Ask any person looking at renovating a house “Which are the most expensive areas to fix up?” and they’ll probably tell you “the kitchen and bathroom”. They are also the areas that will either make or break a sale, and that is because apart from being the most expensive to renovate, they are the most essential rooms in the house. You can sleep in a lounge room while your bedroom is being renovated if you need to, but where else can you cook (other than outside)?
Kitchens are no longer a room that is purely utilitarian; they have now become a focal point, a social mecca, even a representation of status. With popular shows such as “Master-Chef” and “My Kitchen Rules”, people are diving back into cooking and spending lots of time in the kitchen. Appliances are becoming decorator items and style is just as important as functionality. The kitchen can even set the style and tone for the rest of the house.
What do buyers want in a kitchen? They want bench space, modern appliances, a light and airy feel, cupboard space and they want all of the expensive remodelling done so that they don’t have to pay for it or have to endure the disruption of having it done themselves. Neutral kitchens are always the best way to go, as the new buyer will be able to visualise themselves in the space much more readily than if it is decorated to the previous owners taste.
So what can be done to get a kitchen looking up to date without spending a fortune so that you can ensure that you get the best return on your investment?
Paint – This is the easiest way to change the feel of a room by updating it and making it look fresh and clean. Stick with neutral colours, and if there is an adjoining room, like a dining or family room, continue the colour through as it gives a feeling of more space.
Clean – The single most important task for any room is to make sure it sparkles. Don’t forget to clean extractor fans and inside cupboards and ovens, because buyers will look in every nook and cranny to find faults to whittle away at your asking price. I recently sold a 7 year old home with a gorgeous kitchen, but the owners hadn’t wiped down the oven, so on auction day, the buyer who we thought was going to buy the home decided that the home needs new kitchen cupboards and oven so they knocked $10,000 off their offer. Irrational? Perhaps. Common? Yep!
Light – Turn on all the lights. The brighter the better! People don’t like dark rooms, especially dark kitchens.
Windows are very important too so don’t forget to take off fly screens to allow more light in, and remove any window coverings. The more light you can let in the better.
Update – If you get a couple of hours on a Sunday, make a quick trip to Bunnings or your local kitchen specialist shop with some spare change and you can really make a world of difference to your kitchen. The most important purchase you’ll be making will be new door handles – you would be surprised at how much of a difference new, modern handles can make to the look of your kitchen doors and cupboards.
De-Personalise – You want prospective buyers to be able to imagine themselves in the house. This is very hard to do when they are faced with your decorating style. You may love the country cottage feel, but not everyone does. Remove all magnets, photos, bills etc from the fridge. You don’t need strangers seeing into your personal life, and they really don’t want to see it.
Add a few carefully selected items to give the kitchen a homely feel – this can be achieved by having an open cookbook on the bench, or a bowl of fresh, brightly coloured fruit. Freshly baked bread or brewed coffee are not important. Buyers are more interested in the visual aspect of the kitchen, not the smell.
As you can see, there is a basic pattern to creating the perfectly presented home; clean, de-cluttered, neutral, light/airy and modern. It doesn’t take much to master these ingredients; but when you have, it is a recipe for a successful sale.
Real Estate Advisor
0421 274 996
Specialising in real estate in Cheltenham, Mentone and surrounds.