Deep Clean from Top to Bottom

A spotless, shiny kitchen will get buyers’ attention and appreciation from the moment they walk in. Scrub down cabinets, clear out drawers, sanitize appliances, and make sure every nook and cranny sparkles. Pay special attention to:

  • Countertops: Remove stains and shine up surfaces.
  • Floors: Scrub away grime buildup and reseal if needed.
  • Sinks: Make stainless steel gleam and remove hard water stains.
  • Appliances: Degrease and polish to look like new.

First impressions matter – don’t let dirt and grime detract buyers from seeing your kitchen’s potential!

Update Hardware for a Modern Look

Replacing dated hardware like cabinet knobs and pulls or faucets and fixtures is an easy upgrade that goes a long way. Opt for brushed metals and sleek, simple designs to give your kitchen a fresh, contemporary style that appeals to buyers. Stay away from ornate or colored hardware that could seem outdated.

PaintCabinets for Instant Renewal

Nothing updates tired cabinets like a new coat of paint in a neutral tone. White and gray painted cabinets look light and airy, making small kitchens appear more spacious. Use a high-quality primer and cabinet paint to avoid chipping or yellowing over time. Update hinges and handles while you’re at it. Painting cabinets is inexpensive but delivers a dramatic change.

Upgrade Countertops

Countertops take a lot of abuse over the years. Chips, cracks, or outdated materials like laminate can make buyers want to redo the whole kitchen. If your budget allows, replace worn or dated countertops with popular neutral options like quartz or granite. Clean lines and mix of materials also add value. Even less expensive solutions like butcher block or concrete finishes look fresh and appealing.

Update Backsplash

Like countertops, backsplashes show signs of wear over time. Cracked or missing grout, or out-of-fashion materials like 70s brick or fruit wallpaper could turn buyers off. Simple subway tile or neutral stone like marble are great options. Or go bold with handmade or geometric designs. Just keep colors neutral. Adding a backsplash is inexpensive and easy for a major style impact.

Stage for Buyers to Picture themselves

Declutter completely so buyers can imagine themselves living in the space. Remove small appliances, kitchenware, and magnets from the fridge. Store non-essentials, leaving just a few key items like a cutting board and flowers out. Clean off the fridge. Add a few baskets or containers in neutral tones to keep a tidy look. Make the kitchen feel open, light and ready for the next family.

Improve Lighting

Proper lighting shows off the kitchen at its best. Increase wattage in existing fixtures and add stylish new pendant lights over islands or bars. Under-cabinet lighting brightens up workspaces nicely. The goal is to make the kitchen as bright and airy as possible. Buyers are drawn to light and turned off by dark gloomy kitchens.

Address Functional Concerns

While cosmetic fixes are important, addressing function is critical too. Fix leaky faucets, improve storage solutions, repair broken appliances and update electrical outlets if needed. Test appliances thoroughly and leave manuals. Fix any issues, no matter how small, so buyers don’t get turned off by potential headaches.

With a top-to-bottom deep clean, some strategic updates, decluttering and staging, you can get your kitchen into prime selling condition. A kitchen in move-in ready shape makes buyers eager to say yes! Consult a real estate agent for tips to maximize your specific kitchen’s resale value. With the right prep, your kitchen can be the shining star that seals the home sale deal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I budget to prep my kitchen for resale?

The amount you should budget varies greatly based on what needs to be done in your specific kitchen. Cosmetic improvements like painting cabinets, updating backsplash and hardware could run just a few thousand dollars. But if your kitchen needs functional repairs and new countertops or appliances, you may need to budget $10,000 or more. Consult a realtor to identify the top 1 or 2 things to fix to get the most ROI.

Should I remodel my kitchen before listing my home?

Not necessarily. Minor updates are advisable, but a full remodel is not always worth the upfront cost. Simple fixes like new hardware and a coat of paint often have the biggest impact for the lowest cost. Save major overhauls for buyers to undertake themselves.

What are the most important things to update in a resale kitchen?

Focus on updates that are within your budget but make the biggest visual impact, like painting cabinets, new hardware, updated lighting and backsplash. Also address any functional issues like leaky faucets or broken appliances so your kitchen is move-in ready.

How can I make my small or dated kitchen more appealing?

Brightening dark kitchens makes a huge difference. Paint cabinets white, replace dated floors, add under-cabinet lighting and pendant lights over key work areas. Take doors off corner cabinets for a more open feel. Add mirrors to double light and give the illusion of space. Focus on making the kitchen shine!

Should I replace kitchen appliances before selling?

Not necessarily. Well-functioning stainless, black or white appliances in good condition appeal to buyers. But very outdated appliances like avocado green or harvest gold should be replaced if possible. Try to avoid selling a home with non-working appliances. If your kitchen has nice cabinetry and countertops, minor appliance updates is likely all you need.


Preparing your kitchen for a successful sale doesn’t require a total renovation. Strategically update the elements that make the biggest visual impact for the cost. A super clean space staged for buyers will get lots of appreciation. Address any functional issues so your kitchen is 100% move-in ready. With smart prep work, you can showcase your kitchen’s best features and help buyers see its full potential when they walk through your front door.