Should I Remodel My Kitchen Before Selling?

Do I Need To Remodel My Kitchen Before Selling?

Kitchens are often described as the heart of the home, and home buyers like to find a house with a beautiful kitchen. However, it’s a room that can see a lot of abuse over the years – leaving stains from cooking splatters, chipped cabinets, and grimy grout.

stockvault-kitchen131057If your kitchen is very out-dated, and you have room in the budget, updating your kitchen may be a great idea to help your house appeal to potential buyers. But, paying for a complete kitchen remodel right before selling may not be in your best interest. Not only is it a bear to live through a kitchen remodel, it can be quite expensive (on average about $50,000), the style you choose may not be something a new buyer will like, and there’s no guarantee you will regain the cost of a remodel from the sale. Thankfully, most houses don’t require a large remodel, and often a light kitchen facelift is all that is needed.


For a harmonious look, any home improvements should honor the style of the house. Double check that any improvements you do inside the house are in keeping with the style on the outside, whether it is ranch, spanish, modern, or traditional.  That being said, if you are remodeling a kitchen for resale, please don’t do anything too stylized. This is not the time to add an expensive mosaic mural or a bright red stove. Think friendly-for-all style with soft neutral colors and quality workmanship. You are not designing a new kitchen for yourself, but rather cleaning up an existing kitchen to appeal to buyers.

A Note On Workmanship:

Make sure whoever is installing tile is good at it; there is nothing so sad as beautiful travertine tiles installed badly – the new buyer will know they will have to tear it out, so they’re not likely to be impressed, no matter how expensive the tiles are. In fact, we have seen buyers pass on a house with a brand new kitchen just because they felt guilty about having to rip out the expensive but poorly installed materials.  Less expensive materials installed beautifully is preferable to expensive materials installed poorly. If you are getting quotes from installers, get more than one quote and ask to see their work IN PERSON. Just because they say they can do something doesn’t mean they can do it well.


stockvault-kitchen-counter-and-stove131053The stainless steel appliance trend is still going strong, and many home buyers hope or expect to find stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. If you have an avocado green stove, or the dishwasher doesn’t work, it may be time to replace. Stainless steel is not mandatory, but newer (less than 5 years old), sparkling clean appliances that work properly are a must for most buyers. Think of it this way: buyers are already spending quite a lot of money on purchasing the home; they will not want to spend more money on appliances right away. Their reserves are most likely being tapped out with the down payment, closing costs, and moving expenses.


If your cabinets are sound and the layout is alright, you can save on the cost of new cabinetry. If you have dated oak cabinets from the 70’s or 80’s

From Retro Renovation

From Retro Renovation

(or even the 90’s), painting them and adding new knobs can give your kitchen a fresh, clean    look. There is a great before and after at Retro Rennovation on painting 80’s laminate cabinets. White is classic and universally appealing, but there numerous soft colors that can look great too, such as pale buttery yellow or dove grey. Look at the beautiful kitchen palettes available at Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore for inspiration. Always remember to take doors and hardware off before starting. Scrub the doors and drawer fronts with some de-greaser to remove the layers of food and finger grime before lightly sanding. A good coat of primer is essential to make the paint stick properly. Paint the cabinets with two to three thin coats of paint, lightly sanding between each coat for a smooth look.


In most cases, there is no need to install expensive granite slab countertops prior to resale. There are many other interesting and less expensive options that can give your kitchen an updated look, such as quartz, tile, recycled glass, laminte, or butcher block. Caesarstone has many beautiful colors available. Granite Transformations can install granite or recycled glass veneer over your existing countertops without needing to demo. There’s no need to break the bank on countertops as long as they are clean, neutral colored, and scratch-free.


Spray bottleGetting the house ready to sell is a perfect time to really make sure everything is in good shape. It’s really easy to overlook the small imperfections when we live in a house day after day, but a potential buyer will see them.  This is when the details really count. Look at your sink, is it scratched and stained? Is the caulk discolored or dirty looking? Is there grout missing or discolored on your counters, backsplash, or floors? Are your baseboards scuffed or dusty? Is there a layer of finger grime on the light switch? Is there a dead moth in the light fixture? Are there cobwebs in the corners? Can you see through the windows? Are the air vents dirty? How about those mini-blinds?

If you don’t have time or are unable to deep-clean your house, hiring a professional to clean right before the house goes on the market will really help with the appeal to potential buyers. Many carpet cleaning companies, such as Coit, offer other cleaning services as well, such as furniture, upholstery, wood floor cleaning, and tile and grout cleaning. Getting your tiles and grout professionally cleaned will make a world of difference and may save you the cost of replacement. 


We are happy to advise our clients on what their house may need before going on the market. If you’re in the Long Beach or Orange County areas and are thinking about selling, contact us for a free market and home consultation.

W. logoThe Wahlberg Group

Keller Williams Pacific Estates



Tags: , , ,

About coralynwahlberg

The Wahlberg Group are Real Estate specialists based in Long Beach and Orange County, California.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: