New Countertops

Getting the Most Out of Your Money

New Countertops

When looking at investing money into your home, you want to get the most bang for your buck.  You want to put the least amount of money into your home and gain the most amount of money out by increasing the value of your home.  When doing this, you need to take a look at your immediate neighborhood.  What kind of upgrades will your neighborhood support?  Let’s take a look at your kitchen.  You could do several things yourself to increase the sweat equity of your home.  You also might want to look to a professional for other parts of your kitchen.  Looking at New Countertops?  This is where you can easily look at what your neighborhood values will support.  Do the homes around you typically have laminate, tile, granite, quartz, or other custom materials???  Find something you like, in your neighborhood value spectrum and hire out – the new countertops will be well worth the money spent and it will be a good selling point if you ever decide to move on.

Thinking of other updates?

Do the homes around you typically have:

  • custom upgraded kitchens
  • custom upgraded bathrooms
  • upgraded flooring
  • bonus garages
  • pools/spa
  • tennis courts
  • Etc???

You aren’t looking at your neighborhood to create the exact same look as everyone else you are looking to see what updates your neighborhood supports.  The biggest problem I see as an appraiser is people that over improve their home.  You don’t want to have a gold house in a bronze neighborhood – it does you no good, as the value of your home is only supported by the similar competing homes in your neighborhood.  If you have over-improved your property to the point that no one can compete it doesn’t add value but falls unfortunately under what is considered an over improvement and doesn’t return the money invested into an increased value of your home.

So what will your neighborhood support?

My current neighborhood has the entire spectrum of value.  It has historical original homes, and new custom rebuilds.  This makes it easy for me, as I can play with my updates and materials and create some unique costume features for my home – this in turn increases the value of my home, allowing me to recover my expenses.

Our previous home was located in a more moderate valued neighborhood.  It allowed for bonus features like additional oversized garages but the kitchen and bath updates were not over the top.

The point here, is know your neighborhood and plan your updates/remodel accordingly.

Most buyers look first at the condition and updates in the kitchen and baths.  These can be costly to redo but have an easier time adding value to the property.  A pool addition on the other hand rarely sees the return of investment.

Lets get back to new countertops as this is my most recent project.  I am currently looking at quartz.  Because my neighborhood is on the higher end of the spectrum, I really don’t want to waste my money on anything less.  Granite is a much cheaper option but is really not as durable as I want it to be and it doesn’t have the “Wow” factor it once did for a resale market.

My first advice to you on countertops is get a lot of quotes.  I was originally looking at new quartz counters for the kitchen and then a cheaper Carrera marble for the bathrooms.

I had 6 guys through my house with crazy high bids before I had a honest gentleman state, “You need two slabs for your kitchen and you can get your bathroom counters out of the two slabs as well, so you might as well go with the same material for all of your countertops.”  This was news to me!  “You pay for the entire slab, whether you use it or not, so you might as well use it,” said the guy.  Wow!!!  I can’t believe only one guy told me that.

Second words of advice: know the square footage needed for your project.  Looking back at the quotes, I had a lot of variation in the amount of sq. ft. needed for the kitchen.  Some guys were taking advantage, charging me for way more square footage then I needed.

Third, shop around for your materials.  I ended up finding a company that allowed me to purchase my materials on my own from CONTEMPO Tile, where I was able to get a discount and ship the material to them.  They fabricated the material and installed my counters for less then the bids with materials and labor provided and purchased from the same company.

If you are in the Utah County/Salt Lake County area give Peterson Woodworks a chance for your countertop business.  Again, they were great to work with, very honest, and very flexible with what materials you want to use.  They strive to make you happy with your project and I couldn’t say enough good about them!  Here is a link to their site if you want to check out other projects they have completed:


Our countertops dated the look of our kitchen and weren’t a selling point.  They looked like certs breath mints and had a big heat crack that kept spreading.

Here is a before:

IMG_6470 IMG_6475

We struggled with the color of the new countertops – light or dark?  We were set initially on dark but as time went on we switched to the whitest white we could get.



I love the crisp look of the white counters and white appliances.  The counters have updated the look and finished off the kitchen remodel.  Goodbye 90’s kitchen.




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