Friday, February 10, 2023 / by Teresa DiPeso
Sellers know that staging their home is a vital step to take when preparing to put their property on the market. But not all sellers give proper due to the kitchen during this critical process. Staging your kitchen is an easy way to appeal to homebuyers without having to knock down walls or spend a lot of money on pricey renovations.
The goal is to pull off staging that enables potential buyers to envision themselves cooking, dining, and entertaining in the home. So if you’re planning to stage your place without the help of a professional stager, put your best foot forward and avoid the following rookie mistakes.
1. Leaving clutter on the countertops
Potential buyers want to see the full expanse of your kitchen counters.
Show them off by keeping counters clear of unnecessary items.
Any clutter left on the counter—like a dish drying rack, mail, and personal odds and ends—will sully the appearance of your kitchen.
Impressive items, such as a KitchenAid stand mixer and a sleek espresso machine, can stay. Smaller appliances and gadgets, such as a toaster or waffle maker, have to go.
Having extra items out makes it seem that there’s not enough kitchen storage—a big turnoff for potential buyers.
If there’s just no room in covered cabinets for that stuff, it’s time to sweep it all into a plastic bin and practice some tough love.
Consider each item and ask yourself whether to keep, toss, or donate it.
If you do decide to keep items, make sure they are packed away and not left out during home showings.
2. Not paying attention to lighting
A well-lit kitchen is of the utmost importance to buyers, as they will immediately notice the dark spaces in your kitchen.
If there is an area under a corner cabinet or a section of countertop space far from natural light, add a small lamp.
If you don’t have an electrical outlet nearby, you can purchase a rechargeable lightbulb in a soft white hue.
Another solution is to install under-cabinet lighting. LED strip lights are a popular choice as they can be applied easily without the help of an electrician.
3. Forgetting to depersonalize
Fun fact: Potential buyers don’t want to see your niece’s graduation photo hanging on your refrigerator. Ditto goes for your magnet collection. When staging a kitchen, it’s advised to put away all personal items.
These items can be distracting and take away from the appeal of the house for buyers. It can also make it difficult for prospective buyers to envision the space as their own.
At the Shore, coastal decor is very popular. But, a little goes a long way. If you've gone to the max with any particular theme, pare it down. Home-buyers need a mostly blank canvas to imagine their own tastes.
4. Not staging a dining area
Strategically staging a dining area within the kitchen, such as a kitchen table or breakfast bar, can make the room more memorable.
Adding place settings to a breakfast bar creates a memory point when buyers are reviewing properties. Buyers will remember those strategically placed dishes when they start to calculate in their minds what each property has to offer.
Get creative with your place settings by adding fruit, cloth napkins, or a flower arrangement. Just be mindful of overcrowding the surface.
5. Adding a rug
One area you don’t want to stage is the kitchen floor. Remove any rugs or mats to make the kitchen look as large as you possibly can.
The eye will land on every rug, making the space feel chopped up and smaller in scale.
Potential homebuyers want to see a visually spacious kitchen, and floor clutter can interfere with this.
Newer floors should also not be covered with rugs.
Updated flooring is a selling feature. Don’t distract from your moneymaker.
6. Not having the kitchen deep-cleaned
The kitchen collects dirt, grime, and grease easily, so it’s important to get it professionally deep-cleaned before putting your home on the market.
You may not be aware of how much gunk can build up on a stove hood or around a range top.
Kitchen drawers and cabinets also get dirty quickly, especially if you’re constantly cooking at home.
A professional deep cleaning will address all these issues and leave your kitchen sparkling, fresh-smelling, and buyer-ready.
It’s also a good idea to be aware of any lingering cooking smells.
A common tactic to mask offensive odors is to bake a batch of cookies the morning before the open house.