ASK any reputable real estate agent - kitchens sell houses!
Kitchens have always been the 'heart of the home', but in today's open plan homes they form a central hub for dining, living and even outdoor entertaining areas. Families and friends are nourished and nurtured in kitchens - the more beautiful and functional they are the better!
Family and friends congregate and socialise in and around the kitchen, while children watch TV, read, play or do their homework in the adjacent living areas. A well designed open plan kitchen allows the designated 'chef' to interact and be involved with his or her family and guests without being isolated in a separate room.
Even if open plan living doesn't feature in your home or renovation, kitchen functionality and design remain essential for both keen amateur chefs and family use in general.
Kitchens feature very prominently in real estate marketing campaigns, should selling your home be the ultimate objective of your renovation. Regardless of the style of your home, kitchen design, appliances, functionality and cleanliness can 'make or break' both your renovation and/or the eventual sale of your property.
"You are selling a 'vision' and you need to create a welcoming, stylish, functional space that buyers can imagine themselves and their families enjoying and creating memories in."
Kitchens are a serious investment, both from a renovating perspective and from a potential buyer's viewpoint. Not every buyer is an enthusiastic renovator, and many will not be keen to spend money on a kitchen they think needs updating or upgrading. They may even try to negotiate a lower price if they consider the kitchen inadequate.
"Get your kitchen renovation right and it will be the focal point of your home - it will play a starring role and buyers hopefully will fall in love with it. Get it wrong and it could spell disaster."
Please, please, please consider the importance of your kitchen when establishing your budget and planning for your renovation.
In some of the renovations I have undertaken, for one reason or another I have decided to leave the kitchen until last: big mistake. For me, it was a matter of “well the kitchen’s not too bad, we’ll get to that later”. BIG MISTAKE.
The last home I renovated only had three bedrooms, despite it being a very large home, and we decided to create five bedrooms so everyone would have a room of their own. With four teenagers, we felt it was a priority, along with creating a new bathroom to cater for them.
After we finished renovating the kids' bedrooms and bathroom, my husband and I thought to ourselves - well we should have a nice new bedroom and ensuite too, that won't cost too much.
Unfortunately however, that meant the kitchen ended up being last on the list of rooms to be renovated.
It wasn’t until we eventually did renovate the kitchen that we realised how substandard the previous one had been and how much the new kitchen improved the flow and general appeal of the home. Everyone loved and embraced the new, inviting space. It was a delight to use and to socialise in.
"It may sound a bit weird, but by renovating the unappealing, dysfunctional kitchen it was as if our home had finally come to life."
Not renovating the kitchen first is a mistake I have now made twice (you’d think I would have caught on a bit quicker than that!). I will not make the same mistake again.
NEXT TIME, I WILL MAKE THE KITCHEN NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.
It’s not going to hurt for the kids to share a room for a while, or to have to put up with a less than appealing bathroom.
The cost of renovating your kitchen will consume a large portion of your budget and it is essential to budget and plan for a kitchen renovation very carefully.
By starting with the kitchen, overspending or contingency contributions can be redirected from other rooms in the property. It is much more difficult to do that in reverse order, if you choose to leave the kitchen renovation until last.
Should your renovation not go according to plan and for some reason or another you are required to sell before you had planned, at least you will have a sparkling new kitchen to give your home it’s best chance of selling, and for the highest amount.
It doesn’t take much to style a bedroom with a bit of paint, gorgeous linens, furnishings and artwork to make it attractive to buyers - but an ugly, dated, dysfunctional kitchen is pretty hard to disguise.
"Fresh bread and a bunch of flowers just aren’t going to cut it."
When we finally did get around to renovating our kitchen in our most recent home, it was an absolute delight to cook and entertain in. It wasn’t an over-the-top expensive kitchen, but it was practical, attractive and played a significant role in achieving the desired outcome for the renovation. Not to mention adding significant value to the property.
Removing a dark countertop and replacing it with mottled, off-white engineered stone, white cupboards, stainless steel appliances, a state-of-the-art fridge and a gorgeous farmhouse sink brought much needed light and freshness into the space, creating a harmonious family hub.
Delaying the renovation of the kitchen in our last home resulted in me making yet another big mistake, and I know for a fact that we could have saved quite a few thousand dollars had I not done this.
Once other sections of the house had been renovated, the kitchen began to look very drab and unappealing. However we knew we would have to wait some time before tackling the kitchen, and so we decided to do a mini kitchen makeover.
“Let’s get the painters to paint the cabinetry, like they do on those cheap kitchen renovation programs on TV,” I thought to myself.
So, I arranged for the painters to paint the kitchen, which involved removing all the cupboard doors, taking them away and then returning them once painted.
The kitchen did look significantly better, it went from bland beige to bright, happy white. I even added some lovely new door knobs for a final touch.
The only problem was, despite it’s shiny new appearance, it was still the same dysfunctional kitchen, which lacked storage, had grotty wall tiles and inefficient, and old, unattractive appliances.
The remainder of the home had been renovated to a very high standard and looked lovely, yet the kitchen was still a comparative disappointment.
When I arranged for various relators to inspect to our home and give us an estimate of its value, they verdict was always the same: despite how much money and effort had gone into the remainder of the home, the kitchen would affect the sale price as it just wasn’t of the same high standard.
After all: KITCHENS SELL HOUSES!
We had decided by this stage to put our home on the market, and move onto our next project. Taking the advice of the agents on board, and wanting to achieve the best sale price for our property, we felt it would be necessary to renovate the kitchen before marketing the property. This however meant borrowing more money, and of course paying for the privilege to do so.
Pulling out the kitchen cabinets that had only been painted a year previously was a stark reminder of yet another source of unnecessary financial waste, due to a LACK OF PLANNING.
Despite the negative financial aspects of going ahead with the kitchen renovation, the final product was worth the effort and cost. The kitchen looked amazing and I in hindsight I doubt we would have been able to sell the property for the amount we did, and in a similar timeframe, had we not undertaken the kitchen upgrade.
"The kitchen became the jewel of the property and it was probably the most delightful aspect of the renovation."
GET YOUR BATHROOMS/WET AREAS RIGHT TOO!
Aside from the kitchen, wet areas are often the most expensive areas of homes to renovate and need proper planning, council approvals and attention to detail.
"Get these right and you will be well on the way to a successful renovation. Get them wrong, and not only may you find yourself significantly out of pocket, a badly designed or executed wet area is a definite turn off for buyers."
Our sad, beige
powder room before its makeover (sorry about the dodgy photo!) But...with a bit of TLC, ahh that's better (see below!).
When inspecting a home with less than impressive wet areas, all a prospective buyer will see is trouble and expense. And they won't be wrong!
Renovating with love,