Real Estate

When shopping for a new home, some people get excited about a giant walk-in closet with built-in shelving; Others daydream about a private outdoor space with panoramic views. But what you think sells a home is different from what actually sells a home. The room that tends to make the biggest impact and tip homebuyers one way or another is…

…the kitchen!

From a financial perspective, kitchens generally cost the most to renovate. Buyers know this as they’re looking around and seeing outdated parquet floors, lime green tile, old-fashioned appliances, and cheap cabinets. No matter how much they might love the rest of the home, they see big costs, a lengthy renovation, and some challenges around usability and practicality with an un-renovated kitchen—after all, it’s one of the rooms we spend the most time in. 

If you’re reading this as a homebuyer and wondering if a home with an outdated kitchen is worth buying, the answer is maybe. Ask yourself:

•Can you afford an extra $12,000-$30,000 (the average kitchen renovation cost)?

•Can you delay your move-in date, or live around ongoing construction?

If you’re reading this as a homeowner and wondering if you should renovate your kitchen before listing your home, the answer is YES! But keep a few things in mind:

•Go for timeless over trendy.

•Avoid putting your own spin and personalization on everything.

•Invest the most in big-ticket items like top-quality appliances and flooring.

Now, in our post-pandemic world, I have noticed another room that’s become popular among buyers, and it’s something people in city apartments and small homes should especially be aware of. A “bonus” room, such as a small extra bedroom that can be used as an office has become a huge selling point in the work-from-home era. If you have a three-bedroom apartment, stage the smallest bedroom as an office, not a guest bedroom, before listing your apartment—it’s far more practical to buyers right now. If you have a nook in your entryway that can fit a small console-style desk, or a large closet that you can convert into a small office, that works, too. I’ve seen people get really creative during the pandemic, and buyers appreciate having a (crucial!) home workspace that’s ready to use.

The key to selling or renovating your home is simple: Be aware of what people want and need right now; A modern, renovated kitchen, a dedicated home office space, and plenty of natural light and outdoor views to make the extra time spent indoors more palatable. 

Focus on these tips as you contemplate renovations, and if you’re the one looking, remember that a brand-new kitchen is worth full ask in a competitive market—and it will save you plenty of time, money, and energy down the road.