Countertops in Section 8 Rental near Boston

18 Replies

Hi BP Community,

I am working on rehabbing my first rental investment, SFH with 2 bed and 1 bath , that I plan to rent out for section 8 tenants in a small town near cape cod. It is a C/C+ town, but I am in a B neighborhood (across from river that leads out to Cape Cod Canal). This is a BRRRR deal and I am looking to get the appraisal in June, which will be enough time for the seasoning period, so I want it to appraise as high as possible to pull out as much of my money as I can.

I replaced the cabinets with the Hampton Bay Shaker White Cabinets from HomeDepot, which I know are not high end, but I am now wondering do I install a nice countertop (granite/quartz) because they are durable and its a good thing to have for my appraisal.  Or do I go with Formica countertops since it will be lower end rentals and not good quality cabinets so I may have to replace it all in 5 years?

Thank you for the help!

If it were me, I'd first check your competition in that particular neighborhood and see what the standard is. Weigh that against cost and potential damage your tenant might cause. I did a BRRRR in Dorchester and the guy doing the appraisal barely noticed I had Quartz. I made sure to mention it but if I hadn't said anything he wouldn't have cared. I would focus on making sure things look new and clean, your safety stuff is updated, working and to code, and curb appeal. First impression is huge.

Hey Brendon,

I personally think even a low end granite is better than Formica, You will see that in the long term it will last longer as tenant tend to put hot items on it and you will end up spending more. 

Don not do it for the appraisal do it for having less headaches.

Hope this helps.


@Brendon Kerrigan

Are you in the Buzzards Bay/Wareham area? What's made you decide to go the section 8 route? If you go with a hard stone over Formica, you'll be able to attract higher-quality tenants. As it's probably been repeated many times, even tenants watch HGTV and want nice finishes. 

@Brendon Kerrigan

I always do Quartz in my BRRRR's. Because I'm looking for the highest appraisal and the most qualified tenants section 8 or not i make the asset appealing and sellable if I ever need to exit. Plus they cant stain or destroy quartz so its a win win!!!! Spend the money 1 time

Quartz is too much money, get an entry level granite. Just call up a handful of local shops and ask them how much the cheapest stone they have installed is. For the extra few hundred dollars and how long it lasts, you will make your money back after the first turn over. The cabinets can hold them, I have seen some of the cheapest 3/8" particle board cabinets hold stone without issue. Even the cheapest in stock cabinets at HD/Lowe's can hold more than you'd ever think. The problem with them is longevity as they are nor durable and fall apart when they get wet

@Brendon Kerrigan I have a 1980's rental with original formica in a woodblock pattern. It is a very durable surface and home depot has a nice white option in stock that looks like quartz.

@Brendon Kerrigan Hi Brendon- Since the area you’re trying to cover is smaller, you might even be able to get away with asking for granite remnants. Those are the pieces left over from other jobs and depending on what they have left over, it’s significantly cheaper. The other option is to ask them for the “contractor’s special”. These are the lower end granites that are mass installed in your usual high rises and condos. They look great and go with every color scheme. Good luck!