By Mike Baird
Over the years, I’ve learned some really surprising things about rehabbing and flipping houses. One of the most interesting things I’ve learned along the way? Kitchens sell houses. Master baths help a lot, too, but nothing sells a house faster than an updated, open, and inviting kitchen. It’s not uncommon to put $30,000 (or more, depending on the after-repair value of the house) into a kitchen renovation. Your kitchen rehabs could be the key to your best real estate deals, so let’s talk about how to make the most of them.
Look at the Kitchen Before You Make the Deal
Before I get into the specific details that can make or break a kitchen rehab, let’s talk about how the kitchen can make or break your deal. If you have the opportunity, always walk through a house before you buy it. Some floor plans don’t allow much room for the kitchen, and there’s not a lot of space to work with.
If you can’t see yourself updating the kitchen and making it a really great asset for the house, you might want to walk away from the deal. A great kitchen can drive the ARV way up on your property but an average kitchen can have the opposite effect. So, whenever you get the chance, always take a good, hard look at the kitchen.
Get Updated But Stay in the Style of the House
First, your buyers are going to want the latest and greatest appliances, and they’re going to want a lot of room to work. That said, they’re also going to want a kitchen that fits with the rest of the house. If you’re working with a mid-century house, ultra-modern cabinets, countertops, and fixtures will feel out of place.
When you choose fixtures, cabinet doors, drawer pulls, and other elements of the kitchen, keep in mind what the rest of the house looks like, and you should stay on the right track.
Keep Colors Neutral and Balanced
Along the same lines, stick to neutral, balanced colors. You want your buyers to be able to see themselves moving into the house, and that’s really hard to do when you deck the kitchen out in your favorite bold, bright colors. Your buyers may decide to paint everything as soon as they move in, anyway, so give them a good canvas to work with that shows off the assets of the kitchen and lets them imagine themselves living and cooking there.
You don’t want the space to look generic and sterile, though. Warm wood tones on the cabinets look great with lighter granite or marble countertops. If you go with a darker countertop, you can choose white or eggshell for the cabinets and drawers to add balance and make the space feel more open.
Remember: This Is Not Your Kitchen
Finally, as you make decisions on which fixtures to use and which upgrades to make, remember that you are not renovating your kitchen at home. You need to base your choices on the style of the home and the neighborhood, as well as what’s popular right now.
That said, when you’re flipping houses, don’t just blindly follow home décor trends. If you do, your buyers will see a house that’s going to be dated and in need of more redecorating and renovations in just a few years. As you select your appliances and fixtures, stick with timeless, neutral pieces that will appeal to the widest audience. These might seem like minor details, but they can result in the best real estate deals for your wallet.