Oh, the kitchen. The king of the house in any buyer’s mind. Since it is such a high priority for homeowners, it makes sense to put a little extra money into the room to encourage buyers and gain a higher selling price. But how much is too much? Generally, kitchen renovations don’t have a very high return, but some kitchens still need a facelift. This guide will help you determine where to think about investing your cash for the best resale value.
The quickest zero-cost fix for most homeowners in the kitchen is to clear the counters of absolutely everything. This instantly makes it look like you have miles of countertop when you may only have a few square feet. So this is the best place to start.
Then assess the actual countertop itself: Is it in good shape? Does it have nicks, cracks, grout issues, etc.? Clear it off, clean it up, sand and oil any butcher block, and fix grout issues. If it does need to be replaced, go with granite, if possible. Potential home buyers love granite, and adding the keyword “granite” to your listing could help you sell your house 38 days sooner for 4 percent more.*
Kitchen floors can take a beating, particularly in the well-used paths between the refrigerator, sink and stove. For being such a big part of the kitchen, it’s unfortunate that updating kitchen flooring doesn’t add as much value as other improvements.
But there’s one must-do here: if your kitchen has old vinyl flooring of any sort, it’s time to upgrade. Buyers will turn up their noses at this outdated flooring. Having floating wood flooring installed is literally a snap…the pieces snap together and lay over the current surface. Your new wood flooring will shine — especially to potential buyers.
An updated backsplash is a quick and easy investment to add visual value to your home. These days you needn’t carefully plan a tile pattern; in fact, you shouldn’t if you are simply trying to update your home for selling -— leave those intricate details to the new owners.
Do add some backsplash tiles that coordinate with your kitchen’s theme. These are usually large adhesive tiles that emulate other finishes, such as stone, wood, or pressed tin or copper. Buyers love the way a newly finished backsplash ties a room together, in fact, when sellers had “backsplash” in a listing on average their home sold 46 days sooner for 4 percent more.* While actual tile installation is very expensive, stick-on tiles look much more expensive that they are — lucky for you!
Of course, you’ll want to make sure all outlets are well-finished, grounded and up to code. But what about bringing them up to date? It may sound like a strange upgrade, but adding at least one USB-charging outlet in the kitchen is a sure-fire way to attract buyers. While it’s a small investment, buyers will swoon over the convenience of being able to charge their phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets instantly. While it might not add financial value, it sure adds praise and will stick in potential buyers’ minds.
Appliances are a place to sink some money and quickly add value. Buyers just don’t want to have to deal with updating appliances themselves, and new appliances are enticing. The only trouble is it is difficult to replace one appliance without the others suddenly looking less appealing. Appliances are expensive, there’s no getting around it. You might be able to shop for sale pieces, but make sure they all coordinate and are the same quality level, regardless of how much you’re spending.
Cabinets are another major part of the kitchen. Outdated cabinets can easily turn off buyers, but that doesn’t mean you need to rip them all out and start over. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders, or if they’re wood, employ some special wood oil and elbow grease. Then, switch out the hardware for something modern but simple. This is an easy DIY project for an afternoon, and can make a huge difference. If you’re upgrading appliances to stainless steel, be sure to use stainless-steel handles. Otherwise, choose one that matches the overall feel of your kitchen. If you’re looking to spend a bit more money, consider adding shaker cabinets. Listings with “shaker cabinets” sold 45 days sooner for nearly 10 percent more.* Of course, buyer’s preferences vary, but new cabinets look good with every style.
If the faucet or sink are dated, not working, crusted with mineral deposits, or otherwise ready for a facelift, replace it. A modern faucet catches the eye quickly and puts the mind at ease that it works well and doesn’t drip or spray.
Don’t be quick to throw out vintage porcelain kitchen sinks, even if they need a little TLC. Porcelain can be re-glazed, and many buyers look for original sinks. However, re-glazing is more expensive than purchasing a new style. In this case you can either keep the sink as clean as possible during showings (use a little Bar Keepers Friend and Magic Eraser), or replace the sink with an inexpensive one, but keep the porcelain one on display in the garage in case buyers are interested. If you like the farmhouse style, but want to ditch the porcelain try adding a stainless steel farmhouse sink for an updated look and feel.
*Data via DIgs