Almost any home will sell, but the trick is selling it for the price you want. If a home sale is on the horizon you may be wondering if it’s worth it to make some upgrades in order to get that better price. Just as importantly, you want your home to sell quickly and not linger in the listings month after month.

In general any kitchen upgrade will definitely add value to your home and help it sell. This is especially true in 2016 because the market in Ottawa is relatively competitive right now, with conditions favouring buyers because of the surplus home inventory. But watch out that you don’t go too far if you’re leaving in six months.

Here’s an overview of how to decide how much to upgrade, and a guide to which upgrades are sure-fire winners.

dark kitchen cabinets

Key Decision Makers

Price Range

The important thing is to keep things in perspective with the price range you’re targeting. It doesn’t make sense, for example, to put a new $75,000 kitchen in a $230,000 home if you won’t be around to enjoy it. Similarly, for very upmarket homes it may not make sense to upgrade the kitchen much at all, as long as the layout is open and functional. At higher price points, the new homeowner may want to customize things for their individual tastes.

Location

The other thing to consider is your location. If your home is farther away from downtown, you may have to prove to prospective buyers that the home is worth the commute. If you’re minutes from downtown and/or transit, you can keep to less extensive improvements. When you’re that close to the core, some of your buyers will be investors seeking to rent out the property, and they won’t want to fuss as much with a top of the line kitchen.

How Out of Date is Your Current Kitchen?

Most buyers will look past a kitchen that’s slightly out of date as long as it’s reasonably neutral. If the kitchen is from the 80s or early 90s, however, you may need to make a bit of an investment.

Similarly, if you’ve added a lot of very personal touches that are off the beaten track, you may want to consider some upgrades that will tone things down and bring it into line with what people want. Keep things neutral and not too busy. White kitchens are absolutely trend proof and a lot of people are asking for them in 2016.

white classic kitchen

How is the Rest of the House?

If your home has a great foundation and new roof, windows and furnace, you can get away with a kitchen that isn’t as current. If your home has some issues and you’re prepared to sell for a lower price, a kitchen upgrade may not pay off.

Kitchen Upgrade Hotlist

These easy-win upgrades will always help you:

  1. Repair any cabinet doors or drawers that have noticeable scratches or misalignments. Don’t forget that buyers will open doors too, so any shelves or trays should be up to inspection.
  2. Update the hardware: new knobs and pulls can help bring many older kitchens into the present.
  3. Replace laminate countertops with engineered quartz like Silestone or Corian that’s durable and good looking. While lots of people love granite, it’s a little more expensive.
  4. Make sure the flooring looks new. If you have cracked tiles or vinyl flooring with any tears get them fixed.
  5. Backsplash tile trends can come and go quickly. The good news is that a current backsplash isn’t incredibly expensive and can make a big impact.
  6. You absolutely cannot go wrong with a fresh coat of paint on the walls.

Most importantly, your kitchen should be spotlessly clean and have enough lighting. No one wants to cook in a dungeon.

Talk to Your Realtor

It will help you a great deal to get the opinion of an experienced realtor who knows the market, and specifically how your home matches up to others in the same price category. They’ll help you see your home the way the buyers will, and choose kitchen upgrades that will pay off.