Knowing that you’re not in your “forever home” can make decisions to spend money on upgrades challenging. Are you going to get a return on your investment, or will any renovations be cash down the drain? Some home makeovers don’t make financial sense if the market is down or you’re planning on selling quickly, but others can make a big difference in whether you get your asking price.
On the spectrum of most worthwhile to least worthwhile pre-sale renovations, granite countertops for your kitchen rank right up there on the worthwhile side. Your kitchen countertops are a major selling point for most homebuyers, so it’s worth it to make sure they look as nice as possible before you list.

Why Granite?

There are so many options out there for countertop materials, so why would you choose granite? For starters, homebuyers often have a romantic draw to granite compared to other materials. It’s beautiful, durable, relatively low maintenance, and it’s heat, scratch, and stain-resistant. What more could you ask for?

The Facts

With few exceptions, you can expect to add between 50 and 100% of the value of your kitchen renovation onto your asking price. Buyers like attractive kitchens because the kitchen tends to be the gathering place in the home. They want kitchens that are easy to clean, move-in ready, and in good shape, so if your kitchen is lacking in those areas, it’s a good idea to do your renovation before you sell.

A complete kitchen overhaul can cost around $20,000, so if you want to spend less but give your kitchen a facelift, replacing the countertops is a good move. Buyers will often overlook outdated cabinets and fixtures if the countertops are modern and well-maintained.

Unfortunately, however, choosing to replace the countertops isn’t as simple as yes or no. You’re going to have to weigh out the pros and cons for renovating before the sale versus letting the next homeowner do the renovation. The truth is that while replacing your countertops with granite will yield a significant return on investment in many cases, it’s not a one-size-fits-all decision.

Here are some things to consider before updating and installing new granite countertops:

 Yes to Granite!Another Option Might be Better
BudgetIf granite countertops fit well within your renovation budget, go ahead and install your beautiful new surface. You don’t need to throw a lot of money at fancy or unique granite slabs, either. Most homebuyers want something neutral and middle-of-the-road, so if it’s affordable and matches your existing paint and décor, proceed with the granite.If granite is out of your monetary reach, don’t feel pressured to renovate. Especially if comparable houses in the area don’t have granite or your home is outdated in many ways, granite could look out of place.
Comparable HomesHomebuyers will be looking at comparable homes around your house, and if most of them have granite, homebuyers may expect you to as well. A knowledgeable real estate agent can give you advice on comps in your area.If most of the homes in your area have solid surface or laminate, homebuyers will expect something like that in your home, too. That’s not to say that you can’t put in granite (it would certainly give you a competitive edge), but homebuyers won’t be expecting it.
Existing Countertop ConditionIf your existing countertops are a mess, it’s a fantastic idea to replace them with granite. If they’re grungy, difficult to clean, chipped, or overall unappealing, replacing with granite can add significant value to your home.If your existing countertop is in good shape, it isn’t necessary to replace before you sell. As long as homebuyers can see that the space is clean and functional, they’ll still be inclined to offer a reasonable price.
How Fast You Need to SellReplacing with granite countertops can make a huge difference in how quickly your home sells. If homebuyers see something that is move-in ready, they will be more inclined to put in an offer right away.Homebuyers can be turned off by a kitchen that needs new countertops, but if you can afford to wait for a homebuyer who is willing to purchase as-is, replacing isn’t necessary.

Still on the fence?

If you’re still on the fence, you should ask yourself a few questions about your existing countertops.

  • Do you love them?
  • Do you hate them?
  • Do you have a hard time keeping them clean?
  • Are you ok keeping them how they are?
  • How would you feel about the existing countertops if you were a prospective homebuyer?

There’s something to be said for replacing your countertops just because you want to. Even if you plan on selling your home in the future doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy where you’re living right now. If replacing your current countertops would make you happy and it’s within your budget, by all means, go for it. If you want to go exotic, you can opt for a bold, eye-grabbing choice like Madura gold granite or iron red granite, or if you want to keep things neutral, go with a less colorful choice such as New Caledonia.

Install New Caledonia

Replacing your existing countertops with granite countertops is a smart choice in many circumstances. They’re beautiful, durable, and let’s face it: granite impresses homebuyers.