Make your kitchen sizzle when selling your home.
It's often described as the heart of a home so the kitchen merits plenty of attention when staging your house, beginning with the key ingredient: cleanliness.
From appliances that sparkle to counter tops free of clutter, real estate stagers dish on what prospective buyers find appetizing.
"Cleanliness is paramount," says Ron Sowden of Dekora, a home staging company with offices in Vancouver, B.C. and Calgary, Alta. "If you cook, kitchens for the most part are grease factories." Pay attention to cook tops, range hoods and fans. Give worn and dates cabinets a face-lift. "A little sandpaper and a good coat of paint in a neutral colour like an off white, cream or whatever's appropriate for the space can almost make it look like a new kitchen," Sowden says.
The same is true of replacing tired hardware with knobs and pulls in a brushed nickel or chrome finish. Both are easy and inexpensive DIY projects.
Whether yours is a large or small kitchen, it's important to show usable counter space, which is often at a premium. "Clear counter tops of most items, including small appliances, knife blocks and utensil jars," says Allison Roberts of Burloak Home Staging and Design in Burlington, Ont.
One or two appliances - a nice-looking coffee maker or espresso machine - are exceptions but don't overdo it. "What you have on show should be good looking. If it's dated or worn, clear it away," says Sowden.
But, don't simply transfer those items to cabinets that are already full. "Pack away things that aren't' used regularly to accommodate the items usually on your counter top," says Roberts. "If cabinets are full, potential home buyers may think the kitchen doesn't have enough storage space."
As an added benefit, you ay be surprised to discover how many items have expiered or are close to expiry in your pantry. Ensure cabinet interiors are free of stains left by oils and spices. "Clean interiors suggest a home has been well maintained If you're diligent right down to that detail, you've probably looked after a lot of other details," she says.
Ensure appliances are cleaned to a sparkle inside and out. "Make sure fridges are clean and there's no mystery stuff sitting in the vegetable crisper turning into an alternate species," says Sowden.
Fridges often serve as children's art galleries or your family's management centre with calendars and white boards. "Clear them of everything - front, sides and top. Nobody needs to know your schedule or how well your children did in that recent soccer game," says Roberts.
"It's distracting and prospective buyers may even feel like they're invading your personal ife. It's also a great opportunity to show off an appliance that's in good condition.
Don't tuck things like oversized serving trays, mops and brooms behind the fridge because people think there isn't enough room in the broom closet.
Don't overlook the sink and the space underneath the sink, which is often overflowing with cleaning products. Empty the garbage can and compost bin - it will reduce clutter and keep offensive odours at bay.
Setting the kitchen table is definitely passe. "In an occupied home, it's gratuitous," says Sowden. Instead, place an attractive bowl of fresh fruit on the table.
Finally, putting away personal stuff - such as family photos and items that brand the home as yours - will help prospective buyers imagine the home as their own. "But that doesn't mean the house has to be sterile or without personality," says Sowden.
Article by Linda White printed in the August 2, 2012 edition of the K-W Review