Updating Your Kitchen: How to Maximize Your Investment

There’s no doubt about it…kitchens sell homes. Whether you are making changes for your own enjoyment or in preparation to put your home on the market, read on for our best tips for kitchen updates.



Appliances


An obvious place to start on an update is with your appliances, as they are the workhorses of your kitchen. You will need to ensure at a minimum that they are clean and in good working order. Beyond that, you may be considering an upgrade to something newer for reasons of function, energy efficiency, or design. Stainless steel remains a long-standing favorite, and there are also new trends on the market such as slate or black stainless steel, in addition to the traditional black or white. It’s generally acceptable to mix and match appliance brands as long as you stick with the same color throughout the kitchen (e.g., a black Kenmore dishwasher and a black Samsung refrigerator). This is also a good time to look over your sink and plumbing fixtures, making sure everything is in good repair and is cohesive with the style of your kitchen.


Paint


Are your walls dingy and dirty? A fresh coat of paint will help transform your kitchen inexpensively. Choosing a light color will make the space feel larger and brighter. Keep in mind that a neutral shade also helps buyers visualize their own belongings in the space. If you currently have a bold color or specific theme on the walls, you may want to consider making a change before placing the home on the market. A semi-gloss finish is a popular finish choice in kitchens for ease of cleaning. And while we’re focused on walls, adding or updating a backsplash can make a dramatic impact in your kitchen. There are multiple choices available in every price range. We recommend gathering several estimates for installation before proceeding.


Lighting


Don’t forget about lighting during your renovation. Make sure all recessed light bulbs are working to maximize evening light. If the trim on your recessed lights have yellowed with age, replacing them will give the kitchen an instant facelift (this is also true for old outlet covers). If you have hanging pendants or a chandelier over the dining table, you can create an impressive look by choosing the right fixtures.


Countertops


Countertops are an investment that can completely overhaul the look of your kitchen. There is a vast number of options on the market from stone such as granite, quartz, and marble, to wood, concrete, and even recycled glass options. Consider absorbency, durability, and overall maintenance required when making a decision. Your kitchen may or may not need new countertops, and it’s worth weighing since the cost factor can be high. One thing to note is that countertop choices within the same material are worth the same during an appraisal. In other words, changing granite you don’t like to a granite you find more attractive will not make the value of your house any higher (although it may make it more appealing to you and future buyers). As this is a bigger ticket item, you should visit multiple vendors to get more information and price quotes. Try to start by getting recommendations from people you trust.


Decluttering


A final suggestion for your update is to spend some time decluttering your space. This last tip costs nothing and can help increase the appeal not only of your kitchen but your whole home when placing it on the market. The less buyers see of your belongings, the more they can picture their own in the space. Remove any rarely used appliances such as blenders or crockpots off the countertops. Find a home in your cabinets to store items like spices and vitamins that may be currently on display. And if your kitchen counter is the drop zone for incoming mail, designate a drawer to store it out of sight. Following these suggestions can dramatically improve the appeal of your kitchen to potential buyers.


Noticeably absent from our list are larger ticket renovations such as all-new cabinetry or kitchen reconfigurations. That is because those updates can be very costly, and it is up to the homeowner to determine whether that cost will be reflected in the sale of the home. Depending on the situation, painting, re-facing, or replacing the cabinets might all be sound options. If you are thinking of a larger remodel, we recommend obtaining several estimates from different companies before moving forward. If your goal is to sell the home afterwards, we also suggest taking those estimates to an experienced realtor to get their opinion on what the market wants to see and how much potential profit could be gained by the renovations.