This past month has been crazy busy. I’ve been out in California getting our condo ready to sell. Good news…under contract in the first week with 7 competing offers and quite a bit over asking price! Woo Hoo! So I thought it would be fun to share my Top 5 Tips for Staging Your Kitchen to Sell. These are the same tips I use to tell my clients when I had my home staging business. After all, a great looking kitchen will make buyers happy so it’s of utmost importance to make your kitchen look great!
I realize (in my opinion) our kitchen was pretty damn fantastic to begin with. We remodeled it so I had something good to start with. Just as a reminder…here’s what it looked like when we bought the place. No wonder it sat on the market for several months! UGLY
First thing I would tell my clients is living in a property and selling a property are two different animals. It’s not fun, and, yes, it’s quite uncomfortable to live in a staged home. I’m not going to say it isn’t. Counters tend to get cluttered. Keeping it spotless is a pain in the butt. But if your property is priced right and looks fantastic, you should only have to be a bit inconvenienced for a very short time. Besides, just remember the goal… SELL, SELL, SELL. You’ll be moving anyways, so now is a good time to purge and start packing!
Follow my Top 5 tips for staging your kitchen to sell and you’ll be well on your way to making your kitchen look the best it possibly can. Buyers will notice!
1. Clean, clean, and then clean some more
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a sparkling clean kitchen. Scrub everything! Wipe out the drawers (you know they’ve collected crumbs and crap). Make your oven and stove shine. Wipe your cabinets – they do get greasy and dirty. If you have stainless appliances, be sure they’re polished and have no fingerprints. Make sure the garbage is removed and there’s no lingering odors. I like to cut up a lemon and run it through the garbage disposal prior to showing. Makes it smell fresh and clean. And please, do not leave any dirty dishes in the sink. Make sure you’ve run the dishwasher and it’s empty. No one wants to look in the dishwasher and see dirty dishes. Wipe down and clean out the refrigerator while you’re at it. If you have tile counters, make sure the grout it clean.
TIP: Sprinkle baking soda over grout, fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray vinegar over grout. Scrub with a brush and wipe it up. You’ll be surprised at how well it cleans.
And don’t forget the floor! Clean it. Remove excess rugs. One is okay but not more than that scattered around. While you’re in the cleaning mode, take a look at your kitchen window and give it a good cleaning too!
2. Purge and organize your cupboards
Don’t neglect the inside of your cupboards and drawers. If they’re chock full of stuff you’re sending a message to the buyer you don’t have enough storage space. Definitely not a good thing! Start packing up all the items you won’t need on a daily basis. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to organize the pantry. Make those shelves look like grocery store shelves! I’m sure, if you’re like me, you probably have some expired pantry items. Now’s a good time to toss them out. If you have random bags of items like rice, beans, spice mixes, etc., try corralling them up in a basket. Baskets and containers make everything feel more organized, unified and clean.
3. Declutter, declutter, declutter
Decluttering is probably one of the hardest aspects of staging for sellers. It’s hard to put away all the “stuff” you’re so use to seeing on a daily basis. But remember, a buyer doesn’t care about your cute kitchen collections. They don’t want to see all your school schedules or refrigerator magnet collection. Do you have a bunch of silk plants living above your cabinets? Time to get rid of them (they’re probably dusty anyways). Pack up your countertop appliances. Countertop appliances eat up counter space. Not a good thing especially if you have limited counter space. Even if you have a lot of counter space like I do, the last thing you need is a counter full of toasters (or toaster ovens), blenders, microwaves, baskets full of papers, etc. My recommendation is typically no more than one appliance on your counter. For me, it’s the coffee maker. Can’t go a morning without it. If you don’t have a built-in microwave, put it away. They are large and ugly and just advertise that you don’t have a built-in microwave. We had a small counter top microwave which I put in a cabinet for showing. Makes the space around the stove more open.
Here’s an example of one side of our kitchen… first, how it looked before I cleared out some of the clutter:
And here’s how it looked for pictures and showing. Note…I recommend not having knives on the counter for safety reasons. I put them in the cupboard when I was showing the place, but forgot to remove them for the picture. Oops!
The easiest way to start the process of decluttering is to completely clear off your counters, then only put back a few decorative items to fill in and soften the corners or a long expanse of countertop.
4. Accessorize with items that make sense in a kitchen
Once you’ve decluttered your countertops, it’s time to add some pizzaz. You don’t want to leave the counters completely empty. How boring! Decorative canisters, herbs, bowl of fruit, pretty cookbooks, new tea towels, etc., (items you would typically find in a kitchen) make for nice decor. If you need all those papers and schedules handy, find a nice basket or box with a lid to hide them in.
Here’s the items I used in this kitchen for decoration:
A fresh coat of paint in the kitchen is a quick and easy way to refresh the space. Also, consider replacing outdated light fixtures, old kitchen faucets and cabinet hardware. Those are relatively inexpensive fixes that will bring maximum appeal and make the kitchen feel fresh and new.
So there you go, my Top 5 Tips for Staging Your Kitchen to Sell. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to putting that sold sign out front. And what a great feeling that is! Have you staged a house to sell before? Let me know in the comments what some of your best tips are. I’d love to hear from you.