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Thinking of Selling Your Home? Consider These 5 Kitchen Updates with the Best ROI

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


“Show me the kitchen!” 

Ever burst into open houses issuing demands like this?

OK, you probably have more control over yourself, but this is a common first thought for many of us. Yeah, yeah, nice living room -- now show me where to channel Julia Child!

To homebuyers that are searching for a new residence, kitchens and bathrooms are the two most important rooms in a home. 

A minor kitchen remodel before selling your home, especially within the next few years, can be one of the best investments for homeowners. According to This Old House, “A kitchen ‘face-lift’ -- painting, refinishing surfaces, and upgrading appliances -- will return more than a full redesign.” On the West Coast particularly, homeowners are discovering just how rewarding this can be in the current housing market. 

West Coast Kitchen Remodeling Return on Investment (ROI)

Oregon, Washington, and California’s recorded kitchen remodels showed an ROI of 104% within the last year alone! Compared to the West Coast numbers, the national average was a slighter ROI of 83%. With typical West Coast kitchen remodels costing around $21,554 and having average resale values of $22,336, they more than pay for themselves. 

A good guideline for a kitchen remodel is to spend 5-10%, but no more than 20% of a home’s overall value. Below I will tell you the best things to spend your money on for a kitchen remodel, but focus on practical kitchen upgrades that are energy-efficient, priced well, and low-maintenance for the best ROI. Refrain from the indulgent options. 

Kitchen Enhancements with the Best ROI

Here are the 5 kitchen upgrades that will give you the best ROI:

Appliances: Homebuyers cannot resist stainless steel appliances. Now is the time to exchange your old washed-out refrigerator and dishwasher for something timeless. Stainless steel is a great aspect to feature in your house listing and now with so many options for big appliances, it is easy to find one within your price range. When shopping locally for a stainless steel refrigerator, be sure to check the unit to see if it easily shows handprints. 

Cabinets: Cabinet refacing is a smart solution for sturdy cabinets that look dated. For the most inexpensive remedy, simply paint the cabinets a bright, crisp white. If your budget allows for more wiggle room, choose a lasting wood for elegance and drama. Nevertheless, do not waste money and possibly conflict with potential homebuyers’ style by buying expensive cabinet hardware. When in doubt, always pick something classic. 

Cabinets are one of the biggest expenses within the overall cost for a kitchen renovation. It really varies on how big your kitchen is, but sometimes they can take around one-third of your entire budget. Standard cabinets instead of custom offer a great compromise in tight budget situations.

Countertops: Neutral colors like white and grey in stone and granite kitchen countertops attract homebuyers. Almost any stone countertop will be a vast improvement over peeling laminate. Costs are dependent on slab thickness and average around $40 to $75 per square foot. A more cost effective alternative to a granite slab, with the original beauty of natural stone, is granite tile. The wide range of design sensibilities that walk through your home on open house day will thank you for choosing something classic and tasteful. 

Flooring: Homebuyers are always thrilled with hardwood. Not only does hardwood have minimum upkeep, but it also makes your kitchen area appear larger. For houses that already have hardwood, spruce them up by refinishing the wood after proper sanding. If you cannot afford hardwood, tile is another popular alternative for homebuyers. Both options cost less than you would think. If you have vinyl or laminate flooring, replace it if your budget allows for it. 

Walls: Open floor plans have been greatly desirable for years. For kitchens that do not open into the living space, consider having a wall knocked down or replaced with a waist-high partition. Of course, you or your remodeler will need to talk to an engineer and electrician before a remodel like this takes place. Only a professional can tell you if it is a load bearing wall and reroute outlets. 

Even though it might seem daunting, knocking down a wall can bring more light into your space. Homebuyers love areas with a breezy and spacious feel. Not matter the size of the space, all areas in your home can benefit from a nice and open look.


If you’re putting your house on the market soon, a minor kitchen remodel can really boost your home’s value. These kitchen upgrades can truly transform a space and are sure bets to please both homeowners and future homebuyers.

Erin Davis is owner of Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland Oregon. For more information and tips mosaikdesign.com or contact her at [email protected]






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