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Selling a House: The Kitchen

By - 2011

It is well known that a nice kitchen can be more than helpful when selling a house. In fact, an outdated and dirty kitchen can be a deal-breaker. So clean up that kitchen, and buy a new stove and refrigerator if the ones you have are old or look old. What else can you do to make that kitchen a selling point? Some suggestions follow.

Start by thinking in terms of getting the biggest bang for your buck. When people do a complete kitchen remodel job they typically spend as much as 50% more on the job than the value it adds to the house. Your goal (presumably) is to make more money from selling your house, not less, so plan wisely.

You also have to consider the style of the house, the price range and the neighborhood. You want a kitchen that is appropriate to the context, in other words. If you are selling a mobile home on a lot at the edge of town, buyers are almost certainly not looking for granite countertops, and they will not pay extra for them (or at least not enough to cover what they will cost you). Look for elements that fit the house.

Start with the floor. Does it look good as it is? Does it just need a good cleaning? If you do replace it, you want the nicest floor you can get cheaply; one that will look like it cost a lot. Again, context is crucial, so this could mean new linoleum, or a decent tile floor. Be sure that the colors and texture fit with the rest of the room.

Cabinets can be one of the most expensive things to replace in a kitchen. Get this wrong and you'll spend $16,000 to raise the value of the home by $8,000 at best. Ask your real estate agent for an opinion (but remember that it is just that) as to how much value new cabinets would add to the house, and then shop for the nicest ones you can find which will cost substantially less than that added value.

You also should consider whether you can work with the existing cabinetry when selling a home. Sometimes a good cleaning and new knobs will be enough, and cost you no more than $100. If the wood is still good on the cabinet doors, it may also be possible to have the refinished or painted for a lot less than new ones would cost.

For the windows, consider a thorough cleaning of any blinds and curtains/valences. If they need to be replaced, consider going a little cheap on these. Being brand new may be enough for them to look sharp, as long as they go well with the rest of the decor.

Walls should be cleaned or repainted, of course. Check out the ceiling as well, to see if it needs a fresh coat of paint.

New light fixtures and/or a ceiling fan are relatively inexpensive ways to make a kitchen look nicer, especially if you do the work yourself.

For ideas as to which appliances to buy, what colors to choose for walls, and the other elements of your kitchen remodeling, look at other homes near you. Specifically, try to go to a few open houses where the kitchen is noted in the marketing. You can see what is popular in this way.

A decent kitchen is key to selling a house fast and for top dollar.


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Houses Under Fifty Thousand | Selling a House: The Kitchen