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8 Ways to Prep Your Kitchen Before Selling Your Home

If you update your kitchen’s finishes and stage the space properly, your home won’t be sitting on the market for long.


It may be a seller’s market, but that shouldn’t stop you from fixing up your home before you list it. As you know, kitchens sell homes. However, what you might not know is how to create a space that seals the deal. If you update your kitchen’s finishes and stage the space properly, your home won’t be sitting on the market for long. Here are eight ways to prep your kitchen for resale.

1. Get the wood look. If you need to replace your flooring, consider this: Hardwood is king when it comes to resale value. It’s the floor that buyers look for when they’re house shopping, and it will instantly increase the value of your kitchen.

Does that mean you have to install hardwood for your home to sell? Not at all. Quality hardwood isn’t cheap. It normally runs at least $4 per square foot. You can opt for less expensive flooring that has the wood look, such as vinyl and porcelain tile, which can carry lower price tags. Installing vinyl is DIY-friendly, which can keep your return on investment high.

2. Paint your cabinets. Cabinets are one of the first things buyers will notice about your kitchen. If your cabinets aren’t in tiptop shape, a new paint might be the best and most economical way to give them a modern makeover since new cabinets can easily cost more than $10,000.

A do-it-yourself paint job can cost less than $100 (plus hours of tutorials). If you don’t think you can pull it off, hire a professional. Expect to pay a pro anywhere from several hundred dollars to $2,000.

White is both a popular and timeless choice that will have broad appeal to home buyers. It also keeps your space light and open. Avoid colorful or dark tones and stick to a neutral palette.

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3. Replace your cabinet hardware and faucet. These are minor upgrades that can boost your kitchen’s curb appeal for less than $1,000. The type of finish you choose ultimately depends on your kitchen’s style. Oil-rubbed bronze will do the trick, though stainless steel and chrome are more trendy choices.

If you don’t currently have cabinet hardware, consider investing in a style that suits your kitchen. It can give your cabinets an entirely new look and feel. It’s an additional cost but is more affordable than replacing your cabinets.

4. Go granite or solid surface. Here’s the deal: Buyers expect a durable, solid-surface worktop like granite. It’s already as standard a finish as stainless steel. If you have dated laminate countertops, now is the time to upgrade.

There are many options available for countertops. Granite and quartz are two popular choices. Quartz countertops are a hot commodity right now and will certainly help sell your home. Some may even argue that quartz is the new standard instead of granite.

So what will it cost? An entry-level granite costs around $45 to $55 per square foot installed. Quartz normally runs $65 to $85 per square foot installed. While that isn’t chump change, it’s a small price to pay for a sold home.

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5. Install a designer backsplash. If you haven’t replaced your backsplash in more than a decade, chances are it’s too dated. A flashy glass mosaic or a creative blend of glass and tile can leave an impression on home buyers. Don’t forget about quality stone like marble and travertine either.

Glass mosaics usually cost anywhere from $10 to $60 per square foot. Stay on the lower end of that spectrum to maximize your return on investment.

6. Paint the walls. A new paint job is usually one of the first expenses that homeowners pencil in when they’re preparing to list their home, and for good reason. Your kitchen walls have to look presentable. Patch up areas that need TLC or select an entirely new color.

When you’re deciding on a new color, the lighter, the better. Remember, you want your kitchen to feel as open and expansive as possible. Grays are certainly en vogue, but off-whites, creams, beiges and tans have broad appeal too. Choose a softer tone to offset dark cabinetry and furniture.

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7. Boost and update the lighting. Lighting is a key feature in creating an open and inviting space that buyers will love. Swap out any dim or broken bulbs for new ones. If you have pendant lights or lamps, make sure they’re still in style. If not, invest in modern lighting fixtures that will have appeal in today’s housing market.

Adding undercabinet lighting is another quick fix you can make to improve your kitchen’s lighting. It’s relatively inexpensive and will brighten up your counter space.

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8. Stage it well. You can upgrade or improve every finish in your kitchen, but it won’t mean a thing if potential buyers can’t envision the space as their own. It’s also important to keep your kitchen as clean as possible while you’re showing it.

Here are a few tips for proper staging:

  • Declutter. Clearing your counters is an absolute must, but don’t stop there. Get rid of the items you no longer use. Clean out and organize your pantry and cupboards — buyers will likely take a peek. Scrub down places you haven’t seen or touched in years.
  • Make it flow. Tables, chairs and decor should feel natural and open, not cramped and closed. Consult with a real estate agent or interior designer if you need help reimagining your layout to improve your kitchen’s flow.
  • Use fruits and fresh flowers as decorations. They’re inexpensive props that add color to your kitchen. Plus, they breathe life into the space and make it feel lived in.

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This article is from Houzz, not the Kiplinger editorial staff.