We are remodeling our kitchen, remove the old cabinets and install new ones. The problem is what to do with our old cabinets? Technically speaking, the old cabinets are junks to me. Actually they are worse than junks, because if I would have to spend some money to hire a garbage collector even I want to throw them away. There is a 2nd hand market for old cabinets, I see many listings on Craigslist, the only problem is I have no idea how much my old kitchen worth.
My only reference on pricing are listings on the Craigslist. 2nd hand cabinets are selling from a few hundred bucks to a few thousands. The same set of cabinet has different value to different people. It depends on how well the cabinets fit their kitchen. On one hand, I want to get as much as I can from the old cabinet. one the other hand, I want to get rid of them before my contractor install the new cabinets. If I set the price too low, I didn’t get the most out of it. If I set the price too high, it may not be sold. Since I don’t know the market price for my cabinets, I can’t even name the right price.
My solution to the problem is to listing my cabinets as a close bid auction. I set up a time and let people come to see the cabinets, make measurements and ask questions. They write me their best offer and I simply pick the best offer at the end of the day. To make it fair, I ask them to put their offer in an envelope and I am not going to look at their bid before the end of the auction. By doing this way, I can avoid dealing with the bargain hunters and I don’t have to feel bad being ripped off for selling the cabinet too cheap.
The final price is much better than I had expected. I listed $500 as the base price. I would be happy if I can get a few hundred bucks more. Most of the offerings are around $800, but I got two offerings just over $1000. I figure the highest possible value I could get should be around $1200-1300. Since it is a best offer auction, according to auction theory the expected value of return is a bit less than the true value because the buyers would will not bet the full amount of their true value, I am quite happy for what I got.
Setting up the auction and answering emails and phone calls is time consuming. Not only that I got more money for my old cabinets, it is also a good learning experience observing how the buyers response to my auction.
After going back and forth with our kitchen designer for almost a month, at last we finalized our kitchen design and placed the order. Direct Buy has a really good deal buying kitchen cabinets. I went to the Kitchen Craft showroom trying to get an estimate for comparison, the sales refuse to give me a quote after hearing my budget, which is my quote at Direct Buy plus the $5000 membership fee. He said I am unrealistic trying to get the high end line with my pity budget. He said my kitchen is pretty big, my budget can only only get me the high end cabinet box without no doors.
Design the kitchen is a long and stressful process, but I learned a lot from it. I know some basic principle of kitchen design. Knows how to partition the kitchen into three zones, the washing zone, preparing zone and cooking zone. I studied the Kitchen Craft catalog cover to cover. Once I figured out how my kitchen should look, picking the right cabinet from the catalog is pretty straight forward. Reading the catalog opens my eyes, I am not even aware of all those different cabinet options just from going to the showrooms. There are more hinge actions then I can ever imagine. Picking the color and door style is Pat’s department, I only give comments on material and costs.
The cabinet is fixed, now I have to worry about counter top and handles. There are over a hundred different kinds of stone surface and over a thousand different kinds of door handles. After that I have to pick the right faucet and sink. I will have to do a lot more research and go to many more showrooms before I can make up my mind. When the kitchen is finished, my next mission is to design the master bedroom closet and it will be another endless quest of style and options. In my opinion, customize all the elements in my house to meet our taste and preference is a lot more work than setting up Linux config files using only text editor.
Technically speaking it is not my dream kitchen, it is Pat’s dream kitchen. Ok, a guy don’t have a dream kitchen, maybe a dream garage, but definitely not a dream kitchen.
For the past two days, I was losing sleep worrying about my $5000 Direct Buy membership fee. I was so worry that it is a scam like many people say online and I have to go through all the trouble to get my money back and worse feeling like an idiot got ripped off. Today after spending three hours meeting with the kitchen designer in Direct Buy, my worry is gone. He is one of the most professional and helpful kitchen designer I have met, much better than those at Home Depot or the Chinese cabinet contractors. Most important of all, their claim of 40% saving in kitchen cabinet is true. I will recoup my membership fee just from the kitchen alone. We don’t have the final quote yet, because we are still fine tuning kitchen design idea. Judging from the estimate, we are $2000 ahead in saving taking the the membership fee and 15% sales discount in Home Depot. The price is comparable to Chinese cabinet contractors but we are getting cabinets from Kitchen Craft.
I spent some time study their catalog, checking the price against retail stores. The price is ok in general. Some stuff is pretty good deal, some stuff are actually more expensive. It beats those boutique shop or designer shops charging clueless customers fat margin, but does not give save much pitching against big chain stores, especially when they are on sales. Big appliance has good deals, too bad that we don’t need to upgrading our appliances.
I have booked the second appointment with the kitchen designer to go over the details. So far I am happy with what I got from Direct Buy. Let’s see can they keep up with my expectation. I will keep readers posted with my Direct Buy adventure.
P.S. Direct Buy is a franchise and the membership fee and catalog selection is different from location to location. I read from Internet, some location is pretty bad. My location seems pretty good so far. Always get opinions from existing members in your location before making your decision.