The Best Kitchen Remodels for Home Sellers

kitchen island with stools
  • 10-100 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 500-5,000

If you want to get your money's worth out of your renovation, stick to the kitchen. Kitchen renovations, when done correctly, can vastly improve the value of your home. If you're looking to build some equity or you’re hoping to flip for a profit, try one or two of these kitchen upgrades to get the most bang for your buck.

DIY the Right Way

No matter what element of your kitchen upgrade you plan on doing yourself, the most important thing is that the job gets done correctly. In the kitchen, it's not just the aesthetics, you're messing with plumbing and electrical as well.

A mistake in one of these areas can be incredibly costly and can decrease the value of your home, not increase it.

It's important to know your limits when it comes to kitchen upgrades. Maybe you're all set to switch out the backsplash and even change a faucet or two, but you need help rewiring a few outlets.

That's completely fine. Hiring out a few odd jobs and doing the bulk of the work yourself will still help you save money on your renovation. And hiring out those jobs that you can't do will save you money in the long run and prevent a major mistake.

Now, if there are things that you want to learn, see if you can work with a friend or family member who has the skills that you're looking for and can help you tackle the project. Working with somebody who's renovated a kitchen a few times before will definitely be helpful.

And in areas of the kitchen where you're not looking at turning your home into a disaster zone if something goes wrong, we can help you pick up those skills, from laying a vinyl floor, to changing a backsplash, to refinishing cabinets.

Overall, the really important thing that we want to stress here is that you need to make sure that your renovation is done correctly if you're hoping to build any equity in your home.

A home inspector can sniff out a poorly renovated kitchen a mile away, which does nothing good for your chances of increasing the value of your home.

Make A Plan

couple planning kitchen renovation

Before you begin your kitchen renovation, you need to make a plan and set a budget. Having these two key pieces in play will help you spend your money wisely and get your project done on time.

When you're looking to make a plan for your kitchen, think about the way that your kitchen needs to be used, and look for any pain points. Sometimes, even in new homes, and especially in builder-grade homes, you end up with kitchens where the fridge and the oven or the dishwasher can't all be open at the same time.

This creates a huge traffic jam in the kitchen. Look for ways to alleviate pain points that you deal with every day.

It's also important to think about how was kitchen should function for your ideal buyer if you're looking to sell your home.

Look at the area that you live in, look around at homes on Zillow that are selling for a little bit more than what your home would sell for, and see if there's something that their kitchen offers that yours doesn't.

It's also a good idea to think about how to increase the functionality for somebody who would potentially be spending a lot more time at your home, especially as bobs become more work-from-home focused.

People are investing more money in their homes now because the home has to double as the office. Adding a few fancy features to the kitchen is great. Adding a few functional features is better.

Appliance Swap

oven in beautiful kitchen

New appliances are an easy way to go if you're looking to add equity and you're planning on leaving the appliances in your home when you leave. Sometimes people take their fridge, but it's less common for people to take an oven when they move, so we didn't recommend investing in an oven.

Statistically, in the current market, people are more willing to pay a premium price for homes with steam ovens. This isn't really something you can DIY, but it's a replacement that will increase the perceived value of your home.

A high-quality dishwasher is also something that people are excited about in homes. If you have the budget, we've even seen homes pop up with double dishwashers, and that's always a win.

Counter Offer

granite kitchen counter

The types of countertops in your kitchen make a big difference in the resale value of your home. It's important firstly that you know your market. If you live in a multimillion-dollar custom home, you might want to pick a countertop finish that fits the high-end feel of your home.

For the rest of us, living in family homes under a million dollars, quartz countertops are the way to go. If you're looking to update your space and create a modern kitchen, go with quartz. If you want something very durable, go with quartz. If you want something that's easy to clean and very family-friendly, go with quartz.

Quartz looks nice, it can really add an elevated element to your kitchen, and it's very family-friendly, which is important if you're hoping to sell your home to another family one day. Quartz can range in price, but as a general rule, it's pretty budget-friendly as far as countertops go.

Unless you have experience installing countertops, we recommend using a subcontractor or experienced handyman to help you tackle this swap. Countertops are heavy, and you’d hate to have your entire slab slide off your cabinets and crack (or crack your flooring).

Store More

kitchen storage drawers

Increasing storage in a kitchen is always a win, no matter who the buyer is. It's important that when potential buyers walk through your home, they see space to store all of their kitchen items, and a large pantry to store their food.

Sometimes older homes have less storage, which is where a kitchen renovation requires a little creativity.

Floating shelves are where form meets function, and we love floating shelves in a kitchen. This statement comes with a caveat, though.

If you were going to knock down the uppers in your kitchen or add floating shelves somewhere in your kitchen, it's really important that you make sure you still have enough hidden storage in your kitchen.

If you have a lot of lower cabinets or a very large pantry, we think floating shelves in the kitchen are a really stylish choice that increases the value of your home, and you can DIY them yourself.

When it comes to the pantry, you can add a lot of value to the home by adding a butler's pantry. Not every home will have the space for a butler’s pantry, but if you’re looking to add some serious dollar signs to your home’s value, a butler’s pantry is a great addition. Even if it’s small, it makes a big impact.

Floor Plan

kitchen floor with rug

The flooring in your kitchen is a big deal. Like, a really big deal. Replacing the floors in your kitchen is a kitchen upgrade that increases the value of your home. High-quality LVP is a great choice for a kitchen flip because it’s incredibly durable and affordable.

If you want your flooring to look more expensive, pick a warm or neutral-toned LVP flooring and use a wider plank.

For a traditional look, install the LVP planks in your home in a herringbone pattern, and for a more modern kitchen look, install the planks horizontally or vertically. Regardless of the pattern you pick, a wider plank looks more expensive.

If you want to add more value than LVP to your home, you can opt for real wood floors. It's an expensive investment, but one that many home buyers will be happy to pay for. It just depends on where you want to use your budget, and what your ideal buyer is interested in.

Seasoned homeowners know this, but if this is your first-time flip, here's a little tip. Pick a lighter flooring with a medium amount of grain or pattern that will help disguise a mess or two. The darker your flooring, the more dust and mess you're going to see.

A medium-toned LVP or wood floor with a little bit of grain or pattern will help disguise the mess in between mopping sessions, which is a major bonus if you're looking to move in with a family.

Bring the Heat

radiant floor heating

If you're doing a full renovation in your home and you have the option, heated flooring in the kitchen increases the value of your home and is a big draw for buyers.

We don't recommend this upgrade if your ideal buyer wouldn't normally have the budget for something like this, because you may not get your money back on this project.

But if you're working with a larger budget in a home that will already bring in a good amount of money, a heated floor is a good way to set yourself apart from similar houses in your area.

Heated flooring is an especially big draw in areas of the country where it's cold a lot of the year, and in older homes that may need a little extra help staying warm. This isn't an upgrade for everyone, but it might be the upgrade that your kitchen needs in order to stand out.

All About Aesthetic

kitchen with blue backsplash

There's a lot to be said on this subject, but we will boil it down to this. If you're upgrading your house and planning on living in their house for a while longer, then stick to your aesthetic.

If you are planning on selling your home, it might be a good idea to upgrade the aesthetics of the kitchen in a more basic way. We’ll elaborate.

If your home has a strong aesthetic, regardless of if you plan on selling the house soon or not, the best way to make your kitchen feel cohesive is to stick to that aesthetic.

For example, if you have a home that is very mid-century modern, you're going to want to incorporate mid-century modern elements into the kitchen so that the house has cohesion and flow.

If your home does not have a strong overarching aesthetic and is instead a blend of styles, and you plan on living in the house for a while longer, then upgrade the aesthetic of your kitchen to one that you love, and that makes you happy.

You live in your house, and you shouldn't be designing it for some metaphorical future home dweller if you have no plans of selling your house in the next few years. Live in a home that you love and enjoy.

If your home does not have a strong overarching aesthetic and is instead a blend of styles, and you plan on selling your home soon—your best bet is to design your kitchen with beautiful basics that people love. This will help future buyers walk through your home and be able to envision themselves in your kitchen.

You may love green backsplash, but if you stick to a basic white backsplash, a future buyer will be able to walk in and truly see themselves living in your space. It's about giving them a blank slate to work with.

With any aesthetic upgrades in the home, we recommend using quality products where you can and saving where it makes more sense. For example, we like using high-quality flooring in our homes but saving more money on light fixtures by DIYing them or by upcycling an older light fixture.

There are all sorts of places to swap and save in your kitchen and places where you should splurge on quality items.