On the back of yet another addictive new MasterChef series, is the kitchen still king when it comes to buyers falling in love with a property? Property agents seem to agree that the kitchen is still the heart and hub of the home and where owners are most prepared to invest, and where new technology has made its presence felt. They seem to think that while it won’t necessarily add monetary value to your property, it will have the power to seduce buyers and sell the property as a whole…
Merton Croisdale-Appleby at Maskells comments: “The kitchen is the heart of the modern home. The trend of large open plan kitchen/dining/family rooms reflects our modern, informal style of living.
Generally speaking it still attracts the highest investment from the owner and takes priority over other trends like home cinemas or gyms, although high end basement extensions can sometimes have very expensive gadgets such as dance floors that turn into swimming pools. They don’t really add value but do increase saleability by ‘ticking all the boxes’ which can lead to someone paying you a special price. Again the trends are for brand names such as Gaggenau, Bulthaup and AGA – the higher up the buying ladder you go, the more a buyer will insist on a new kitchen or want to rip it out and start again.”
Rory McGougan, of Hanover Private Office says that“more and more occupiers converting their kitchen space to open plan space it has also allowed the kitchen to morph into not only where the food is made, but there is often a more formal dining space and potentially also a sitting room/tv room/ snug which comes off this space as well. in the winter it is often the warmest room too!
The kitchen is often the room where the most money is spent, not only because it is a room where value can be added to a home, but it also often gets the most use in the house so it is wise to spend more here to make sure that it lasts. These days it is also home to any number of appliances and with increased technology these are always going to take up a large percentage of the budget. Also with increased access to materials from around the world in order to make your kitchen unique it allows for what can be a modest budget to increase almost constantly – even a £10m house with a cinema and leisure facility – the kitchen will always standout on a spreadsheet for cost.
It’s all about quality, a room looks very special when bespoke cabinetry and work surfaces are long lasting quality. Not only the materials but how they are fitted and who is fitting them. That and a large wine fridge and a top line coffee machine. What sets the tone for the whole of the property is the quality of the kitchen and craftsmanship, and whilst it won’t add to the value, it won’t take away and will help in the overall sale of the home to the next purchaser. In terms of budget, we’ve known clients to spend well into six figures and in the larger houses in excess of £500,000. Some more savvy buyers or those on a limited budget achieve a new look by perhaps just changing the colour scheme and doors or handles which can make a big difference.”
Ben Horne from Middleton Advisors says: “Kitchens continue to be the centre of a household, it’s the room the family congregates in and quite often it’s the room we spend most time in during viewings with clients. While a property doesn’t need to have the perfect kitchen (and a large number of buyers will replace it anyway), potential for expanding the kitchen or reworking it is important.
Other rooms have increased in importance to buyers; boot rooms for families to keep dogs, wellies and shopping somewhere out of the way and cinema rooms for vast Ultra HD and 4k TVs to be used to their full potential. But the kitchen remains king and the room which attracts most comments during viewings.
Elements buyers appreciate in a kitchen include space and the layout, allowing household chores to be done at the same time as overseeing homework at a comfortable kitchen table. Good size range ovens with plenty of storage are in demand, and south facing views with doors onto the garden are very attractive. And wine fridges appear to be standard in new kitchens now, so that we can all keep our 2010 Puligny-Montrachet perfectly until it’s ready to drink.
Kitchen mistakes often come in new developments where corners have been cut in the finish. Inexpensive units are obvious as soon as you open a drawer, which we all do because we can’t resist. And bright colours can put buyers off, even if it is the most expensively finished kitchen in the county. Colours currently fashionable appear to be shades of grey and white, offering a clean crisp look. And nothing can be worse than a dirty kitchen on a viewing.”