Our first flip, pretty small kitchen and wallspace, had trouble deciding what backsplash to put in so I asked hubby, why not just paint it and let the new owners decide? Kitchen will be staged with decor on countertops which will be beautiful anyway.
Also, we used laminate granite-look countertops for the same reason, and I hate granite. I prefer quartz. Stone is expensive and if someone doesn't like our choice, they might not buy the house. This way, if they want granite/marble/quartz, they have that option to upgrade to what they want.
Many owner occupants are spending the last money they have to buy. They can not afford to be redoing the kitchen when they move in.
Be careful with being economical with the wow features. A faster sale or a higher price can be achieved with the right touches. You need to know your target market to know what is expected. If your property is missing the features others in the market have (at the same price, etc so a real comparable property), you will suffer more than the cost of the details.
John Corey is correct. The name of the game is always adding more value than it costs. If you can add a tile backsplash for $250 and get an extra $1,000 on the price, it is a no brainer. Just be careful to keep the finishes neutral so that the property appeals to the most buyers.
Do you have a habitat for humanity restore nearby? when I had to redo a kitchen, I got some simple white subway tiles from them and a few sheets of small glass tiles which I cut and used as an accent band near the top.
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