Remodeling your Kitchen? Remember Marketability!

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What sells a home? Kitchens and baths! By that logic, what makes homes harder to sell? Kitchens and baths that are outdated, or just plain out-there, of course. Rooms are easy, most rooms in a house are just six walls with a few windows and maybe a closet or two. Anything else inside, such as crown moulding or chair railing, tray ceilings or built in shelving units are a bonus, but they’re not make or break for the sale, because they’re easy enough to add into the design after the fact. Kitchens and baths however, are an entirely different story. Remodeling kitchens and baths is considerably more expensive than remodeling the dining room *generally*, I mean, you could go overboard with anything in any room if you really wanted to. But for the most part, taking care of the kitchens and baths is more labor intensive, with more building materials, supplies and appliances, plus all the finishing touches, therefore those tend to be higher dollar projects.

So you just bought your new home and you’re ready to start building your dream kitchen. It is very important to keep in mind while planning your renovation that you are doing the work for yourself, but you will also not be the last person to live there, and you need to be able to recoup your investment when the time does come to sell the property. How do you prevent your Kitchen remodeling project from reducing the future marketability of your home? Follow these top ten tips from a very extensive survey conducted by Houzz (www.Houzz.com) which gathered responses from over 7,000 homeowners either planning, or in the midst of, kitchen renovations.

1) Professional Grade Range– Adding a Chef’s Stove, especially one with six burners instead of four, or a griddle/ cooktop for a searing pan or a wok was top of the Wish List in the Houzz survey, with 32% of respondents saying this was their dream appliance. Double Ovens also scored pretty high with 18% listing them as a must have. Other appliances though, such as a wine fridge or a convection oven were far less critical as selling points for a kitchen.

2) Eco Friendly and Energy Efficient Features- 49% of those surveyed said that using eco friendly features was very important. This probably has more to do with saving money than saving the planet, so don’t spring for that recycled glass mosaic countertop because that’s probably a little too “out-there”, a recycled glass mosaic backsplash might be cool though. With plenty of Energy Star certified appliances and green building materials on the market, going green is easier than ever, however, eco-friendly adjustments are as easy as using dish cloths instead of paper towels, using recycled paper towels if you must, replacing plastic containers with glass *and recycling or reusing the old plastic ones*, and switching to non toxic, plant based cleaners.

3) Granite or Quartz Countertops- 94% of all survey respondents said they plan on changing their countertops, and while 50% said they were making the switch to granite, a whopping 36% said they will opt for quartz instead. I personally would opt for caesarstone quartz because you don’t need to treat and seal it, and it’s practically bulletproof.  Caesarstone is a man-made Stone that consists of approximately 95% of quartz, which is one of the most common minerals found in the earth’s crust. The other 5% of caesarstone is a mixture of polymer resins and coloring. Quartz is very resistant to weathering and it’s appearance is fully customizable, which is why it is a popular choice for custom kitchens. PLUS it’s less harmful for the environment than mining for granite. *Double Whammy!* FYI, tile only got 2% of the vote, so yeah, probably shouldn’t go for that one.

4) Tile Backsplashes- Back to that recycled glass mosaic backsplash, go for it! 50% of respondents preferred tile backsplashes over stone or other choices, making tile the top pick. Houzz.com Editor, Sheila Schmitz explained that “A lot of people are using the backsplash as sort of the jewelry of the kitchen. That’s where they’ll inject the element of color because it won’t be overwhelming” *She obviously hasn’t seen some of the properties I’ve been to with clients* Good thing tile backsplashes are also easier to take down and replace since the backsplash dates your kitchen more than anything else!

5) Flooring- Hardwood floors led the list of choices, with Tile in a close second. Linoleum only scored 3%, Concrete only 2%, and carpet… just no. No carpet in the kitchen please!

6) Stainless Steel- 65% of respondents preferred stainless steel appliances, while only 12% chose white, black or colored. Metallics are actually great neutrals because they are not gender or culturally specific and they go with everything else, design wise. Since gold plated ranges don’t exist (only this $12,500 gold plated Beefeater barbecue  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-9718388-1.html), we’ll all have to settle for stainless steel.

7) Kitchen Islands- While 61% of those surveyed plan on incorporating an island into their remodel, this one is really subject to circumstances. Size and configuration of the space really matter. A kitchen has to be large enough for an island, and it needs to fit into the flow correctly, or else it becomes an obstacle. However, when done right in the right space, Kitchen islands are definitely a selling feature.

8) Transitional Style- Blending traditional and contemporary design style is in, up to 69% from 59% of those surveyed last year. Fred Puksta of Crown Point Cabinetry in New Hampshire explains it as “Specifically, the style may reference details from the past, but there must be something new that makes it fresh and updated,” Puksta says, but it’s not “stark, contemporary or futuristic.” Is that explanation still a little vague? Here’s a great article about Transitional Kitchens from HGTV,  http://www.hgtv.com/kitchens/guide-to-creating-a-transitional-kitchen/index.html

9) White Cabinets- White and off white cabinet color schemes are the top choice, at 73% of respondents, up 6% from last year. I personally don’t agree with this assessment, rich auburn brown wood is definitely the style with the most staying power, however I digress.

10) Grey Color Schemes- Greys are also a great neutral, and they’re coming on strong with 55%. You can use grey in the paint color, tile colors, you can integrate it into the cabinetry, or even inside the cabinetry on the shelves, into the appliances, fixtures or the kitchen furniture.

The message is basically to create an easy to use kitchen with good flow, clean lines, energy efficiency, and low maintenance. Keep in mind that you are not only building your dream kitchen, but you’ll have to appeal to potential buyers in the future as well, and you’re going to want to be able to get the highest price for the home in the future to recoup your investment. Kitchens normally return about 70% investment, so choose wisely, and be sure to enlist an expert Real Estate Agent before and after the project. A Real Estate Agent will be able to make design suggestions with future buyers in mind, as well as do a property evaluation post reno. So give Exit Realty Associates a call today!

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