If you’re planning to sell your home, investing in an upgraded kitchen can have big payoffs. A newly renovated kitchen can help you sell your home for more money and sell your home faster. If it doesn't help accomplish these two goals, it may not be the best use of your time and money.
One thing to remember is that it's not about how much you spend making your kitchen look better, it's about the feeling potential buyers get when they see your kitchen. Ideally the buyers should walk in and fall in love. If you’re considering a kitchen renovation, it’s probably because your kitchen currently lacks that wow factor.
If you are selling a home with an older kitchen, buyers will see this and may factor it into what the home is worth. They may decide that the home needs a new kitchen altogether, and that could be OK. If demand is high, the home will be viewed as a blank canvas, and it will still sell fast. If demand is low, you want potential buyers to be able to envision themselves living in your home as-is, so renovations may be worth it.
Consider Your Budget
What's your budget to prepare your house for sale? This is a huge factor. You want to maximize your return on investment. For example, if you have $500 to $1,000 to renovate your kitchen, it's probably best to paint the walls a neutral color and maybe put an inexpensive laminate countertop to clean it up. Your real estate agent should be able to provide their advice on which improvements to prioritize in order to make the biggest impact.
Consider Your Timing
In addition to cost, you should consider timing. If you’re heading into the spring season and your ideal renovations will take three months, you’ll miss one of the most competitive seasons for sellers. You may have the perfect kitchen come late summer, but the market may not be as good.
If you’re trying to decide whether you should list now or make renovations, it’s best to discuss it with your agent. Tell them what your goals are -- do you want to sell quickly, or is it more important that you sell for more money? They can help you make the right decision based on your goals.
Mistakes Sellers Make When Renovating Their Kitchens
1. The "step-up" trick
This is when homeowners put new floors right on old floors, instead of removing the original floors. Have you ever encountered a three or four-inch difference in height when walking from a living room to a kitchen? Was that intended? No way! It means that there are multiple levels of flooring underneath the floor you see. It's the easier, and cheaper way to update a floor. The right way is to remove the floor and replace it.
2. The "expensive countertops on old cheap cabinets" trick
We know what older broken cabinets look like. If you have them, you don't need to replace them, but please don't spend a few thousand dollars on expensive countertops and not update the cabinets. It can look like you are trying to fool buyers.
If you are going to spend money redoing your kitchen, make sure you’re choosing projects that will give you the most bang for your buck -- without taking shortcuts. A renovated kitchen can totally change the look and feel of your home, and may result in a faster and more lucrative sale. Talk to an agent about your goals, and they can help you make the right decision.