Selling a House: The Kitchen
By Steve Gillman - 2011
It is well known that a nice kitchen can be more than helpful
when selling a house. In fact, an outdated and dirty kitchen
can be a deal-breaker. So clean up that kitchen, and buy a new
stove and refrigerator if the ones you have are old or look old.
What else can you do to make that kitchen a selling point? Some
Start by thinking in terms of getting the biggest bang for
your buck. When people do a complete kitchen remodel job they
typically spend as much as 50% more on the job than the value
it adds to the house. Your goal (presumably) is to make more
money from selling your house, not less, so plan wisely.
You also have to consider the style of the house, the price
range and the neighborhood. You want a kitchen that is appropriate
to the context, in other words. If you are selling a mobile home
on a lot at the edge of town, buyers are almost certainly not
looking for granite countertops, and they will not pay extra
for them (or at least not enough to cover what they will cost
you). Look for elements that fit the house.
Start with the floor. Does it look good as it is? Does it
just need a good cleaning? If you do replace it, you want the
nicest floor you can get cheaply; one that will look like it
cost a lot. Again, context is crucial, so this could mean new
linoleum, or a decent tile floor. Be sure that the colors and
texture fit with the rest of the room.
Cabinets can be one of the most expensive things to replace
in a kitchen. Get this wrong and you'll spend $16,000 to raise
the value of the home by $8,000 at best. Ask your real estate
agent for an opinion (but remember that it is just that) as to
how much value new cabinets would add to the house, and then
shop for the nicest ones you can find which will cost substantially
less than that added value.
You also should consider whether you can work with the existing
cabinetry when selling a home. Sometimes a good cleaning and
new knobs will be enough, and cost you no more than $100. If
the wood is still good on the cabinet doors, it may also be possible
to have the refinished or painted for a lot less than new ones
For the windows, consider a thorough cleaning of any blinds
and curtains/valences. If they need to be replaced, consider
going a little cheap on these. Being brand new may be enough
for them to look sharp, as long as they go well with the rest
of the decor.
Walls should be cleaned or repainted, of course. Check out
the ceiling as well, to see if it needs a fresh coat of paint.
New light fixtures and/or a ceiling fan are relatively inexpensive
ways to make a kitchen look nicer, especially if you do the work
For ideas as to which appliances to buy, what colors to choose
for walls, and the other elements of your kitchen remodeling,
look at other homes near you. Specifically, try to go to a few
open houses where the kitchen is noted in the marketing. You
can see what is popular in this way.
A decent kitchen is key to selling a house fast and for top