Popular cooking shows and the Food Network have helped turn the kitchen into the hub of the modern home. Instead of just a functional room tucked out of site, the kitchen has taken center stage and can make or break a property when it comes time to sell.

The kitchen is the most important room to stage in your home. Home buyers are increasingly particular about what they want in a kitchen and are prepared to pay for what they like. By showcasing your kitchen in the best possible light, you can potentially sell your home faster and; increase the closing price. Even in a slow real estate market, making your kitchen attractive to a buyer could make the difference.

Great Kitchens Sell Homes

Clean up the kitchen

Clean your kitchen as if the sale of your home depends on it…because it does. Kitchen design is certainly important when selling a home, but cleanliness is a must. Replace unsightly floor tiles, or in a worst-case scenario, consider a complete floor makeover. Pay special attention to the sink, countertops and stove. Be sure not to neglect the cabinets and hardware; wiping down all the cabinet doors may not be a part of your normal kitchen cleaning, which means they’re probably dirtier than you realize. It’s also a good idea to clean your refrigerator and oven, as buyers will almost always open oven and fridge doors.

Clutter is a kitchen killer

Spend some extra time de-cluttering. Of all the rooms in a home, the kitchen in particular has a way of attracting clutter. Countertop appliances, coffee pots and mugs, utensil holders, baskets for bills and mail, knick knacks ... these types of things must be put away out of sight. A good rule of thumb for the staging of a kitchen is to leave no more than two appliances on your counter. After you have uncluttered the kitchen counter, brighten and soften the space by adding some fresh fruit, new dishtowels, a cookbook, and plants or flowers.

Modernizing today will help you sell tomorrow

In a buyer's market, you should go beyond basic cleaning and actually upgrade some of the kitchen's features. Consider touring some model homes to get an idea of current trends. Renovating your kitchen now will let you enjoy new appliances while boosting the value of your home for the future. Consider replacing your counters, especially if there are stains or cracks. And white counters can leave buyers feeling bland about a kitchen (and ultimately about buying the house). If granite, marble, and corian are not in your budget, there are laminates that look very close to the real thing. Another way to add value to your kitchen is to install concealed appliances – hiding the dishwasher and fridge, for example, can really spice up your kitchen for buyers. If replacing appliances is not in your budget, be sure to have them repaired and cleaned.

Lighting

Take the time to make sure all the existing light fixtures have working light bulbs. Make sure the blinds are open on all the windows and, if required, add a small table lamp or two to accent a dark corner.

… And the kitchen sink

Another kitchen remodeling idea is to upgrade your “sinkware.” New faucets, soap dispensers and sinks (whether you are reglazing or replacing altogether) are affordable ways to give the kitchen an immediate facelift. Don’t forget, buyers love to turn on the kitchen faucet when touring a home.

Remember, people spend a lot of time in their kitchens, and most people know that they increase a home’s resale value. If you spend any extra time or money while staging your home for sale, the kitchen is probably the place to start.