Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Some people will insist that it makes no sense to remodel before you sell. Others will tell you those ugly cabinets are sure to drive down buyer interest. When you’re dealing with big life decisions, everybody has an opinion, but should you remodel your kitchen before selling?
You don’t need to remodel your kitchen before selling as the additional value it adds to your house will generally be less than what you invest. The bigger your kitchen remodeling is, the more money you’re likely to lose. Other factors come into play, and it ultimately depends on your preference.
This article will discuss the typical costs of kitchen remodeling, the pros, and cons of remodeling before putting your house on the market, and other factors you should consider before deciding whether you should remodel your kitchen before selling.
How Much Does Remodeling Your Kitchen Cost?
According to Home Depot, the average cost of remodeling a kitchen ranges from $24,000 for minor renovations up to $136,000 for an upscale remodel. Home remodeling is expensive, and kitchen renovations are among the most costly.
Kitchen renovations have plumbing, electrical and mechanical issues that you don’t run into when remodeling a basement or bedroom.
If you are handy with tools, you can save some money on kitchen remodeling by doing the work yourself. But don’t overestimate your skill. Working near electrical lines and water pipes means one small slipup could cause damage requiring expensive technicians — or hospital bills!
Does Kitchen Remodeling Make Homes Easier To Sell?
A remodeled kitchen with fresh paint, cabinets, and appliances attracts more interest than an outdated, shabby, or non-functional kitchen. According to the 2018 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, 58% of homebuyers said the kitchen played a very important role in their buying decision.
Keep in mind, however, that many buyers have remodeling dreams of their own. So while you should get your kitchen up to code and replace any non-functioning appliances or gross cosmetic damage, you may want to be careful about building your ideal kitchen for a seller with different ideals.
Does Kitchen Remodeling Increase Home Sale Value?
Remodeling your kitchen increases home sale value. According to Remodeling Magazine, in 2021, minor kitchen renovations like replacing appliances, repainting, countertop upgrades, and new flooring typically recouped 72.2% of their cost in the home’s resale value.
So you can expect $30,000 in kitchen upgrades to earn you an extra $21,660 at the closing.
However, only rarely do home sellers see a 100% return on their remodeling investment. Of course, remodeling may make your kitchen more attractive to buyers. Still, the final impact on the bottom line will ultimately be less than the time and money you put into the remodeling project.
How Much Should Your Remodel Your Kitchen Before Selling?
Little remodeling kitchen projects before selling are more cost-effective than big ones. Remodeling’s 2021 study found that the average major kitchen renovation project recouped just $43,364 of its $75,571 costs (57.4%). Upscale kitchens did even worse.
The average $149,079 upscale kitchen renovation added $80,284 in home value (53.7%).
While big kitchen remodeling investments generally lose money, there are a few inexpensive things you can do to make your kitchen more attractive.
Repaint Your Kitchen in Light Neutral Tones – Light tones make spaces appear larger and brighter. Neutral tones allow prospective buyers to envision your kitchen in the colors of their choice. Your canary yellow kitchen may look sunny, but 98% of top real estate agents say buyers prefer neutral colors. Repainting your kitchen is one of the most inexpensive ways to change the room’s entire look.
Replace Worn Flooring – If your linoleum has seen better days, new flooring may change your kitchen’s atmosphere from seedy to charming. According to Vevano Home, getting new tile installed on a 200 square foot (18.6 square meters) floor will run between $1,600 for ceramic to $2,800 or more for stone. Estimated costs of a new vinyl floor range between $800 and $1,000.
Update the Lights – Replacing your old light fixtures with new lights can make everything else in your kitchen look more modern. Installing ceiling lights is not dangerous so long as you make sure to turn the power out first. If you’re not sure how to do that, hire an electrician to replace your old light fixtures for you.
Refresh Your Cabinets – Getting a whole new set of cabinets costs money. Cabinet pulls are inexpensive and can add a touch of personality to your kitchen. While you have the cabinet pulls removed, think about repainting. White or soft gray shades will make your cabinets look clean and new without making them stand out too much.
Is It Worth Remodeling Your Kitchen Before You Sell?
While it is generally not worth remodeling a kitchen immediately before you sell a house, other personal factors can come into play.
How Long Will You Be Living in the House? If your house is empty and on the market, you are probably best leaving the kitchen as it is. If you are planning to sell the house after your middle schooler goes off to college, you may want to remodel your kitchen and other areas in the meantime. The same holds if you want to sell your house because you hate your kitchen layout.
What Is Your Kitchen’s Condition? If everything in your kitchen functions smoothly and all your cabinets and appliances are clean and reasonably new, remodeling will probably be more expense and trouble than it is worth. So save your remodeling dreams for your new house, where you will have more time to enjoy them.
If you have a noisy refrigerator, a rusty stove, or cracked plaster, you may want to take care of those problems. However, unless you sell your house as a teardown, you want it to look at least presentable and reasonably maintained.
Selling your house is a big decision, and so is remodeling your kitchen. When you are trying to decide on both things at once, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Now that you know a little more about the costs and benefits of remodeling your kitchen before selling, you can relax and make an informed decision.
- Home Depot: How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade a Kitchen
- Homelight: What Colors to Use for Home Staging
- Remodeling: Cost vs. Value 2021
- Vevano Home: Cost to Replace Kitchen Floor
- Zillow: Kitchen Remodel Return on Investment for Sellers
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