“Show me the kitchen!”
Ever burst into an open house and shouted this?
OK, you were probably a bit more restrained, but most of us feel this way.
After all, kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most important rooms to home buyers. If a house looks great but has an outdated kitchen, buyers won’t bite.
So if you’re thinking of selling your home sometime in the next few years, a minor kitchen remodel is one of your best investments. According to This Old House, “A kitchen ‘face-lift’ — painting, refinishing surfaces, and upgrading appliances — will return more than a full redesign.” This is especially true here on the West Coast.
West Coast Kitchen Remodeling ROI
Last year, minor kitchen remodels in Oregon, Washington, and California had an ROI of 104%! That’s right, they more than paid for themselves. West Coast kitchen remodels that cost $21,554 had a resale value of $22,336 on average. That’s much higher than the national average of an 83% ROI. (A major kitchen remodel of $120,000 on the West Coast fetched an ROI of about 79%, or $94,400, in 2014.)
In general, spend 5-10% but no more than 20% of your home’s value on a kitchen remodel. Focus on kitchen upgrades that are energy-efficient, reasonably priced, and low-maintenance. For the best ROI, resist luxury options. I’ll tell you what your best bets are below.
Kitchen Upgrades with the Best ROI
Here are the 5 kitchen upgrades that will give you the best ROI:
Appliances: Home buyers can’t get enough of stainless steel appliances. So if you have an old white refrigerator and dishwasher, it’s time to swap them out! Your refrigerator doesn’t need all the trimmings, like an in-door ice and water dispenser, which can be problematic anyway. Stainless steel is excellent to highlight in your house listing and thankfully there are many options out there you will like that fits your price point.
One complaint people sometimes have about stainless steel refrigerators is that they show fingerprints easily, so if this is a sticking point, look for the brushed stainless or “print free” options. Manufacturers also make magnetic stainless steel if you like to post things on your fridge.
Countertops: Natural stone and solid quartz countertops sell! You don’t need the priciest one, either. Almost any solid stone or quartz countertop will be a vast improvement over peeling laminate. Pick a classic neutral that will appeal to a wide range of design sensibilities. Costs range widely, but you may pay $40 to $75 per square foot, depending on thickness. Granite tiles are a cheaper option, but preparing food on a surface with so many seams can be frustrating.
Cabinets: If your cabinets are sturdy but look outdated, consider cabinet refacing. Upgrade to wood cabinet doors and leave the boxes be. Or for the most affordable fix, simply paint the cabinets a bright, fresh white. If you have oak cabinetry, I recommend a dark grey or black instead of white which shows all of the grain patterning. You can pay to fill the grain, but it is more costly. Don’t be tempted to splurge on fancy, quirky drawer pulls. You don’t want to waste money and possibly turn off someone who doesn’t share your style. Again, go with something classic.
Cabinets make up a big chunk of the total cost for kitchen upgrades, sometimes one-third of your total budget. It really depends on how big your kitchen is. Replacing cabinets in a 10×12 kitchen will be much cheaper than one twice that size. If budget is your top concern, use standard cabinets instead of custom.
Flooring: Hardwood floors are ideal. People are consistently wowed by them! They make your kitchen look bigger, and plus, they’re easy to clean. If your kitchen already has hardwood floors but they’re dinged up, have them sanded and refinished. It costs less than you’d think. If you have vinyl flooring, replace it with hardwood if you can afford it. Tile is another top choice for flooring. Laminate, vinyl, and linoleum are among the least popular kitchen floor choices.
Walls: Open floor plans have been highly desirable for years now. If your kitchen is shut off from your living space, consider having a wall knocked down or replaced with a waist-high partition. Of course, you or your remodeler will need to talk to an engineer and electrician. They can tell you if it’s a load-bearing wall and reroute outlets.
Knocking down a wall can also help bring more light into your space and create a breezy, expansive vibe — two things home buyers love. Even a small space benefits from a nice and open look.
If you’re putting your house on the market soon, a minor kitchen remodel can really boost your home’s value. We at Mosaik Design & Remodeling can help you prioritize, recommend updates, select a modern color palette, and more. Give us a call today to talk about the best kitchen upgrades for your home!
Top photo: Dru Bloomfield