April 5, 2012 By Pres Ⓡ Staging Resource Centre
Getting ready to prepare your house for selling and you are not sure where to best spend your time, money & energy? I have coached 1000s of home sellers on the best investments to make when selling their home. Kitchens and bathrooms are undoubtedly two of the most important rooms in the home. From some recent surveys it was reported that 52% of prospective buyers said that the state of the kitchen had the most significant impact on their buying decision and 79% of buyers will pay more for an updated kitchen.
So it makes sense to update the kitchen, right? As a home staging coach, my answer is ‘yes’. However there area a few things you need to consider:
*Renovating a kitchen is one of the biggest and most expensive ($30 – $60,000) undertakings you can do. Your family will be without the use of the kitchen for possibly months. Can you afford not only the cost of the renovations but the cost of eating out more, the cost of the emotional upheaval in the family home, the dust and chemical smells, etc, etc.?
*When you have completed the kitchen renovation will it match the quality of the other rooms in your home? If not, this may hinder the full value potential of this investment.
*Most kitchen renovations require professional advice and qualified contractors to do the job so that it adds value to your home, done poorly will be a deterrent. Remember you will need a building permit if you are doing major renovations.
Or, Minor Improvements
My advice to you is not to spend too much money on major renovations but make some minor improvements that will update the look of your home. These ‘top tips’ will help you get your kitchens looking great for selling no matter who your target market is.
You can make these changes yourself or hire a professional.
‘Top tips’ Kitchen Improvements for Budget Conscious Sellers:
*Best Paint Colours in the kitchen are medium tones in yellows, greens and beiges; nothing too dark and nothing too light. Add some accessory colours such as reds, oranges and yellows in bowls of fruit, containers or floral arrangements.
*If your Lighting Fixtures are old then replace them. You can buy very current brushed nickel light fixtures for very reasonable prices at Home Depot, Ikea, Canadian Tire or Rona. The old brass plates just don’t have the look home buyers want. If you have a sunshine ceiling paint out the wood colour the same as the ceiling – it diminishes it from being a focal point. You can also replace the glass with an updated look.
*Flooring does not have to be an expensive item for your kitchen update. Linoleum is inexpensive and works well in kitchens. Tiles are another good product; bamboo and cork flooring is currently popular in kitchens.
Avoid using carpet in a kitchen.
*Counter tops don’t need to cost a fortune to replace. You can purchase inexpensive laminates that will give you a great updated look. Counter tops can also be resurfaced for far less than the cost of any new counter tops! And while granite is trendy it is costly and there are man made materials like Corian? that are still less expensive and still luxurious.
*Cupboards can be painted; you need to prime them, sand and paint. You can even find melamine paints if you still have this surface cupboard! With the addition of new brushed nickel door handles you will have a great updated look. There are companies who will put in new cupboards while resurfacing the sides at 50% less than replacing cupboards and drawers. As your coach, I’d suggest you hire a professional if you want a professional look!
*Sinks can also be inexpensive to replace. Stainless steel are the most popular right now. If you only have a chip check out the home hardware stores that carry small bottles of chip filler (looks like white out). Faucet taps can be another good investment -just make sure you get a new one that works with your existing hardware.
*Appliances need to be updated. Check for sales or almost-new appliance stores. Costco has some great buys as do many of the local big box home hardware stores. Stainless steel, black or white are the most popular for selling. If you have some chips in your appliances go to your home hardware store and buy a small bottle of chip filler for stoves and fridges.
*Kitchen Islands are popular as they can add some extra work space if you have the room to put one in. Ready-made islands can be purchased from many stores such as Ikea, Home Depot, Rona, etc. Caution: if there is not enough room, trendy or not, better not to buy one if it makes your kitchen look small!
*Kitchen Eating Area needs to be tidy, clean and inviting. The goal is to make each room in your home look spacious. Whether you have kitchen stools or table and chairs ensure this area is not cluttered with too many chairs. In staging “Less is More”.
*Keep the cooking smells to a minimum in the kitchen during a showing. No smells are better than bad smells! The smell of baking bread or cookies can be pleasing if not overdone. Fresh air and lots of light make for a great feeling in the kitchen.
For you Open House Ready Look– remove all the clutter and all of your personal items. Buyers don’t want to see all the things that you need out on the counter for your everyday use. Now is the time to sort through what you really need to keep, give away, sell or throw out. Recycle where you can. Counter tops should be clear with the exception of a few accessories. Clean until every single thing sparkles in the kitchen. Sinks need to be spotless, no dishcloth hanging on the tap or on the sink counter; floors need to be ‘clean enough to eat off’ I remove area rugs in the kitchen.
What works in your home when you are living there, is not necessarily going to give the impression you want for a prospective buyer!
Before: Too much shelving can mean not enough storage space!
After: New storage cupboard and removal of extras make this kitchen work!