8 Crucial Kitchen Improvements You Should Make Before Selling

Are you preparing to list your home? If you want to get top bucks, start spicing up your kitchen now.

“The kitchen is often the heart of a house and where most of the entertainment happens,” he says Tony Rodriguez-Tellaheche, Owner and Managing Agent of Prestige Realty Group in Miami. “Sellers shouldn’t cut corners.”

A killer kitchen is one of the best ways to sell your home. Before listing your spot, make some of these tweaks to get buyers in the right direction.

1. Update your closets

If your cabinets look drab and dated but are still in good shape, there is no need to replace them. Instead, get a good paint and brush or a paint sprayer.

“Sometimes a quick ‘facelift’ of the kitchen cabinets can go a long way,” says Rodriguez-Tellaheche. “Refurbishing existing cabinets is less expensive than replacing them entirely and can make a huge difference when updating a kitchen.”

Before you start ditching the drapes, be careful about your color palette – you should stick to neutral colors to appeal to most buyers.

“If cabinets are made of darker natural wood or a polarizing color, we recommend painting them either soft white or gray,” he says Julie Busby, Founder of the Busby Group in Chicago.

2. Upgrade to quartz countertops

Today’s buyers are not that fond of granite and are definitely not looking for laminate. If you decide to upgrade the kitchen, make it quartz countertops.

“I recommend using quartz in the kitchen,” says Brad Whittaker, an agent at Realty ONE Group Pacifica in Longview, WA. “It’s always a nice, hard surface, and there are so many designs and colors to choose from.”

Also, quartz is more durable and environmentally friendly than other materials, which is especially important in a busy kitchen.

“More sellers use quartz in their kitchens than traditional materials like marble because it is less porous and therefore has fewer stains,” says Rodriguez-Tellaheche.

3. Update the lighting

Photo by Wynne Taylor Ford

When your lights are old enough to vote in a bar or order a beer, it’s time to swap them out (or at least wipe them down very thoroughly).

Replace new lights above the island and the sink or make your kitchen more attractive by installing a recessed light on a dimmer.

“Underbody lighting also adds a nice touch,” says Rodriguez-Tellaheche.

4. Invest in a good (quiet) dishwasher

When your appliances have seen better days, replacing them with mid-range stainless steel appliances is a safe bet, says Whittaker. Great equipment may not be worth the effort – you won’t always see a return on that investment.

The one device that is worth spending a little more? The dishwasher.

“Always spend good money on your dishwasher – more than $ 700 to make sure it’s quiet,” says Whittaker.

5. Bring a fresh, new backsplash

By installing a neutral, clean backsplash, you can earn points with potential buyers.

“Backsplashes can make a huge difference,” says Busby. “If the current one is busy or looks out of date, we recommend using a classic white subway tile or some other neutral-colored tile.”

A new backsplash combined with improved countertops “can even make outdated appliances look more up-to-date,” he says Simon Isaacs, Broker and founder of Simon Isaacs Real Estate in Palm Beach, FL.

6. Lighten the color palette

“Dark kitchen cabinets with dark granite are a thing of the past and can make it difficult to sell a home, especially to millennial buyers,” says Rodriguez-Tellaheche.

In addition to painting dark cabinets and replacing countertops, choose a light, neutral color for the walls. A light color can also help make modest-sized kitchens look a little more airy and spacious.

7. Add premium accents

Quarantine has turned many of us into home cooks, and that means shoppers are looking for luxury details throughout the kitchen, spending more time in than ever before.

“Most buyers today are self-proclaimed foodies and expect a well-designed kitchen,” says Isaacs. “Sophisticated wine coolers, filtered water spouts and pot fillers are becoming the norm these days.”

Busby agrees, “If you have room for a drink or wine cooler, buyers will love this added bonus.”

8. Thoroughly clean the kitchen

Nothing turns shoppers off faster than a kitchen with the “yuck” factor: food stains, dirty refrigerators, and even dirty baseboards.

“Keep it clean, bright, and shiny,” says Whittaker. “There are a lot of shiny surfaces in a kitchen, and seeing them dull, scratched, worn, or chipped off is what most buyers dislike.”

A squeaky clean oven is also non-negotiable, Whittaker adds.

“Nobody wants to bake in your big oven,” he says. “Remember, if you want top bucks for your house, you have to sell it like you’ve taken care of top bucks.”

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