These kitchen fixes add value to any home about to go on the market, along with buyer appeal.

Now that the kitchen serves as the social hub of the home as well as being a place to cook, prep food and wash up, yours could make or break the sale of your house and most certainly affect how much it’s worth in buyers’ eyes. Here’s what you can do to improve your kitchen, whether you want to spend a little, a lot, or somewhere in between.

Quick fixes

The smallest, and least expensive changes, can make the biggest impact so it pays to start here when you’re seeking to enhance the look of your kitchen ahead of putting your house on the market. It doesn’t have to look like a high-end luxury kitchen to attract buyers, but it does need to look functional, easy to clean, and inviting.

A poor-quality kitchen is an immediate turn-off. Big giveaways that a kitchen has been designed on the cheap are white appliances — a white electric stove, for example — and poor-quality cabinet doors, tapware and hardware, such as handles on cabinets and drawers.

After decluttering and thoroughly cleaning your kitchen, consider what someone visiting your home is likely to notice first about your kitchen — which flaws stand out?

Before making any decisions, you’ll need to think about your own budget, housing values in your area, and who the likely buyers of your home are likely to be before deciding how much you’re willing to spend. If money’s tight and your buyers are likely to be first-home buyers who expect to have to improve a property over time, start with quick, inexpensive fixes such as replacing the handles and painting the cabinets to give the kitchen a fresh, clean look.

How to add value

Replacing a low-quality, worn or outdated benchtop with another could transform your kitchen. A laminate benchtop replaced with a natural stone benchtop, for example, can make a big impact.

If your splashback is in reasonable condition and still relatively on trend, consider regrouting the tiles rather than replacing them to freshen up your kitchen. If you do decide to retile the splashback, choose white or another neutral colour to appeal to the broadest possible range of buyers.

If your cabinet doors have seen better days and repainting them isn’t an option, consider leaving the carcasses in place and simply replacing the doors, hinges and handles. You might be surprised at what a difference it makes.

Tapware is an indicator of quality when it comes to kitchens. Replacing worn, cheap or dated tapware with tapware that’s modern and new is an effective and inexpensive instant fix. Swapping out an old white stove with a modern stainless steel stove and matching rangehood could also be a move that pays off.

When to go all out

If your kitchen is bringing down the look of your home and you’re not overcapitalising by renovating, now could be the time to replace it. A well-designed kitchen with quality inclusions can sell a lifestyle to a potential buyer rather than the promise of cost and inconvenience if they imagine having to renovate it themselves.

Have the kitchen professionally designed and installed if you can, with a layout that includes plenty of storage, a central hub such as an island for socialising, and an easy connection to the outdoors via orientation or a passthrough to an outdoor entertaining area.

An appealing kitchen will also be light and bright, with cooking, preparation and clean-up zones positioned for easy access. And don’t forget to add lighting that’s both functional and fabulous. Pendant lights that look like they’re straight out of the pages of a magazine are likely to be one of the first things a potential buyer spots when they enter the space. Whatever you spend on this important kitchen feature will almost certainly pay off.

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