In all honesty, I think the kitchen was one of the major reasons we didn’t sell our home quicker. Because we didn’t update it, and since it was the first room into which people entered our home during a showing, I think it left a poor first impression.
It wasn’t that our kitchen didn’t look good, but it could have looked better. And without a great looking kitchen to help sell our home during one of the worst real estate markets in history, it left our home lingering on market and finally selling at $65,000 less than the price we paid for it.
Here are some of the things that we did — and didn’t do – to our kitchen that I think affected our ability to sell our home quickly.
One area in which we were successful in our kitchen prep was with that of our cabinetry. For the cost of a gallon of paint, a little elbow grease, and about $70 in new brushed-nickel cabinet hardware, we had our old — somewhat outdated looking — cabinets looking like new. This fairly affordable update made a significant difference in the overall appearance of our kitchen.
Our ceramic floor tiles were in relatively good shape, but we had several cracked tiles near the oven/pantry area. Thankfully, the previous owners had left several extra such tiles in the basement, and for $160, we had the cracked ones pulled up (along with a few in the bathroom), some loose subflooring screwed down to avoid the replacement tiles cracking, and the new tiles put in.
Having worked in the hotel industry for a number of years, I also had a few tricks of my own up my sleeve. Our kitchen tiles were dimpled, and over the years, build-up had accumulated in those dimples. Therefore, with some floor cleaner and a scrub sponge I was able to work over these areas by hand, eliminating the dirt build-up as well as tackling the discolored grout around these areas with a grout brush and sponge, bringing it back to an eye-pleasing white rather than a dingy brown.
As I mentioned, when it came to things like the tile grout and cracked floor tiles, it’s not always the major things that can have an impact upon the overall feel of kitchen. This is why I went through and focused on some of the small details of our kitchen as well.
While they might seem minor at first, spending a few bucks and a little time cleaning things like the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, and microwave inside and out can make a difference in opinion for the buyers that are inclined to do a bit of snooping. A new, $3 tube of caulk also allowed me to give a brighter, fresher appearance to our backsplash and sink areas where the older caulk had become cracked, discolored, and in some places was even missing. I also used a little of that paint from our cabinetry update to repaint the wooden blinds over the kitchen sink, the paint of which had become flaky in spots due to moisture.
In my opinion, our biggest mistake with our home sale preparation in our kitchen came down to appliances. These items were dated, and while clean, detracted from the overall appeal and appearance of the space.
I think that if we had spent an extra $3,000 to $4,000 on things like a new refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and stove top, our investment would have been recouped, plus some when it came to our sale price. Entering a home through a kitchen that is bright, freshly painted, and is clean like ours was is certainly a start, but having new stainless steel appliances would have been the icing on the cake and I think it might have sealed the deal for a sale much sooner had we made this adjustment before putting our home on the market.
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The author is not a licensed financial or real estate professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or real estate advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.