By Ronique Gibson, Home Depot
When selling your home, your top consideration should be how to help potential homebuyers love the space, and also feel they are getting their money’s worth. When it comes to upgrades, your kitchen has the highest ROI (return on investment) of any room in your home. The appliances, finishes, plumbing, lighting fixtures and cabinetry all add up to a worthwhile investment in the eyes of homebuyers.
When I help sellers stage their homes, we always start and end with the kitchen. Ensuring it has modern appeal and valuable amenities that will wow buyers is essential.
Here are my five tips to upgrade your kitchen so it becomes the heart of the home for potential homebuyers:
1. Start with energy-saving and innovative appliances
Kitchen appliances are the heart of any kitchen, and homebuyers are looking for appliances that are modern and feature innovative technology. These include Wi-Fi-enabled appliances such as refrigerators that connect to the Internet for recipe ideas and water filters that send you an email when it’s time for changing.
While you don’t have to possess top-of-the-line appliances, you generally don’t want major appliances to be more than three years old. If you buy new appliances before you list your home for sale, keep a list of the amenities to share with potential buyers who are touring your home. Lastly, opt for energy-efficient appliances that will, in turn, help the Earth, keep the buyers’ energy bills lower and can also be listed as positive amenities to consider when a home appraiser reviews your home.
2. Upgrade outdated lighting and plumbing fixtures
I recently helped a family stage their home, and they expressed concern about a lack of budget to redo their kitchen. I explained to them that small details such as plumbing fixtures (like the sink faucet and sprayer) and lighting fixtures can have a huge impact. I had them replace their outdated fluorescent overhead fixture (which I referred to as a “bug light”), which cast an institutional glow to their kitchen. I recommended they replace old lighting with pendant fixtures, recessed can lights or modern surface mount fixtures. While your appliances take center stage, small details such as the lighting and plumbing hardware also get noticed by homebuyers.
3. Your cabinetry sets the tone for the entire kitchen
The moment buyers step into your kitchen, the style that your cabinetry exudes will leave a lasting impression in their minds. Determine whether your cabinetry style, color and detailing is modern or outdated. Most kitchens are opting for less detail in the cabinetry doors, while keeping traditional crown molding and other fine carpentry additions throughout the room. The “less is more” motto is ideal in today’s kitchens, where minimal ornamentation is preferred but attention is on style and modern lines. If your cabinets need a face-lift and are structurally sound, consider painting, restaining or getting them refaced with new doors. Refacing your cabinets puts a veneer on top of your current cabinetry boxes and replaces the doors. Buyers will think your kitchen is a showstopper with gorgeous cabinets. If your cabinets look good, but could use a pop of color or ornamentation, change cabinet pulls and knobs.
4. Attention-grabbing kitchen finishes can speak volumes
Kitchen finishes such as countertop colors and materials and the right flooring are essential. Opt for counters that are solid surface, including granite, slate, concrete, tile or even composite countertops that give a granite appearance without the hefty price! When choosing flooring, homeowners love durable yet beautiful surfaces underfoot. Wood and natural stone will bring the highest return on investment for buyers. Hardwood, travertine stone, granite and porcelain tile will bring more value than a vinyl rolled or vinyl tile floor.
5. Fix and update kitchen amenities to stay competitive
The overall goal of your kitchen should be to allure homebuyers, and that entails ensuring all appliances, fixtures and lighting look welcoming and are working. Remember: Potential homebuyers will try everything. I once had a potential homebuyer take food out of the refrigerator and walk over to the sink to get the feel as if she were cooking! Don’t forget to keep an eye on your competition. If other homeowners have their homes for sale in the neighborhood, look at their MLS listings to see their amenities. Homebuyers most likely are comparing your home and theirs.
It’s in your best interest to make your kitchen the crowning jewel of your home. Start by upgrading appliances, fixtures and finishes in your kitchen.
About Ronique Gibson and Home Depot
Home design lifestyle expert Ronique Gibson writes on home décor for Home Depot. Ronique provides tips and advice to homeowners on all aspects of home design, from bathroom remodels to kitchen appliances, including ranges and refrigerators. Home Depot’s selection of refrigerators can be found at www.homedepot.com/b/Appliances-Refrigeration-Refrigerators/N-5yc1vZc3pi
Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.