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Is The Kitchen The Most Valuable Room When Selling Your House?

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“The kitchen is the most important room in your home,” says Candy Scott, founder and creative director of Mood Design and Build in Chicago. “I can’t think of one kitchen renovation we have done where our client hasn’t shared with us how much time is spent in their kitchen.”

It makes sense. The kitchen is where it all happens. It’s where the morning huddle takes place as families get ready to tackle the day, its where meals are made, and family and friends gather to eat and share conversations. The kitchen is the heartbeat of the home.

What this means for you is that an upgraded kitchen can make or break the sale of your home. But unless you’ve done it before, upgrading a kitchen is no walk in the park. With so many DIY TV shows and blogs that make home renovation seem easy and fun, it’s tempting to fall into the trap that you too, can do it -- only to find that you’ve spent more in time, money and aggravation in the future.

By the same token, you may not be looking for a complete kitchen rehab. Maybe you need to freshen it so there are some projects you can probably tackle on your own. Whatever the case may be, this article will discuss what’s popular with home buyers to get an idea of what people are looking for. We’ll also dig deeper into what type of kitchen upgrade you need, and we’ll share some projects you can try on your own too.

What’s Popular Around Your Neighborhood?

Knowing what’s trendy in a kitchen for the people living in your area will help inspire the type of renovation you need to impress buyers. To find out, you can ask real estate professionals. You can also talk to design experts and do a bit of research on your own. People love stainless-steel appliances but are there a certain brand that appeals to people more than others right now? Are granite kitchen counter tops more desirable than marble? What paint colors are people more drawn to?

Zillow did a study in 2017 that shows that a soft blue paint color increased the sale of a home by $1,809. So, when you consider the cost of paint, is it worth painting your kitchen? Absolutely. A real estate agent has access to this type of information and knowing ahead of time, will help you figure out what you need to do.

Full Kitchen Rehab, Partial Rehab or Refresh?

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Source: Candy Scott

Once you talk to a few real estate agents, interior designers and have done some of your own research, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what buyers are looking for. Now it’s time to decide if you want a full rehab, partial rehab or a kitchen refresh. What’s the difference?

Full Kitchen Rehab

A full kitchen rehab is exactly what that sounds like. You’re going to do it all. Here is a list from Mood Design + Build:

  • Install new cabinetry

  • Install back splash

  • Replace flooring

  • Replace counter tops

  • Install knobs and pulls

  • Install new lighting under cabinet, island pendants, recessed cans

  • Install new appliances

  • Install new plumbing fixtures

  • Paint the walls and ceiling

Partial Kitchen Rehab

You may not need to do it all. Here’s an idea of what a partial rehab will consist of

  • Paint existing cabinetry

  • Install or replace back splash

  • Replace flooring

  • Replace counter tops

  • Install new or replace door hardware (knobs and pulls)

  • Install new lighting (under cabinet, island pendants recessed cans)

  • Replace appliances

  • Replace plumbing fixtures

  • Paint the walls and ceiling (if necessary)

Kitchen Refresh

You can hire interior design experts to help you with any type of kitchen upgrade but a simple kitchen refresh may be just what you need. You may even be able to tackle some of the items on the list on your own:

  • Install or replace tile back splash

  • Replace counter tops

  • Replace or install hardware (knobs and pulls)

  • Paint the walls

What’s Best for You?

Just because you have a list of over 20 items though, it doesn’t mean you have to do all of them. The extent to which you want to take your kitchen upgrade will depend on how much time you have, and what your budget is. If you’re looking to sell your home in a month, a full kitchen rehab is probably not a good idea. So when you’re doing your research, find out how long kitchen projects typically take to get a heads up.

DIY Kitchen Renovation Tips and Ideas

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No matter how big or small you decide your kitchen upgrade should be, there are some DIY tips and ideas you can try too.

Simplicity and Functionality

Personality is important in any room, but if you’re upgrading your kitchen to sell on the market, a simple and functional kitchen is the way to go. As mentioned earlier, painting your kitchen using a soft blue color can boost the price significantly. Think about functionality too, such as installing vertical wall shelves to optimize space or putting in two-tiered carousel cabinets to keep counter tops clear and to find things easily.

Home Automation

Home automation is evolving at an unprecedented speed and new products are hitting the market virtually every day. A great way to impress home buyers is by setting up some automation features in your home.

You don’t have to automate your entire home though. Selecting a few areas can be just enough. You may choose to automate your kitchen lighting, the temperature in your home or home security (or all if you wish). For example, if you have windows in your kitchen (or anywhere in your home), you can invest in smart shades and blinds, or you can opt for a less expensive option such as smart light bulbs that can be turned on with an app before you arrive home.

You can also automate your home’s temperature control feature with the Nest Learning Thermostat where after a few days, will pick up on the temperatures you like when you’re home, and help you save energy when everyone’s away.

What’s Next?

Upgrading your kitchen whether you’re doing a complete gut rehab, a partial renovation or just giving your kitchen a simple makeover, it’s worth the investment. It not only adds to the value of your home but also to the helps buyers envision how they can enjoy the most significant space in a home. As you think about upgrading other spaces in your home, whether it’s the bathroom or the outside of your home such as your backyard or deck, you can apply the same principles: ask yourself what do people want? Think about how big your project will be: is this a full renovation, partial or refresh? Keep it simple yet functional, and add some high tech features to give your home that edge home buyers are looking for.

Guest Contributor, Kevin Hilton