Your Kitchen When You Want to Sell

Pay close attention to the kitchen when you get ready to sell your house.

By FamilyTime


For so many of us, the kitchen is the center of the home, the place where we gather and get on with family life. When it’s time to sell the house, consider how a buyer will “see” the kitchen. Does it meet the “heart of the home” criteria? Will the new owners be able to make it their own?

Sellers often forget that they are selling the space, not the cozy or whimsical home they created. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the kitchen.

Before you put your house on the market, take a close look at the kitchen and make these easy improvements:

  • Get rid of clutter. The countertops should be as clean and open as possible. This might mean packing away the mixer, blender, Panini press, and canisters, but the goal is to let buyers gauge how much space they will have -- not to see how little you get along with.
  • Keep the sink clean and free of stray dishes. Don’t overload the dish drainer; if possible, stash it somewhere when the house is being shown.
  • Empty the kitchen trash often to eliminate odors and to keep everything neat and tidy. Wash out the wastebasket or buy a new one if the old one is hopelessly horrible.
  • Remove or relocate dog and cat bowls so that no one trips over them.
  • Strip the refrigerator bare. This means getting rid of magnets and photos so that the exterior is clean and sleek. During the crucial times your house is on the market, keep the interior of the ‘fridge clean and orderly, too. Sure, you have to feed your family but a jam-packed refrigerator is a turnoff. And buyers open refrigerators.
  • Tidy up the pantry and kitchen cabinets. The shelves should not be full-to-bursting with cans, boxes, and cartons. This is particularly true if the contents of your cupboards are old and dusty. Straighten things out in neat rows, if possible, and gather small items in baskets and bins. Let a buyer see where she will store her own food.
  • Make sure the stove and the oven sparkle. Scrub or replace burner pans. If only a few burners ignite with the turn of the knob, get them fixed. Buyers will test out the stove.
  • Remove extra chairs around the kitchen table. You don’t want it to look uncomfortable.
  • Scrub the kitchen floor and countertops, and wash the windows. If the window treatments are tired or fussy, change them. Choose neutral-colored blinds or curtains.
  • Clean the woodwork or repaint it. Sometimes wiping off scuff marks or minor repainting is all that is needed to make a significant difference.
  • Check the lighting and replace it if needed. Replace burned out or low-wattage bulbs — a dimly lit kitchen is dismal, especially on a rainy day.

While there might be more expensive tasks that will help the kitchen sell the house, the easy ones listed here will go a long way to showing off your kitchen to its best advantage.

And even if you have to replace a kitchen counter, paint the walls, or buy a new refrigerator, the value will be returned with the sale of the house.