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Paul Bennett, Director

Whether you want to add value, get buyers involved in a bidding war or sell as quickly as possible, there is no shortage of suggestions when it comes to improving our property. Behr & Butchoff is starting a new series of blogs devoted to different areas in the home, with advice on presentation and improvements to help you sell.

The focus this month falls on the kitchen – often described as the heart of the home.

What do buyers look for in a kitchen?

Even if you have a separate dining room, purchasers are looking for multifunctional kitchens that come with enough space to entertain and relax. From parents who want to keep an eye on their children while they cook to party hosts who want a seamless space to dine and serve drinks, an appealing kitchen should also double as a family room or have space for a table and sofas. If your kitchen opens out onto the garden – perhaps with bi-fold doors - it will hold even more appeal and value.

Kitchen catastrophes: avoid at all costs

The condition of a kitchen can be a make or break aspect for purchasers and numerous surveys have been conducted to discover the biggest faux pas. While some may take drastic action to rectify, others can be resolved by opening a widow or having a thorough clean. Kitchen negatives include:

  • A small, dark and cluttered kitchen

  • Broken appliances

  • Dated units

  • Greasy surfaces

  • Bad smells

Can a good kitchen add value and achieve a higher asking price?

The answer to this is a very clear yes. Property expert Phil Spencer was quoted saying that if your budget only stretches to one refit in the home, it should be the kitchen: “This room has now become the showpiece area of the home. We don’t just cook in it - we do homework in it, we watch television in it and hold dinner parties there.” Past research from consumer body Which? suggests that a new kitchen can add up to 6% to a home’s value, which works out an average of around £54,000 for a £900,000 home. 

Is it worth re-fitting a kitchen before you put it on the market?

This depends on the quality of your current kitchen, your budget and what your expectations are of the value of your home. If you are planning to move, going to the expense and time-consuming effort of fitting a new kitchen may not be an option but ask Behr & Butchoff for advice.

If you think there’s room for improvement but don’t want a heavy investment, a simpler compromise is to bring in a kitchen designer and an architect to draw up designs of what could be achieved. The potential is often enough to persuade purchasers.

Less dramatic kitchen action

Improving your kitchen doesn’t have to mean an entire refit. There are some easier alternatives that aren’t a drain on time or money, including:

  • Swapping superficial elements, such as cabinet doors, work surfaces, taps and flooring

  • Replacing old appliances with new energy efficient ones

  • Changing old tiles for a glass splash-back

  • Opting for mobile improvements, such as a butcher’s block, that you can take it with you when you move

  • Repainting walls, ceilings and woodwork in a lighter colour

  • New lighting - under cabinet lights and LEDs can create a whole new look

  • Ensuring your kitchen is clean and clutter free

If you are looking to sell a property you own and would like to discuss how your kitchen fares when compared to others in homes already on the market, please get in touch. We have knowledge of what people are looking for in London, and can advise on the best course of action for the most buyer interest.