Home Selling Guide: Preparing Your House For Sale: Kitchen

The quality of a kitchen can make or break a sale. A potential buyer needs to see it as a multi-purpose room; not only as a place to cook food, but a place where friends could drop in, where children can do homework.

Kitchens are often a home's dining area as well, with many homeowners knocking through dining room walls, where possible, to create larger kitchens or living rooms.

The kitchen also has the potential to be one of the costliest rooms to improve and update, a cost that a potential buyer will not want to meet.

But this does not automatically mean that the seller should meet the cost of replacing an entire kitchen either. Instead there are some far cheaper ways to make a tired, outdated kitchen more appealing to potential buyers.

Cheaper alternatives include new vinyl flooring, worktops and a coat of paint on the walls.

Lighting is also important. Avoid overhead fluorescent lights and consider fitting a dimmer switch, or lighting above cabinets, which can give a kitchen a contemporary feel.

Tiling on top of tiles is another option and when decorating ensure that you stick to neutral or pastel colours. To find out which kitchens appeal to consumers, have a look in kitchen showrooms and catalogues. Even ask kitchen showroom dealers what their biggest selling kitchens are.

Ingrained dirt in a kitchen is another potential problem. What message does that give about the rest of the house if you allow food preparation in a dirty kitchen? Ensure that washing up is done, clutter such as recipe books are removed from view and consider a full spring-clean-style makeover. This could involve scrubbing and polishing sinks and taps as well as replacing drawer handles.

Such action should also eradicate any nasty odours lurking in your kitchen. Consider also replacing them with more homely smells. While the fragrance of baking bread and brewing coffee may be a cliché, these are tried and tested techniques that work.