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Great DIY kitchen upgrades that raise your home’s value

The Santa Cruz average home price averages around $925,000, and those home’s values make it one of the least affordable real estate markets in America.

There are some DIY kitchen tips for selling your home. If you are able and willing to take on the tasks, these upgrades can have your listing agent putting out the best possible marketing and your selling agent bringing the sale to a close quickly.

Clean Sweep

Get rid of the clutter. Cookbooks, knick knacks, extraneous food items on top of the refrigerator all should be packed or put away. The spoon rest you got from Aunt Mabel may not sing to a potential buyer and the commemorative plates made the kitchen yours and the buyers want to see themselves in the kitchen.


Neutral colors and light citrus colors are great in a kitchen. Yellows are particularly nice in a kitchen, expanding any natural light. Make sure to take the time to prep the walls, washing and priming if necessary and to pick the right kind of paint. A satin finish will give a nice glow as well as resisting mildew, stains, and dirt, and are easily scrubbed.

Rehabilitate Cabinets

Replacing cabinets is a costly process, but there are many things you can do to enhance the cabinetry you have.

If possible, you could remove cabinet doors on upper cabinets, or replace the inner panels with glass. This would allow you to stage nice glassware and dishes to be visible to potential buyers.

Sanding and re-staining, or painting cabinets will allow you to get rid of imperfections and if painting a lighter color, a shade of white or light grey will brighten up the kitchen. Light is always a key in getting the buyers attention. Again, take the time to pick the right paint. Generally, a semi-gloss or glossy latex paint is best for wood and wood veneer cabinets. Laminate cabinets take a lot of work in prep and there are special primers and paints that work best for them. Talk to the paint specialist at your hardware store to find out what is best for you.

Replace handles and knobs with more classic finishes. Brushed steel or nickel are better than going with ceramic or glass hardware. Make sure to check the hinges as well and update or scrub and clean.


With so many options of peel and stick items, it is an easier task than you may think. If you don’t have a backsplash, that extra color, texture, or design can add just the touch the kitchen needs. Many hardware stores offer free classes to learn how to measure out and determine what would look best.

Renew your flooring

Sanding and refinishing wooden floors, replacing tiles that are cracked or chipped, or replacing linoleum are all tasks even a novice a DIYer can take on. Most materials no longer require special adhesives or tools to apply and again, most hardware stores and even the internet are valuable resources in assisting you in your project.

Check local discount stores and Habitat for Humanity Restores for inexpensive materials.


Probably the most daunting of the tasks you may decide to take on is also the most important. Granite, granite, granite. When buyers were asked what they most looked for in a kitchen granite countertop was high on the list. Other materials such as butcher block, cement and quartz are also popular as well as epoxy resin countertops which can give the look of marble.

Update Lights and Fixtures

Updating the kitchen faucet, replacing the strainer baskets, replacing the metal pans under the burners on the stove, all make a difference. The lights in your kitchen may be outdated. You may want to put in some under the cabinet lights or if you have an island, runner lights around the bottom. Check your outlet covers to make sure they match the new scheme of the kitchen and whenever possible go to LED lighting to make things more cost effective.

Clean and Stage

Finally, clean and stage. Clean any skylights, vent fans, the oven, the refrigerator. Make sure to pull those things out and get behind them. Try to not use too many chemicals. You want potential buyers to believe this is always the way the kitchen is, not that you have sprayed bleach on all the walls. Clean the windows, window treatments and dust the tops of the cabinets. Place some small pots of herbs in the window, or a small wine rack on the counter. Put away small appliances and depersonalize the refrigerator by taking off the magnets and artwork.

When you are trying to figure out how to sell your house quickly, the kitchen is the most important room in a home. It’s where families get together, to cook, to eat, to celebrate. It’s the place where memories are made, where children are taught, and days begin. These ideas can help the buyer see the kitchen in the home you are selling is the kitchen where they want to be. It is vital to have an experienced real estate agent by your side. Feel free to give me a call at 831.661.5591 or send me an email at amber(at)davidlyng(dotted)com and I will get back to you the soonest possible time.