The Family Hub: How Kitchen Upgrades Affect Your Return on Investment

By Keith Loria

Real estate experts and studies all indicate that kitchens are one of the most popular rooms that home sellers put money into renovating before putting their house on the market. The reason is simple - because it works.

Beyond cooking and mealtime, kitchens have become a space that today’s homeowners use for many other purposes, which adds more pressure to the culinary zone to perform double or triple duty as the home’s primary living space.

“Flexibility is a must in open areas that are used not only for cooking, but also dining, entertaining, homework, family time, and even telecommuting,” said Roger Sweet, a homebuilder in Coral Gables, Fla. “Today’s families spend more time in the kitchen than any other place in the house; talking and sharing the events of the day as they converse over a family meal.”

It’s no wonder the kitchen is considered the heart of the home—and people often use their hearts to make a buying decision.

To maximize your home’s value and speed at which it sells, investing in your kitchen can go a long way. You don’t need to spend a small fortune on your kitchen remodeling project, but it’s important to be sure that it’s visually appealing to potential buyers so they can imagine their own family events in the space.

“Work with what you’ve got. Don’t fall for the ‘gotta have it’ mentality and feel obligated to cram certain features into a kitchen space that can’t accommodate them,” said Ed Kaplan, a designer with Tulsa, Ok.-based The Buckingham Group. “Be mindful of the room dimensions. If the kitchen is a skinny one, a peninsula may work better than an island, and a thoughtfully appointed pantry with French doors will feel less cramped than a walk-in.”

Maximize all available spaces with pullout shelves, racks, and drawers that are easy to access—preferably at the point of use when possible.

One simple fix is to add color with backsplash. By design, the purpose of backsplash is to protect your kitchen walls from water, oil and other elements, but it also can add so much visually. An attractive backsplash will give your kitchen a more elegant, refined look, and whether your kitchen is decorated in traditional, country, modern or cottage, a backsplash will accentuate whatever look you are aiming for.

Forget the old phrase “everything but the kitchen sink” because that’s one area that you will want to improve upon. While it may not be necessary to replace the whole sink, adding opulent and eye-catching faucets is a great way to get someone interested. After all, the sink is usually the most used area in the kitchen and one that you will want to make sure is as attractive as the rest of the room.

Since cabinets are usually the first thing that people see when they walk in a kitchen, it’s one of the areas that should be replaced or restored if they aren’t looking top notch. A simple solution is to just paint them, but you could also resurface or reface the cabinets, or replace them entirely. If you’re going this route, adding pullout drawers, a lazy Susan in corner units and adjustable shelves will improve the functionality of the kitchen and keep things better organized.

Kitchen remodeling can also include new furniture such as breakfast nook tables and chairs, island carts or bar stools.

“It isn’t wise for homeowners to spend beyond their means, but if you can value engineer or trim costs and put a little more toward the area of the home that resonates, do it. A small thing of beauty or a tiny indulgence can have an amazing psychological impact in a time of recession,” said Kaplan. “Perhaps it’s a small wine fridge, vintage drawer pulls, or a reclaimed wide plank wood floor. The kitchen with a little dash of character is more likely to sell than the one with the plain Jane scheme that takes no risks at all.”

For more kitchen remodeling ideas or any information on how to improve the value of your home, contact our office today.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.