Remodeling your kitchen for resale

Photo (c) Andy Dean - Fotolia

Four low-cost kitchen upgrades potential buyers will appreciate

From decluttering your home to having it professionally staged, there are a number of ways to potentially decrease the amount of time it spends on the market -- and not all of them need to cost an arm and a leg.

Kitchen remodels are one such improvement that should be kept simple and cost-effective. Sellers should aim to enhance the visual appeal of their kitchen without going overboard, real estate experts say.

According to Cedric Stewart, team leader of Entourage RG in the Washington D.C. area, sellers shouldn't spend more than 10 percent of their home's value on a kitchen remodel.

Avoid overdoing it

“Making improvements to increase the home’s value is a delicate process,” Stewart told Quicken Loans’ ZING blog.

“Fully renovated kitchens with high-end appliances and finishes usually get folks excited and a nod of approval from appraisers, but one must be careful not to ‘overdevelop’ the home," he said, adding that "clean, modern, functional kitchens sell faster in today’s market.” 

To help your home sell faster, real estate experts like Stewart recommend focusing on projects that will enhance the visual appeal of your kitchen. These can help make a good first impression on potential buyers, making them more likely to make an offer.

Ways to boost visual appeal

In its blog, Quicken Loans names several kitchen upgrades that can enhance the look of your kitchen without driving up costs.

  • Backsplashes. Installing a bright, clean backsplash won’t cost you a fortune, but it will make your kitchen look more luxurious.
  • Appliances. New appliances appeal to buyers who are on the hunt for a move-in ready home. For sellers who are considering upgrading their appliances, New York-based realtor Don Stevens has a piece of advice: skip black and white options and go for stainless steel instead. Stevens says he’s confident these appliances help sell a home faster.
  • Cabinets. Because most buyers aren’t interested in having to upgrade cabinets as soon as they move into a home, new cabinets can be a big selling point. Although this upgrade typically doesn’t allow sellers to recoup their investment, new cabinets can do wonders for the look and feel of a kitchen.
  • Little details. “Thoughtful ideas can pique a buyer’s interest,” said Stewart, who recommends adding small-yet-appreciated features like built-in wine racks, lazy Susans, soft-close drawers, pot fillers, pot racks, USB outlets, and built-in speakers.

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