When potential buyers tour a house, most of them beeline to one room first: the kitchen. An outdated kitchen (worn out surfaces, ancient appliances, and lack of storage space) can be the Achilles heel of an otherwise flawless home. In fact, a recent study by the National Association of Realtors found that, among all possible pre-sale home renovations, a complete kitchen renovation is the most appealing to buyers and the most valuable upgrade for resale.

Remodeling a kitchen before listing can be overwhelming for both homeowners, though. As the real estate agent and the expert in selling homes in your clients’ market, it’s up to you to help homeowners approach the renovation from the buyer’s perspective.

To usher your sellers toward a kitchen remodel that’s optimized for selling the home, remind them of the following:

The Kitchen is For Your Buyers (Not You!)

While your homeowner may love the idea of a Mediterranean-style kitchen, that specific style choice will not appeal to a wide audience. Explain to your clients that the purpose of this remodel is not to create their personal dream kitchen, but rather the dream kitchen of the family that will ultimately buy the home.

We recommend sticking to a contemporary design with stainless steel appliances, neutral walls, and classic (not trendy) countertops, floors, and fixtures.

Focus on layout and functionality.

Your client’s kitchen is likely customized according to their personal habits. Couples that rarely cook might be using the stove for storage. Large families might have a huge refrigerator, even though it doesn’t fit well in the kitchen. Families with school-aged children might prioritize counter space for homework, not meal prep.

However, to make the kitchen layout appeal to the broadest possible audience, the placement of the fridge, stove, and sink are critical. The location of these three appliances should either make a triangle to ensure maximum efficiency or be spaced out to avoid crowding. Also, make sure to take ventilation, lighting, storage, and counter space into consideration.

before and after kitchen in Rockville MD

Minor layout adjustments, including moving the refrigerator and microwave, made all the difference in this Rockville, Maryland kitchen renovation.  

Don’t forget the peanut gallery.

Have you ever noticed how everyone ends up in the kitchen at a party, regardless of how many extra chairs have been carefully arranged by the hosts throughout the home? People always gravitate to the kitchen.

Whenever possible, help buyers see the possibility of eating or gathering in the kitchen (even a small one). While you might not be able to accommodate a 10-person audience, it is worthwhile to make space for a couple of stools at an island, or some extra standing room so that a buyer can imagine their friend sipping a cocktail as they prepare a beautiful meal.

kitchen remodel

To maximize our budget, we kept this kitchen’s tile floor and stainless steel appliances, which were in great condition. After updating countertops, cabinets, light fixtures, and paint, this kitchen was a show-stopper. As a final touch, the agent staged the eat-in kitchen area so buyers could see the room’s full potential. 

Of course, you should always look at comps to determine what kitchen features are popular in nearby homes. You never want to recommend that your homeowner over-renovates or makes investments that won’t pay off.  A good general contractor should have a deep understanding of what features buyers are looking for when they are house hunting.

Take a look at some of our most recent kitchen renovations for inspiration, and if you have a seller who’s considering a kitchen upgrade before you list their home, submit a request for a free consultation.