When you find yourself in the position of either wanting to sell your home or needing to sell your home sometimes you don’t have the luxury of time or the financial ability to prepare your home in some of the ways that I mentioned in Making Repairs. If that is the case then there are two rooms that you can concentrate on that CAN help you sell your home…the kitchen and bathroom. In most cases, with a little investment, you can transform these two areas into the selling points of your home. They should look as modern, bright, and fresh as possible. It is essential for them to be clean and odor free. Let’s take a look at both:
Step back and take a look at your kitchen. What do you see? You probably see a kitchen that is functional for your family with all the usual kitchen “stuff” laid out on the counters, some of which you use daily like a toaster or a coffee machine, and some that you only use occasionally like a blender. You probably have your sugar bowl, salt & pepper shakers, and your flour, sugar, coffee, tea containers plus some other “stuff” that you leave out just for the sake of convenience. Look in your cabinets, do you keep two sets of dishes so you’ll have enough for family during the holidays? Do you have a whole shelf full of drinking glasses and another with mugs? Or how about a whole cabinet dedicated to every plastic container known to mankind? Guess what? You’re normal, but, when selling your home you want to promote an image of spaciousness to the prospective homebuyer who views your kitchen and who is trying to create a mental picture of how their “stuff” is going look in your kitchen. So let’s start with the clutter. If you haven’t read the section on how to Remove The Clutter, do so now.
A fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling is a great investment that is not very expensive. Remember to pick a light color to help the kitchen appear bright and spacious. Most of the time this is just a one day job, two, if it needs a second coat.
Next is cleaning. Start with the overhead cabinets since they are the highest. If your cabinets are made of melamine, all you’ll need is a regular household cleaner. If they are white, be sure to clean them frequently while your home is for sale. If your cabinets are a wood finish, run down to your local home center and get a cleaner specifically made for wood cabinets. While your there, pick up a bottle or Liquid Gold or lemon oil to help put the “sheen” back in the wood.
How about your kitchen lighting? If you have overhead fluorescent lights with plastic translucent panels, take the panels down and clean them. This should also help brighten up your kitchen. Clean your lower cabinets as you did the overhead ones. If your drawers and cabinet shelves have a melamine finish clean those as you would the cabinets. If they are made of wood and you haven’t done so yet, consider laying down contact paper. There are many attractive patterns and they give the drawers and shelves a much cleaner look. If you already have contact paper, clean it.
Now that you have the counters clutter-free, we can start on those. If you have tile you can use any number of grout cleaners. If the grout is colored, beware, they can turn the grout white so you may have to scrub the grout if it is colored. All others, clean with a good household cleaner. How about those appliances? Clean all your appliances, the hardest of course being the stove. Clean it in and out including the knobs.
Lastly would be the floors. You should purchase the kind of cleaner that is compatible with your flooring type. If it’s linoleum, a household cleaner will usually do and if it’s tile, purchase tile cleaner. If your flooring is linoleum and in poor condition, consider replacing it as it is also one of those items that is relatively inexpensive compared to the return in appeal that it will bring. If you have tile or wood flooring, replacing either would be expensive and probably would not be worth the cost involved. If it’s just a small area, try to repair it, otherwise leave it.
Generally bathrooms usually only require a good cleaning and a coat of paint to spruce them up. As with the kitchen, start removing the clutter. Begin by emptying out all of the things under the cabinet that are really there just for storage purposes and not used on a daily basis. Next, put all the clutter on the counter in the newly created space down below leaving only a few decorative items, space permitting. Most walls in bathrooms are painted with an enamel paint, so if they are still in good condition you may just need to clean them with the appropriate household cleaner.
The same is true of the cabinet, if the paint is in good condition, just clean them. If the cabinet is wood grain, clean it with a cleaner specifically for wood finishes. If your countertop or cabinet is in poor condition, you may consider replacing them. Most home centers usually have a great selection of types and sizes available for very reasonable prices. Keep the countertop and mirror(s) as clean as you possibly can.