If you are living in your home during the listing process you more than likely are still going to be using the kitchen. It's one of the hardest rooms to keep staged and clean at all times. Buyers typically know you have to eat and live in the home but you can still stage it for fast showings.
When you first list your home on the market and are staging the home in general, staging the kitchen last may be your better option. Make sure the color on the walls is neutral and tasteful. Keep decor simple and not cluttered and take down all nick knacks and collections that tend to fill up kitchens fast. Then remove everything from the counters. That's right, everything! Start with a fresh slate. Go through all your drawers and pack what you haven't used in a month and scale down your utensils and dish cloths. Remember, a serious buyer will probably be going through your drawers and cabinets to check out the space. You don't want to cram everything in the cupboards to hide it. Buyers will think you are also hiding more serious issues with the house.
Once all your drawers, cupboards and pantries are pared down, give them all a good cleaning. Buyers don't want to see hardened food stuck to drawers or along the side of the oven. Clean the top of the range and replace the rings around the burners if you have them. Grease can settle on top of cabinets and refrigerators and create a sticky film that may take some elbow grease to clean. Replace exhaust fans, lights and clean the oven well.
Once the kitchen is spotless, remember to keep it this way when listing the home. A quick cleaning once a week should keep things in order until the home sells or you can have a professional come to clean while the home is on the market.
After you have removed all the appliances and anything left on the counters, then you can add just a couple things back. A coffee maker, bowl of fruit or vase of flowers should be about it. Anything more makes the kitchen appear smaller than it may actually be. Find contrasting colors and build on that. If you can't afford granite counter-tops, consider updating the hardware on the cabinets or maybe a major appliance. Try and keep all the appliances the same finish for a clean, uniform look. Make sure any kitchen windows are clean and allow for maximum light in. Rugs on the floor may make the kitchen appear shorter or more cluttered so you may want to remove these for showings.
For added charm, bake some bread or cookies just before an open house. The smell and the treats may be inviting enough for buyers to linger longer.
For more tips on your specific home and kitchen call us for a free listing presentation. We would love to walk through your home with suggestions and information on how to best stage and list your home or property.