didn’t help.
“A modern kitchen goes down in value from day to day.'”
Was putting in a modern kitchen a bad deal?
– Yes absolutely! A modern kitchen loses value from day one because, what is modern today might be very outdated tomorrow. The red high gloss kitchen might not be so cool after a few years… an original kitchen, on the other hand, or a kitchen in a period style, will increase in value.
Why does an original style kitchen increase the value?
– Because you do not get tired of the original. It never gets outdated and because it is often of good quality. It just gets more beautiful over time. I go to a lot of auctions and I see how some things are sold time and time again. They never decrease in value.
So, an original kitchen is always better than a new one?
– Well, the exception would be kitchens put in during the 80s and 90s. They are rarely worth preserving. They are nearly always of poorer quality and are often in poor condition.
Say you buy an apartment that needs to be completely renovated. What do you need to think about if you want to increase the value of your home?
– I usually tell new buyers that they should invest in a real kitchen. By that I mean a kitchen that harmonizes with the style of the home. Something from the same time period. It is always a good investment. But many people are not aware that you can buy period kitchens, or that you can bring in a carpenter to restore an existing kitchen.
“I’ve managed to save a few kitchens.”
– Sometimes when I’m showing older homes, I get the question: “What would it cost to replace the kitchen here?” Often what we’re looking at is an original kitchen. That’s when my warning bell starts to ring. I usually try to explain the history of the building, in the hope of saving the kitchen.
In cases like this, Peter usually explains how the materials in kitchens that were built up until the 60’s were usually of a good quality.
– People have begun to realize that really old kitchens are worth preserving. But this is also true of kitchens from the 60’s. Today, these are torn out more often than not.
Renovating kitchens is a fairly new phenomenon, says Peter:
– Until the 80s, people rarely changed their kitchens. They were left as they were. But then came the era of exploding housing prices, and the idea that everything had to be white. Suddenly everything old had to be thrown out. And at that time we didn’t have the hindsight we do now, of how wrong it can be when people renovate ruthlessly.
– But now we are seeing a counter reaction. More and more people realize the value of preserving what is original. These days, when I explain the history of the building at viewings I actually manage to convince a few people… and I have managed to save a few kitchens.
Peter Stark, estate agent at Bülow & Lind in Malmö.