Should You Bother Sprucing Up Your Kitchen When Selling Your House?

Home Stager with Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors, 203.807.4040

We all have heard it – kitchen and bathrooms sell houses! This is widely known, but yet we have received often comments from home sellers such as:


  • The kitchen is so outdated that we would have to put a completely new kitchen in. We’d rather have the home buyer do that and do it to their taste.
  • Updating my kitchen is way too expensive. It is not worth doing it.
  • This is too much work, I don’t want to do it anymore, now that I am moving out.


Here is an example of such a kitchen (before):



What would a home buyer think when seeing a house with an outdated kitchen?


  • This is not livable for me. I will have to immediately update this kitchen before I even move in here.
  • This will cost me $30,000 to $45,000 that I have to immediately spend right after I just made my single most expenditure.
  • How long will it take me to get this fixed. I am not sure I can live in here for that long without having a kitchen. I have kids to feed and to prepare family dinners right away when moving in. Where will I be able to do that when the kitchen is under construction? What is the food take out cost in addition to the renovation cost?
  • This is too much hassle for me. I ‘d rather look for a house with a decent kitchen.
  • If this kitchen is already not well maintained, I assume the rest of the house also has not been updated as well. This house will be a money pit. Let me see the next listing in this market area.


With 92% of home buyers looking online first to decide which properties to visit, it will be hard to get buyers to even come to visit your house if the kitchen does not look updated.


So, should you bother sprucing up your kitchen when selling your house?


The answer is absolutely! In most cases, if your cabinet bones are in decent shape, there are many ways to give your kitchen an updated look without breaking the bank and going through the hassle and expense of installing a completely new kitchen. The goal with updating and staging an outdated kitchen is to show buyers that they can comfortably move into the house without having to immediately replace the kitchen. We want to show buyers that they can move in and live here for quite some time until they have the money to invest into a new kitchen.


Don’t forget that typically the house is a home buyer’s single largest purchase in their lives – it takes them a while to financially recover to be able to invest in major projects such as kitchen updates.


Houses with nice kitchen and updated appliances sell faster and for a higher price. Knowing where to invest in for getting the highest return on investment in a kitchen update is key to the success when preparing a home for sale to sell fast and at the top dollar.


Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors has prepared many kitchen in Fairfield county Connecticut for sale to stand out from the competition and to sell faster. Here are some examples of our before and after kitchen photos:

  kitchen update after Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors

  Kitchen update Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors

  kitchen update in Connecticut Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors


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About the Author: Birgit Anich is the President and Creative Director of Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors one of the most innovative real estate staging and design firms in Fairfield County, CT. Our distinctive approach is creating a lifestyle experience that sells homes fast and at the maximum price. Birgit’s focus is working with home sellers and their real estate agents to prepare their property to appeal to the most likely buyers. As Certified Advanced Stagers, trained by HGTV star Matthew Finlason, Birgit Anich Staging and Interiors transforms a property into a buyer’s dream using Targeted Lifestyle Marketing Techniques.

Birgit also won the most prestegious awards in the Staging Industry - Regional and National Awards of Rookie Stager of the Year by RESA.

Copyright © 2011 Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors, LLC – All Rights Reserved

RESA Rookie Stager  RESA-PRO SAR Advanced Design Specialist

Fairfield County, Connecticut   I   



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Home Selling
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Staging "Before" & "After" Pictures
Advice for Sellers
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kitchen update for selling a house
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Cheryl Ritchie
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
RE/MAX Leading Edge

Wow, those before and after photos are simply stunning samples of your work.

December 28, 2011 12:26 AM
Gabe Sanders
Stuart Florida Real Estate
the BlueWater Realty team specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales

People definitely love new kitchens.  I'm not sure if the cost justify's the return.  Each case must be looked at individually.

December 28, 2011 06:19 AM
Kathy Nielsen
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

These are incredible examples, Birgit. I do a lot of home stagings in Atlanta for investors and all of them focus on the kitchens (as well as master bathrooms) in their remodels. There's a reason for that, as you point out.

Congratulations. Your post is being featured in the group Staging Before and After Pictures.


December 28, 2011 06:35 AM
Janis Borgueta
LIC R.E Salesperson - Homes for Sale Newburgh NY
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley ~ 845-527-7115

I also wondering why buyers expect brand new kitchens with stainless and granite. I think they have become way too spoiled these days. It is impossible for owners to always trenovate a kitcen. You also run into the concept that it may not be something that the new owners wanted. Then they are sad that they have this new kitchen and a higher price and too expensive to renovate the home.

Spruce up a kitchen and make it look pretty.. they sell, but don't do total renovations unless you are planning to enjoy for a while prior to selling

December 28, 2011 07:52 AM
Kevin Vitali
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales

Many times refreshing a kitchen does not need to cost a lot of money.  Painting cabinets, changing hardware and light fixtures, new countertops (and yes they can be formica) and changing flooring.  It does nothave to be a lot of money.  If you have an outdated vinyl floor, the vinyl tiles are 12" by 12" and run about a $1-$2 a piece a 10x12 kitchen floor can be done for $240 and a days worth of work. 

Sometimes with kitchens and baths, just taking the curse of can go a long way.

December 28, 2011 08:25 AM
Michael Setunsky
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA
Michael's Commercial LLC

Brigit, thanks to all those real estate TV shows, buyers have become very finicky. Most sellers cannot afford to remodel a kitchen just to sell the property. Your ideas for upgrading at a minimal cost makes sense.

December 28, 2011 08:40 AM
Kim Boekholder **Results Real Estate**
Broker, Selling Salt Lake Homes
Results Real Estate 801.580.5624

I wanna new kitchen :)   ~   my own kitchen still has outdated cabinets and my hardwood floors in my home need redone... enough about me back to real estate ....  Its tough here, sellers often dont have a penny to put towards selling their home, getting them to clean it and keep it clean is often a challenge and buyers want to walk in and not have to spend a penny..  

Gorgeous examples, I'm going to show my husband the first example, I can't afford to change all of it, but even just the cabinets would be amazing!!!!  

December 28, 2011 08:47 AM
Linda Metallo DiBenardo
Re/max Impact, Lockport, Illinois

This works.  I've seen cabinets go from knotty pine to gorgeous with paint and new hardware. 

December 28, 2011 09:34 AM
Joni Staples
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties
Birgit: Your before and after photographs say it all! Great Job!
December 28, 2011 09:53 AM
Tanya Nouwens
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
RE/MAX Royal (Jordan)/Ready, Set...Sold!
Outstanding work! It's amazing what paint, cabinet handles, and a new backsplash can achieve - for very little expense. Great post.
December 28, 2011 10:41 AM
Rosalie Evans
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale
Meritus Group Real Estate

This is very true in most all situations but there are some exceptions. I do not advocate putting money into a house that you are going to lose money on in the first place. I mean if the house is worth 75k fixed up and you owe 72k and you are contemplating the kitchen thing I don't think I would do it! In most other situations I would be all for it though! Is it not amazing how big of a difference just small changes make. Happy New Year!

December 28, 2011 10:58 AM
Nancy Timberlake
REALTOR - Southern Maine
RE/MAX By The Bay

Sprucing up the kitchen can add a lot of value.  A dreary old-fashioned one usually is a total turnoff for buyers.

December 28, 2011 01:04 PM
Erica Ramus
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA

Love your photos of the before and after. Even a woman who doesn't cook wants a good kitchen.

December 28, 2011 03:52 PM
Lloyd Binen
Silicon Valley R since 1976;408-565-8177
Certified Realty Services

Painting old kitchen cabinets and changing the pulls is an inexpensive way to brighten up a tired kitchen.

December 28, 2011 04:40 PM
Bruce Kunz
REALTOR®, Howell NJ Homes for Sale
Bruce Kunz @ Veltri & Associates, 866-483-5874 x464

Excellent post, Birgit! You only get one chance at a 1st impression. Most of the time now that impression is the pictures online so there is no hiding behind a great landscape or an impressive entry-way.

While a major update it isn't always possible to do, freshening up whatever can be done is certainly better than leaving it for the potential buyers to see as a major project.


December 28, 2011 07:32 PM
Christine Donovan
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Donovan Blatt Realty

Birgit - Your before and after are startling in the dramatic differences.  Part of the issue here is many sellers are already upside down, and many are distressed.

December 28, 2011 11:19 PM
Michelle Finnamore
Preparing your property for sale
in Vaughan and Toronto GTA

HI Birgit, outstanding kitchen in the first selection. Really WOW!!!! I want a kitchen just like that. Paint is truly one of the least expensive things you can do to update a kitchen. Then new hardware. Your post shows this many times over, prepare your house for sale and you will get the type of offer you are looking for and have less days on market.

December 29, 2011 09:08 AM
Birgit Anich
Connecticut Home Stager - Fairfield County, Westchester
Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors, 203.807.4040

OMG - Thank you all for this great response. I am sorry that I am not responding to each of you individually.

A frequent comment was that there are a lot of homes on the market where the families cannot afford even simple changes or have already distressed properties. If families are already completely upside down, even simple changes such as painting the cabinets and replacing outdated hardware can be an expense that they may not be able to carry. However, if possible these are simple inexpensive updates that can go a long way to bring a large return on investment helping sell their house faster and for a higher price, which in further return will help them get out of their current situation faster to be able to start fresh with their new lifes.

December 29, 2011 11:04 AM
Anna Dovger
Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX
Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607

Birgit, beautiful examples. All I can say is that sellers very often just do not want to invest their time. Yes it takes couple of days to paint those dated cabinets and install new hardware. BTW looking at the second set of pictures this SS stove does not impress at all ( it looks like lipstick on the pig), and on the 'after' picture it compliments whole kitchen.

January 10, 2012 10:26 PM
LaNita Cates
REMAX of Joliet

One thing I notice in my area that buyers HATE - when the cabinets are really outdated and the seller puts granite and SS appliances only. Your eye goes to the outdated cabinets. Door handles won't change the outdated look either!

April 06, 2012 05:09 PM
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Birgit Anich

Connecticut Home Stager - Fairfield County, Westchester
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