Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kitchens Sell Houses!

The hub of every home is the kitchen.  Whether it's a dinner party or a family dinner, people congregate in the kitchen. Whoever said, "A Messy Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen" wasn't trying to sell their home. Kitchens have a lot to do with resale value.  Want to impress your Buyers?  I'm not going to lie to you.....it's going to take some work....but in the long run, I believe it will pay off.

1.  Start inside your cabinets, drawers and pantry.  What do you see when you open your cabinet doors? Clutter, disaster, mess? Or is it clean and orderly?  Don't kid yourself.  Buyers WILL open your cabinet doors.  So start NOW organizing and cleaning them.  Wipe out every kitchen shelf. You don't have to put your spices in alphabetical order, but your cans, pots and pans, boxes, etc. need to have some order to them.  There are so many organizational things you can buy to help you with this.  For some of you, this could take a while.  So get started.

2.  Kitchens are KNOWN for clutter.....especially on the countertop. Remove all appliances and offer a clean spacious work area. Buyers are looking for that plus it will make your kitchen look bigger. You can set out a few things.....like a bouquet of flowers, maybe a cookbook on a stand opened to a favorite recipe, a bowl of fresh fruit. You don't want your kitchen to look sterile but warm and inviting.

3. If you have space above your cabinets, be careful not to overdo that.  A few well placed plants with a few pieces of pottery or dishes can enhance that area without cluttering the space.

4.  Clean, clean, clean your appliances.  Buyers will open your refrigerator, oven and dishwasher.  NEVER leave a dirty oven.  Most ovens these days are self cleaning.  Use it!  Consider running an empty load in your dishwasher just to clean out any build up from over the years.  Wipe out your refrigerator....shelves and drawers.  But you say, "I'm not leaving the refrigerator when I sell my house!"  Doesn't matter.  A buyer looks at how you take care of your house.....including the refrigerator.  It says to a Buyer that you care for your home.  That's what they are looking for!

5.  Consider updating your faucets and kitchen lights.  If your faucet is leaking, fix it now.  It WILL come up in a home inspection.  If your faucet is tired and grimy, consider replacing it.  You can do that at a very reasonable price.  Do your light fixtures scream "The Brady Bunch?"  Update them now.  You don't have to spend a lot of money to bring them up to date.

6.  Consider a fresh coat of paint.  Remember to stay neutral and add color with your accent pieces either on the countertops or above the cabinets.

7. Countertops - In higher end homes, Buyers have a certain expectation that you will have some kind of upgraded countertop, i.e. granite, corian.  To have a laminate countertop in a at least $300K+ home is not going to go well with your buyers.  For more modestly priced homes that have a laminate countertops:  no chips broken off and no scratches.  If you have, say, green or bright yellow laminate countertops, consider replacing them with a neutral color laminate.  It will deter your Buyers.

8.  Make sure your cabinets are in good working order.  You don't want any doors sagging or handles missing.  If you can't afford to replace your cabinets, consider painting them or staining them.  Adding new hardware to your cabinets will make your cabinets come alive!  This is a low-cost way to update your kitchen.

9.  If you have an eat-in kitchen, be sure to have a table and chairs but make sure they don't overpower the space.  As you've already done in your dining room (see previous post), stage your table for success.  Add bar stools if you have a bar or peninsula in your kitchen.  Give the Buyers the idea of LOTS of seating!

10.  Check out your flooring.  If your laminate is cracked or peeling back, the damage will be noticed by prospective Buyers.  Repair it or replace it.  And make sure it sparkles like new-fallen snow.

11.  Take all pictures, schedules & magnets off of your refrigerator.  Nothing looks more cluttered than a fridge full of pictures, school work, etc.  They want to see your fridge, not your magnets.

Depending on your choices, it is widely considered that you will get at least 90% of your investment in your kitchen back when you sell your home.  Stick to your budget, but spending some money in your kitchen is going to be the best investment inside your home that you can make.


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