Over the years, as a Minneapolis realtor, I have enjoyed helping buyers with signed purchase contracts for condos and lofts begin to place their attention into the kitchen that is about to become the heart of their new home. Today, falling condo prices have placed brand new condo developments within the reach of a whole new group of buyers. If you are among them, welcome! With respect to your kitchen, here is my road map and most up-to-date tips.
Once you sign a contract, your condo developer is likely to present you with all kinds of exciting decisions and options, from the color of your cabinets to the materials for your countertops to the style of your sink fixtures. You may even get to choose whether your oven and range are powered by electricity or by natural gas.
In some cases, the developer may have already made the above decisions in order to obtain a certificate of occupancy from local governing units. At the bare minimum, though, as a new buyer you should be offered a choice of materials for your kitchen appliances, typically black, white or stainless steel. I often counsel buyers to choose stainless steel even if they are not accustomed to the look. Stainless steel is a more expensive material which nevertheless is likely to be covered within the base allowance for a given housing unit. Choosing stainless steel instantly will lend your condo “loft” ambiance. I personally think the more sterile look of stainless steel seems more and more fitting given today’s increased awareness of H1N1 flu and the vigilance with which Americans have given toward the prevention of the transmission of germs. What once was an artistic and contemporary aesthetic now has almost protective appeal. The look can reinforce awareness even if it doesn’t directly prevent the spread of illness in homes-though there is some evidence that stainless steel dishwashers are less likely to harbor bacteria over time and use, when compared to similar models made of different materials.
Whatever you decide, the great news is that your condo almost certainly will come with a full-size refrigerator, oven, microwave and dishwasher. This is a great perk and a definite advantage over condos converted from renovated apartments built as if the primary thing a person ever did there was crash in front of a television.
Second, a note to the mechanically disinclined: most new refrigerators come with reversible doors. The developers ought to ask you on which side you want your refrigerator door to open. The choice might seem obvious since condo kitchen spaces are small. However, I wouldn’t leave it to chance if you fit into the category of buyers mechanically challenged, or if you understandably want things done correctly the first time. If you aren’t asked, be proactive and make sure your developer installs the door so it opens away from the roomier countertop. That way, you won’t have to step around it every time you make a sandwich.
Finally, if you are concerned about energy conservation, consider upgrading to Energy-Star appliances which by definition mean that an appliance will consume at least twenty percent less energy than required by the federal government. There are even federal tax credits available to serve as a rebate against the upfront cost. Be a little cautious: Wikipedia writers have noted that Energy-Star appliances may possibly have shorter lives of service or reduced performance given the priority placed on minimal energy use. For example, refrigerators may have less storage space because they have more insulation, and the smaller compressors may translate into higher likelihoods of electrical failure. I, overall, am a proponent of the Energy-Star initiatives so I encourage you to explore this option. As you become interested in specific models, perhaps you could take some extra time for inquiry and for perusing consumer-review literature.