Imagine the following scenario. You’ve finally found the most amazing country acreage. The one that checks all the boxes. It has the cute, cozy country home. The spacious sheds. The lovely creek. The garden area. And of course, plenty of room for your family and four-legged friends. It’s the dream estate, and one that you know will be the perfect home for decades to come.
But there’s just one problem: you can’t seem to find a buyer for your current house. And until you do, the country retreat has to wait!
Unfortunately, this problem is all too real. Most families cannot afford the time and expense of juggling two homes, and so until your current one is sold, the new one remains but a dream.
Selling a home is no easy task. In fact, as someone that has done countless deals across British Columbia, I know first-hand that selling a home requires equal parts determination, skill, and persistence. But my experience has also given me an expert understanding of exactly what goes into a buyer’s decision to purchase a home.
While there are many factors that go into the decision to purchase a home, I can tell you that without fail there is one room that most often makes or breaks a sale: the kitchen. Kitchens are the heart of any home, and if potential buyers don’t fall in love at first sight, you’re going to have an uphill battle getting your place sold.
Fortunately, my years of buying and selling in the Fraser Valley have given me a first-hand look at the many ways you can make your kitchen shine for potential buyers (often without breaking the bank). Looking for some tips? Here’s everything you need to know to get your kitchen up to snuff, and get your house sold!
Make the Most of What You’ve Got
While many home sellers think they need to gut their kitchen and start from scratch if they ever want to sell their house, quite often it doesn’t require anything near this level of time or expense. In fact, many homes just need a quick refresh to get their kitchen sale-ready.
First things first: clean and declutter! A small kitchen looks even smaller when you have the countertops overflowing with toasters and coffeemakers, and a stack of dishes piled up in your sink. Put away all non-essential appliances, and pack up extra dishes and glassware so that your cabinets look nice and spacious (because you know potential buyers will be opening in your cabinets!)
Next, give your kitchen the deep clean it deserves. Buyers tend to care more about cleanliness than age. An older stove that’s spotless is often more appealing than a newer grease-covered one. So, get out the rubber gloves and get scrubbing! While you’re at it, be sure to attack the backsplash, countertops, and inside of your refrigerator. We tend to overlook the cleanliness of these items as the years go by, and before you know it there is a film of grime and grease on everything. While you may not notice this over time, potential buyers most certainly will!
Start with Small Upgrades and Changes
If, after a deep clean, you feel like your kitchen still needs attention before putting your house on the market, start small. Again, you may be surprised as how little changes can make all the difference.
Some of the easiest ways to make an older kitchen shine are cabinet faces and hardware. Set aside a few hundred dollars and weekend, and tackle this easy DIY project yourself. Remove the cabinet doors, give them a cleaning and a sanding, and apply a fresh coat of paint or varnish. Once dry, screw on some updated hardware and put the doors back on the cabinets. You’ll be amazed at how different your kitchen will look after this quick fix!
Do Your Homework Before Big Changes
Of course, some kitchens are going to need more than a cleaning and minor touch-up. For those of you with major issues in your kitchen such as broken appliances, busted floors, missing backsplash tile, cracked countertops, etc., you may need to consider hiring professionals to do a larger renovation. However before you do, be sure to do your homework.
While many kitchen renovations will end up paying for themselves, this only happens as the house appreciates in value over time (often 5 years or more). Since your goal is to move immediately, you need to be extra careful with your budget in order to maximize return on investment.
Start by looking at neighbourhood comps. While Instagram feeds may have you feeling like every home needs an Italian marble kitchen island, if all the homes in your neighbourhood have simple kitchen designs, you can comfortably scale back your renovation plans knowing that you’ll be in line with the rest of the market. Same thing goes for appliances. Since you will (hopefully) be out of your home soon, there is no need to go overboard with the latest and greatest appliances. Look for clean, functioning used appliances instead. You can save thousands if you’re willing to go with used models that are a few years old.
Getting Your House Sold
I know how frustrating it can be to get your house sold…especially when you have your sights set on a new dream house. But rest assured that there are ways to greatly accelerate the pace at which you can find a buyer, the most important of which is focusing your attention on the kitchen.
With some a little time and effort, you can make your worn kitchen look significantly better. And once you do, it’ll only be a matter of time before you find the next perfect family to call your place home, and you are off to that dream house in the country!