Not only is the kitchen a place for friends and family to gather, but it is also the place where potential buyers spend the most time when they are touring your home. There is no question that the state of your kitchen is of paramount importance in attracting a buyer to your home.
The National Association of REALTORS® says that, when asked, most people say that the most important room in the house is the kitchen. It is also the single most expensive room in the house to renovate. This creates a dilemma. It seems that today’s buyers are looking for a move-in ready home and when faced with a more expensive already upgraded home and a less expensive “needs some work” home, most buyers will choose the former. Many buyers appear to be shying away from the burden (perceived or real) of taking on a renovation. This is good news for those of you who are considering getting into the fix and flip market, but not so good if you want to sell and don’t have the budget to renovate.
This blog focuses on sellers who do not have the budget or the inclination to renovate and simply want to do what is necessary to show their kitchen in the best light possible without spending a ton of money.
Here is what we recommend:
- Clean, clean, clean! We start at this point for all the rooms in your house because it cannot be emphasized enough. The kitchen is a place where you cannot afford to have potential buyers thinking that it is loaded with germs or dust or grime or mold or anything they may inadvertently ingest. We are not going too far when we say that your kitchen MUST be pristine both in plain sight and behind closed doors! If you want your kitchen to sell, you need to clean everything, ceiling to floor, wall to wall, light fixtures, vents, the tops of things you cannot see, and inside all cabinets, cupboards and storage places. Not even a nasty trash can is acceptable.
- Polish & Perfect: Just in case we have not gone far enough with the cleaning thing, remember to polish chrome, steel and other metal surfaces including all appliances, knobs, pulls etc. They all need to sparkle and shine.
- Hide the Evidence: Make sure there are no sponges, wash cloths, or cleaning products visible.
- Depersonalize: Remember that you need to depersonalize your kitchen, so no magnets, notes or pictures stuck to the fridge or on any other surface.
- Declutter: Now you need to clear off your countertops and all other surfaces completely (this includes the space above your cabinets). A properly staged coffee station is acceptable if it is pristine clean, but coffee tends to stain, so if your coffee maker is not that pretty, it will need to be hidden away. Small appliances such as mixers and toaster ovens, utensil holders, paper towel holders etc. should all be stored out of sight.
- Consider Painting: If your paint is looking dull, chipped, scratched or in need of sprucing up, or if your walls are painted in a color that is not considered neutral (think soft beige, soft blue, soft grey, eggshell), consider painting if you can afford it. At this point there should be NOTHING in your kitchen except those things that are affixed, plus appliances, and if your kitchen warrants it, a table and chairs that fit the space designated as an eating area. Your countertops and walls are bare.
- Organize: Potential buyers are going to look inside your drawers, cupboards and your pantry. Make sure they are clean and organized. Something that you are proud to have strangers see. Some stagers recommend that you organize your spice rack alphabetically, we think this is a great idea but are vaguely worried about the obsessive-compulsive thing. What you MUST avoid is having a situation where a potential buyer opens a door and has to duck to avoid falling debris!
- Re-Introduce a FEW Items: Here are the things you now get to add back in:
- A coffee station IF AND ONLY IF you can make it decorative and it is always left clean and neat.
- Decorative items such as a large fruit bowl, flowers, a cookbook, candles with candle sticks etc. in groups of uneven numbers (I, 3 or 5).
- Set the table with place-mats, dishes, cutlery, wine glasses, flowers or candles and cloth napkins. Make it pretty and inviting, like you are expecting company to come for a fancy meal as soon as the buyers leave.
We do not want to overwhelm you with this staging stuff and would be delighted to help you get ready to sell your home. It is truly not as hard as it sounds and remember, it is an outstanding way to get you started with the packing process. Lindsay is an incredible organizer and Carolynn was an interior designer in a previous career, so consider having the Wise Move AZ Team put their skills to work for you.
Do you have a question you would like us to answer? We want to hear from you; leave us a note in the form below.
Remember, if you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell their home, please give us a call! It’s always the right time to make a wise move with the Wise Move AZ Team.