Selling a House With a Dated Kitchen? – Real Estate for Sale in Santa Monica

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You have a dated kitchen and you need to fix it up in order to sell your home, but you find yourself short of the typical $ 30-40K for a full upgrade.  What do you do?

My experience as a stager has shown there are three important areas of the kitchen that are important to home buyers – appliances, counter tops and cabinets.  Replacing old appliances with new working ones makes a huge difference to a buyer.  The buyer doesn’t have to worry about the appliances not working, or having to shell out money immediately to make them functional. There are plenty of places to purchase these cheaply, from appliance outlet centers to the big box retailers.


Now on to the fun stuff – counter tops and cabinets.  In this picture (right), the appliances were fairly new, but the counter tops and cabinets were decidedly not.  It seems as though each are fighting for attention.

[Related: See Selling With Color on Walls]

This was a property that my client had been renting for some time and now was looking to sell.  The fact that the appliances are fairly new gets lost with the dated cabinets and countertop. Plus the refrigerator had a slight lean towards the back wall, which made the room seem unbalanced.   Lots of chaos!

[Related: See Staging a Vacant Property]

I advised my client to tackle the large visual elephant in the room – the cabinets.  I suggested painting all of the cabinets and the walls the same color — white — to brighten the room and melt the cabinets into the walls, making the kitchen feel larger. And of course, have the refrigerator straightened up. She had both things done and this was the final result…


Look at that! The cabinets and countertops are now playing nice! Notice that the countertops and floors were NOT changed but each becomes less of issue with the cabinets painted.

Sure, the floors could have been updated with self-adhesive vinyl floor tiles but remember – tight budget!  It seemed to work, as the client received 3 offers on the house after the first open house weekend and the house sold quickly thereafter.

As in most kitchens, the cabinets take up the most visual attention in the room so don’t be afraid to address them! You can paint them, update the hardware or even replace cheaply with standard sized cabinets, from  discount cabinetmakers.  If you have the funds to update the countertops with laminate from local hardware store, do it. Just don’t ignore your kitchen, it could easily block your sale more than you know!

Roslyn Ashford, MBA, is a former corporate recruiter turned home stager, and native Washingtonian (as in DC).  She hosts a bi-weekly tweet chat for home stagers and loves to stage small and vacant homes. Learn more about her growing company here or follow her on Twitter to keep up with the daily hilarity!

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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