Courtney Warren is a Texas-based interior designer whose work has been featured in Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Apartment Therapy, and Today.com. She is a frequent consultant on Fox 4 TV’s Good Day program in Dallas, was ranked in the top 3 percent of interior designers in the US by Houzz.com, and starred in the Dallas episode of TLC’sFour Houses. She delights in helping overwhelmed clients create beautiful spaces—and will never turn down a warm chocolate chip cookie or Diet Dr Pepper.
The housing market is crazy! If you’re getting ready to sell your home, renovation decisions should be smart ones that will sell your home quickly and bring the best price. I’m here to help you!
Last time I gave you some tips for refreshing your home in general: fresh paint, updated lighting and new flooring where needed. Today let’s focus on the two areas in your home that give the best return on your improvement dollars: kitchens and bathrooms.
Presumably you’ve already refreshed your paint. If your kitchen and bath are newer but just need some lipstick, simply replace your faucets and cabinet pulls! It’s amazing what these small changes can do to modernize and add personality and continuity to those very important kitchens and baths.
Remember, we’re talking cost-effective renovations, so skip the voice-activated faucet and $100 hand-painted draw pulls. Just as with lighting changes, there are nice, moderately priced faucet sets and cabinet hardware out there that will go a looooong way toward an updated look.
Most home buyers are scared to death of a reno, so spare them the panic and make them fall in love with your home by updating your bathroom(s) before selling. A nice bathroom adds to your home’s value, but most importantly, it will get your home on the short list of every buyer who walks through.
A minor bath remodel will give the best bang-for-your-buck return. The key to cost containment: leave plumbing where it is! By saving the footprint but updating vanity, countertop, tile and fixtures, you’ll get maximum impact and most money at resale. Dated tile and fixtures are a big turnoff to buyers groomed by home shows to expect better.
BTW, if you still have pink fixtures, you probably should have remodeled long ago! Definitely do it now!
Finishes are important. When planning to sell your home, avoid overdone trends, and choose moderately priced (not “cheap”) materials that are classic and neutral. For example, a marble-lookalike slab porcelain tile is an affordable option with high buyer appeal. If you’re replacing tile anyway, this may be the opportunity to kill the dated jacuzzi tub and replace it with that highly coveted freestanding soaker tub. Potential buyers will swoon!
Simple but effective bath tip: ditch builder grade sheet mirrors! At the very least, frame them with wood trim. Better yet, though, replace with individual framed mirrors.
If you have the resources to create a truly spa-like bathroom (especially if your home is in a coveted area) you’ll find buyers willing to pay top dollar for a luxurious bathroom. In that case, go for the freestanding soaker tub, curbless shower and heated floors!
It’s not just realtor lingo–kitchens do sell homes. So money for even a minor kitchen remodel will always be well spent. Update paint, countertops and backsplash, as well as the aforementioned cabinet hardware. Newer appliances always show well, but even if they are not quite new, make sure they all match.
As with a smaller scale bath remodel, the key to affordability is leaving your kitchen footprint as is. Unless the layout is totally dysfunctional, you’ll save big time by simply replacing your worn and outdated finishes with new.
If your cabinets are in decent shape and the door style is not too dated, clean them thoroughly and have them expertly spray painted. Send laminate countertops to the dumpster and bring in today’s materials, like quartz or stone. Buyers are looking for fresh, light, and easy care counters. Finish off with a new backsplash. If you’re a fairly handy weekend warrior, you may be able to accomplish this yourself using cost-effective tile. Pull up the YouTube videos! If not, it’s a pretty affordable hired job.
Vinyl flooring in your kitchen? That’s a no no. Must. Pitch.
If you have a simple transition to nearby rooms, tile the floor instead with an updated version like patterned cement tile.
If you have a tile floor that’s maybe not your first choice but OK, you may be able to de-emphasize it with a spiffy runner.
Help potential buyers envision themselves in your home by showing them the versatility of main areas. For example, a breakfast nook near the kitchen can transition to a workspace.
“I have too much kitchen storage” said no homeowner EVER. Take advantage of every square inch in a kitchen by adding open shelving or a rolling island. You may be able to extend your cabinets to the ceiling and unify with paint. Possibly steal space from an adjacent room to add a pantry.
At the very least, make your kitchen live large in your buyer’s eyes by adding organizational helps like wire risers or drawer units inside cabinets and pantry. Stylish dowel pegboards can expand storage up the wall. Hooks inside cabinet doors make the most of unused real estate. Stage the storage to show functionality.
Very important: when readying your home to show to buyers, PARE DOWN your stuff! When you overstuff your cabinets and closets it creates the impression that your home has too little storage. Make your home appear to have MORE space by storing less.
If you’d like some help making any of these renos a reality, let’s talk!
I’m such a big fan of the two-tone cabinetry. My kitchen would be my top priority if I were buying/selling. I’m not in that market right now, but this still makes me want a fresh cabinet refinish. These are such good ideas! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Hazel. I am SO glad you found them helpful!