9 Guidelines When Remodeling for Resale  


When you’re remodeling with the intent to make your home more sellable, your process is slightly different from someone who is updating for the future, or someone who is finally getting the kitchen they’re always wanted. You’ll be skipping over your personal preferences to options that will add value to your home by appealing to as many people as possible.

Kitchen remodeling is one of the most profitable improvements you can make to your house if you’re planning to sell. Kitchens are key decision points for new buyers, and one where they are likely to notice every flaw and drawback. Thankfully, you don’t have to predict every buyer’s dream kitchen in order to make your kitchen a game-changer.

Make your kitchen more sellable with quick fixes and neutral tones.
Your goal when remodeling to sell your home is to add value.


No one wants to sign up for a kitchen that needs work. If buyers have to undo dramatic design choices, repair cabinet shelves, or update scuffed or dated cabinets, they are likely to deduct the repair costs off what they’re willing to offer for your home.

While kitchen remodeling as a whole can bring you from 65-75% return on investment, minor remodels actually bring in an 8% higher ROI than major ones. With a minor remodel you aren’t risking going too far in the wrong direction and creating a kitchen buyers don’t want. The key to avoiding that outcome is prioritizing practicality and making a neutral palette. Remodeling your kitchen with a neutral design point lets buyers follow their own tastes, since that will make it easy and inexpensive for them to add their own personal design elements later on.

What should your priorities be?

Of course, the priorities are different for every home, but here are some guidelines to keep your costs down and profits high:

  1. Don’t exceed the home values in your neighborhood, as you’re unlikely to get that back. Use the current value of your house, the value of homes in your neighborhood and what price you would like to sell for as key points for determining the upper limit of what you should spend on updates.
  2. Cabinets are the workhorse of the kitchen, so make that a top priority! Reface, Repair, Replace, do whatever you have to do to get these items functional and visually pleasing,
  3. If you don’t move your plumbing and keep all walls in place, you can keep a minor remodel from becoming a costly major project.
  4. Make it clean and classic; simple but updated. Something that they can add their personal touch to, without NEEDING to update anything right away.
  5. Repaint/touch up paint. Ditch dated wallpaper, eliminate stains, get a fresh, new look, and add lots of neutral options. An exception to the neutral color rule of thumb is that touches of modern color can bring a current look to older furnishings.
  6. Dated light fixtures are another thing to switch out, and it’s a great opportunity to add light to the space. Improving the lighting will let the buyers see all the hard work you’ve done.
  7. No need to spring for costly, high-end appliances; units with a neutral or simple finish like stainless steel or an energy star rating will be plenty.
  8. Shiny new countertops are a big draw, but what’s the likelihood that you’re going to guess your buyer’s favorite color? Instead of granite, consider installing a stone-look laminate and leaving the slab-shopping to the new owners. Again, keep it simple, keep it classic, and try not to overinvest in flourishes your buyer might not even find valuable.
  9. If you want to put in stone, pick a neutral tone and make sure that the cabinets holding it up are strong enough, because once that heavy countertop is on, refacing is the only option for changing up the cabinets.

And there you have it. The key to remodeling your kitchen for resale is simple fixes and neutral additions.

To get started on a minor remodel that will get you home ready for the market, fill out the lead form on this page. For more on getting a fresh, clean, buyable look like we discussed above, check out our posts on Kitchen Cabinets, and Kitchen Lighting.


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