Insider Tips to Stage A Kitchen

Staging Your Kitchen Hot staging tips to make it sizzleWhen it comes time to sell your home usually the kitchen is the room that gets the most scrutiny from home buyers.    Staging your kitchen can help you maximize your profits from the sale of your home.

Think about it.  The kitchen will get so much attention from home buyers for two reasons.

First, a kitchen is the most costly area of the home to remodel.

Secondly, for many, the kitchen is the heart of the home.  When buying a new home, buyers want to love their kitchen.  Staging your kitchen is so important in maximizing every dollar on your home sale.

Your kitchen may be outdated and need some minor remodeling to attract a buyer’s attention or it is recently remodeled and could just use some light staging.

If your home’s kitchen needs remodeling the choice is to sell your home as-is or remodel the kitchen.

But maybe you don’t have the funds to remodel your kitchen or financially it doesn’t make sense.  Help the buyers see the sizzle in your kitchen.  I will give you a bunch of insider tips to stage a kitchen, no matter the circumstances.

The Absolute Must Do’s When You Stage A Kitchen

Regardless of the state of your kitchen, you need to do the following, period.

Prepare and stage your kitchen for maximum appeal

Clean Your Kitchen

Clean every nook and cranny, drawers inside, the refrigerator, the cabinets windows and sliders, etc… When your done clean it again.

It needs to sparkle when you stage a kitchen.  Clean like your life depended on it.

Sparkling clean will impress most buyers no matter what your kitchen is like.

Declutter Your Kitchen

There should not be much on your counters when you are done.  Get rid of most of the items on your countertops. You want to show your buyers there is plenty of workspaces and let them see the finish of the countertop, the appliances that come with the sale and the cabinets.  Leave only a few items on the counter that are clean and in great shape.

Also, remember to pull everything off your refrigerator and clean up the desk area of your kitchen (If you have one).

Don’t forget to de-clutter the inside of your cabinets and refrigerator as well as organize them.

Depersonalize and Neutralize Your Kitchen

If you have a highly personal color choice in your kitchen consider repainting to a neutral color.  Remove items that are highly personal like family photos, highly stylized artwork and decor.  Its not your kitchen anymore.  Take out anything that makes your kitchen yours.

When you depersonalize your living spaces it help buyers see it as their own and not yours.

Secrets From The Professionals When Staging Your Kitchen

Here are a few home staging secrets the professional stagers use when it comes time to stage your kitchen.

1-Remove all rugs and floor coverings-

What you stage a kitchen, remember to show off your flooring. The flooring is what you are selling not your throw rugs, especially if you have current tile or hardwoods.

Area and throw rugs can distract home buyers from seeing the flooring below. I would rather see the potential of beat-up hardwood floors then see your area rug when I am showing a house.  Hardwoods can be sanded and refinished… show them off.

2- Get rid of the curtains and drapes-

Lighten up your kitchen with natural light.  Remove any curtains or valances that block the natural light when you stage a kitchen.

Light, light, light.  The more natural light in a kitchen the better.

Curtains and drapes can be highly personal as well, if you feel the need to have curtains use natural sheers.

3- Light it up!

Replace all of your bulbs with the same color temperature bulbs and if possible increase the wattage.  Consider adding under counter lights. If that is a major project buy some small countertop lamps to light up the dark corners.

Even small battery operated puck lighting will do the trick under the cabinets.  This means make sure the light under the microwave is working as well!!

4- Remove unnecessary furniture-

Staging a kitchen, or any room for that matter means opening up spaces and creating flow.  Get rid of unnecessary hutches, sideboards, roll-around carts, etc…  that don’t add to the functionality of the kitchen and are not included in the sale.

5- Be ultra-sensitive to kitchen odors-

Be aware of kitchen odors because your home buyers will.

A good thorough, cleaning should take care of lingering odors.  But, be careful of what you are cooking while you are in the process of showing your property.

Avoid masking an odor with artificial smells.  It only tips off a buyer that you are hiding an unwanted smell.

6- Clear The Counters-

Staging Your Kitchen

Simple Upgrades to Help Stage Your Kitchen

While often it is not worth doing a major kitchen remodel small upgrades can drastically improve your kitchens appearance.  Always discuss with your agent what may be worth doing.  Often, a 20-30k kitchen remodel may not be worth it but a $3000- $5000 sprucing up could have big returns!!

In the graphic above the pictured condominium located in Haverhill MA, flew off the market because of the kitchen remodel.  The cabinets and reworking the plumbing and electric is what can get prohibitively expensive.  Yet, this homeowner worked with the old cabinets and did everything else around the cabinets.  This remodel definitely returned more than the cost of the rehab.

  1. Change out fixtures-  If your faucets and lighting are outdated, consider replacing with modern fixtures that appeal to today’s buyers.  Consider buying lighting fixtures for your kitchen at Home Depot.
  2. Update cabinet hardware-  Get rid of your old knobs and pulls as well as hinges with a more modern look.  Brushed nickel hardware is now the choice of home buyers.  Just make sure you aren’t leaving holes showing from the old hardware.
  3. Fresh paint-  We mentioned this before but nothing has a better return on investment than paint!  If your paint needs freshening or you have a highly personalized color its time for a fresh coat or two.  And don’t forget the ceiling.
  4. New Appliances-  Depending on your budget and price point new appliances can help give a fresh new look to a kitchen. If you think its time for new appliances, a Four piece stainless sets can be purchased for as little as $2000 dollars from Sears.
  5. New counter tops- Replacing counter tops could definitely give your homes kitchen a face lift if the counter is so outdated it is a distraction. Just do formica if the cabinets are not current as well.  The new owner will probably have plans to remodel in the future.  The idea is to show possibilities.  It is also possible to refinish the counter tops as well. See the link below to see what can be done by a professional.
  6. New Flooring-  Do you have an old 70-80 ceramic tile or linoleum. Replace the linoleum it is cheap!! Ceramic tile poses more of an issue.  you can possibly go over it with linoleum if it is flush if not you could use a leveler than linoleum.  Consider refinishing the ceramic tile in your kitchen! Yep, refinishing it could save you 50% the cost of ripping out and installing. If you are a DIY you could possible paint them yourselves.
  7. Paint your cabinets-  Are your cabinets still serviceable in good shape but outdated?  Consider a quality paint job.  Painting your cabinets yourself can be done for $500-1000,  while a tedious task, it could well be worth the money and time involved.

Remember preparing and staging your home is not about decorating.  It is about “merchandising” your home to give it the most appeal to the broadest segment of buyers.

Final Thoughts on Staging Your Homes Kitchen

I always enter and head straight to the kitchen when showing homes to a client.  For most of my buyers this is a critical room in the house.  A few $100 to a few $1000 dollars spent in preparing and staging your kitchen could have massive returns.

Often a little spit and polish could make a “absolutely not” kitchen to an “I can live with this” kitchen.

Work with closely with your agent or better yet, home stager before spending money on preparing and staging your kitchen.  Different price points and the state of the real estate market will dictate what you may or may not have to do to your kitchen to make it one buyer’s can love.

Other Home Selling Resources:

This post, Staging Your Kitchen for Maximum Profits, was provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate of Tewksbury MA.  If you are thinking of buying or selling, Kevin is happy to answer any of your questions  and can be reached at 978-360-0422 at anytime.

Real Estate Services in the following areas: Northeast Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Metrowest. Including the following communities and the surrounding area- Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland, Haverhill, Lowell, Melrose, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Wilmington, Westford