Top 5 in Real Estate Network® Members are dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date, helpful real estate information. This monthly newsletter, "Real Estate Matters," offers articles on a range of topics that will inform you in your real estate pursuits.

Fast Ways to Update Your Kitchen, Increase Value

While there are many different variables that contribute to selling a home, during the course of my real estate career, I have witnessed one constant: the kitchen.
Today, the kitchen has become more of a multi-functional space than ever before, where cooking happens alongside bill paying and homework, not to mention the kitchen’s role as social hub for family and friends. That’s why it’s more important than ever to buyers and sellers alike that this key room be fresh and inviting.
While home improvement experts report that kitchen remodels provide anywhere from an 80-100% return on investment, based on my years of experience working with homeowners, I have found that just by updating certain aspects, the entire look and feel of the kitchen can be refreshed and modernized—and your home’s value increased in the process.

As design expert Melissa Birdsong, vice president for Trend, Design & Brand at Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (www.lowes.com), says, if the kitchen is outdated and tired, the whole house can feel that way; a few simple updates can make all the difference in getting the green light on the buying decision. So whether you want to update your kitchen for your own lifestyle enhancement or to help move it off the market, try these tips from Birdsong:

1. Color and light are the easiest, most cost-efficient elements to add personality and ambience to the kitchen. Use your vegetable bin and spice cabinet for inspiration! A scheme of natural greens, yellows, mustards and russets washed with dimmable overhead and under-cabinet lighting can add energy as well as create a level of calm.

2. If the existing cabinets
are sturdy but the finish is sending out a distress signal, a well-executed paint job can turn it around. Mismatched appliances and worn flooring are other leading visual cues, so if the budget permits, replace them.

3. Last but not least, add sparkle
and a new point of view to the kitchen by replacing the metals palette--cabinet hardware, faucet, lighting and outlet covers. A few thoughtfully chosen, simple finish updates can seal the deal.

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