Trying to Sell Your Home Quickly? Look to the Kitchen First
Author: Greg Geilman, realtor
You might have a couple of friends or neighbors who were able to sell their homes
quickly with a buyer on contract within a week or two of listing. There are many reasons
that you would want to duplicate that kind of experience, and it’s not based on luck. With
the right attitude and a fresh kitchen, you may be able to sell your home faster, possible
even with a better price.
Why Is Selling Quickly Important?
There’s a reason that you hope to get offers within the first couple of weeks of listing your home, and it’s not just about convenience, or getting the money more quickly. The longer your home takes to sell, the less likely it is that buyers will see it in an online search, or want to come for a visit even if they do. The longer your home sits on the market, the more buyers begin to wonder what could be wrong with it. An old, uninspired kitchen might very well be the reason. As the listing itself gets older and older, buyers have more reason to stay away than they have incentives to contact you for a showing. There are many tricks to refresh the listing, but having a home with a kitchen that is worth buying at a higher price is the better way to go.
Do Buyers Expect a Modern Kitchen?
The home improvement shows often over-inflate the importance of one particular home improvement or another, but there is one concept on which they are absolutely correct: Buyers want kitchens that are new, or at least newly renovated. They would generally prefer not to buy kitchens last updated during the Carter administration, or even the Clinton administration. For many buyers, the condition of the kitchen is a crucial item on which they won’t compromise. It’s not just that an old kitchen may not have the kind of flow that buyers demand and current kitchens possess. Rather, outdated kitchens are often smaller, with less efficient storage space and older appliances as well.
Buyers who take on a house with an older kitchen are committing themselves to either an immediate upgrade, or a series of smaller upgrades in the first few years that they own the home. With this in mind, many buyers who see an older kitchen may not make an offer, especially if the other homes they are viewing do include modern features. If the best you have to offer buyers is an old kitchen with a lot of flaws, you may need to significantly drop your sale price in order to draw any buyer interest at all. Even real estate experts recommend that you do everything you can to fix your home’s chief issues before you try to sell, instead of unloading a problem kitchen onto someone else at a lower cost. Buyers tend to estimate high in repair costs, which could lead to lower offers for you.
How Big Does a Kitchen Upgrade Need to Be?
Now, this does not mean that you have to gut your entire kitchen and start over. You don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to achieve your goal of a new kitchen and a fresh look for the home. Buyers are typically just expecting a fairly recent update, with appliances that are at least a little current, and some attention to the fixtures and cabinetry. One way to dramatically improve the entire appearance of your kitchen is to change the countertops. If you want a choice that will help you impress buyers, or even increase the value of the home, stone countertops are a wise selection.
When you are preparing to sell your home, you want to balance your need to get the house into selling order with the general wisdom of selling as quickly as possible. By tackling the biggest problems in your kitchen, you can provide buyers with the kitchen upgrades they expect, in a way that helps you preserve or even improve your sale price.