Updated: Mar 15
The starting point for homeowners trying to improve their home in preparation for putting it on the market is often the kitchen. The kitchen serves as the social hub for most homes and is the room with the most influence on buyers’ decision to buy or not buy a property.
Homeowners know if they can get potential buyers to fall in love with the kitchen, they increase the likelihood of a sale along with their chances of selling at a higher price, says Alliance Management. This is why kitchen renovations rank among the top home improvement projects for homeowners.
But, as a homeowner wanting to upgrade your kitchen, which part of the kitchen will fetch you the highest return on investment? When choosing a kitchen feature to upgrade you want to focus on areas that will have a sweeping effect on the entire kitchen.
No feature does this better than kitchen cabinets and the kitchen floor. In most kitchens, the cabinets cover huge sections of the wall. They serve as a backdrop for other components of the kitchen. If the cabinets look good, your entire kitchen will also look good.
Unattractive kitchen cabinets will hurt your home’s value
Damaged, outdated, or malfunctioning kitchen cabinets impair the appeal of your kitchen and, by extension, the value of your property. This is true even if the rest of the property is in good condition due to how much emotions buyers invest in the kitchen.
What are the common kitchen cabinets issues that can hurt the value of your home?
· Old or inadequate cabinets
The cabinets feature simple storage solutions that are insufficient for the complex needs of modern kitchen users. There are old cabinets that lack modern features like soft-close tracks.
· Cabinet storage issues
The cabinets lack corner cupboards. There is no pantry or room to add one. There is not enough room for a garbage bin or waste disposal unit. The design is too busy or the number of shelves and drawers is just overwhelming.
· Cabinet placement issues
The kitchen cabinet blocks thoroughfares or it extends too far into door clearances. There are a lot of dead spaces because wall space is wasted. The boiler is wrongly placed or there is no room for it at all.
· Cabinet design issues
The kitchen cabinets do not integrate well with the rest of the kitchen or the kitchen does not blend with the rest of the home. There are accessibility issues with some parts of the cabinet or workflow was not properly considered during design. The cabinet is too trendy and the design doesn’t stand the test of time.
· Structural issues
The cabinet shelves are unable to hold the weight of heavy items and have started to sag as a result. The cabinet carcass has become so weak that it is bent out of shape. Cabinet walls yield when pushed.
· Physical damage and operational issues
There are broken handles, rollers that don’t work, or sticky drawers. The wood has started to warp, bubble, or change color. The cabinet laminating is curling up.
· Other issues
The lighting is insufficient or does not complement the cabinet design. There are not enough power outlets or no USB ports. The worktop is the wrong height and heating is inadequate.
How much value will new kitchen cabinets add to your home?
Without any doubt, installing new cabinets in your kitchen will improve the value of your home, but how much value will this upgrade add? This depends on the extent of the kitchen cabinet remodel. There are three ways you can upgrade the cabinets in your kitchen.
· Minor cabinet remodels
This upgrade is limited to replacing the cabinet fronts while cabinet boxes are left intact. Minor cabinet remodels are the least costly kitchen cabinet upgrades. These types of projects will add around 77% of the project cost to the value of the home when you eventually sell.
· Major cabinet remodels
Major cabinet remodels replace the entire kitchen cabinets but retain the layout and introduce mid-range fixtures. These types of projects often include semi-custom wood cabinets and they use spaces in a more functional way. A major kitchen cabinet upgrade will cost a lot more than minor upgrades and add around 58% of the total project cost to the value of the home.
· Upscale cabinet remodels
Upscale projects involve the installation of top-of-the-line custom cabinets with features for maximum access and convenience. As can be expected, upscale kitchen cabinet remodels cost a lot more than minor or major kitchen cabinet remodels. But the return on investment for these projects is just slightly below that for major remodels, at 53%.
What is clear is that the value-adds of a kitchen cabinet remodel is not directly proportional to how much money you spend on the project.
Lower-priced kitchen cabinets projects fetch higher returns. But the return on a kitchen cabinet upgrade should not be valued in monetary terms alone. Although the ROI from a bigger project is lower, the project generates more interest from buyers. Home with major or upscale kitchen cabinet remodels will spend a shorter time on the market.