Selling an outdated kitchen or bath - when all buyers want is new

Real Estate Agent with Home Sales Palm Beach SL3246893

Real Estate Agents don't have it easy. There's no perfect home if your buyers don't have the bankroll to build new construction and we all know what that means. Endless showings, the relentless tearing apart properties and back to square one. 

If your buyers are having a hard time coming to terms with what they want and what they can afford, it's time to set some expectations. As a professional, we owe ourselves and our clients the courtesy of educating ourselves in the world of renovations. Something as simple as replacing lighting or pitted faucets can have a major impact on the look of a room.




I'm not asking you to go out an get a general contractor's license, I'm just suggesting that you expand your horizons a bit and get creative in order to paint a picture of what could be. One of the more common elements I see in dated kitchens is a trash compactor. Oh the dreaded, quite laughable black hole in what were once high-end kitchens of the 1980's. Back in the day, trash compactors were all the rage. Reserved for the well to do, and rarely seen in less expensive, entry level properties.

Measurements are a key issue with this project. However there is such a wide array of beverage / wine coolers on the market, finding the right size shouldn't be much of an issue. Keep in mind a refrigeration product will be constantly running and will need property ventilation, meaning don't fill up the depth of the hole! 2-3" of breathing room in the back is probably a good recommendation, but always refer to the manufacturers installation guide when choosing a cooler.

Options to tackle the ominous trash compactor... or worse yet, sellers who have removed it leaving the all telling gaping hole under the kitchen counter is. A.) replace it! B.) it's a great place for a wine / beverage cooler. C.) WOW! What an awesome place to stash your trash can! (wrong. don't do it.)




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I've developed a technique with my buyers that seems to lessen the blow. A conversation that goes somewhat like this, "I'm going to show you this next home. I want you to keep an open mind, as the kitchens and baths definitely need some updating. They're fully functional as is, but you'll definitely want to upgrade in the future. The home is very competitively priced which should leave you a budget to make it your own in the future." (If I start to sound like an episode of HGTV, I'll dial it back a few notches if I'm getting that "look" from my buyers.)



modern kitchen in Palm Beach Gardens Alton model homebasic kitchen renovation in Ocean Trail Way Jupiter Florida condominiumNow that you're well versed on the most obvious of grossly outdated kitchen tells. Cabinets and counter tops can be a real deal killer as well. Here's where you pull out the big guns! "Did you know that you can refinish cabinets for a fraction of the cost of replacing them?"

Cabinet refinishing kits are available at Home Depot and online and offer a wide variety of colors. Replace the hardware and you'll be amazed at the transformation.




Take it a step further and suggest adding custom lights, a new faucet, subway tile back splash and you may have sold an otherwise overlooked gem.




If you're still questioning how you can sell these ideas, take the time to explore videos which offer step-by-step tutorials for renovation projects. You'll be amazed at the amount of information that's available. So when your "do-it-yourselfer" clients hesitate, you can share some of your favorite youtube channels and get them in the mindset of this being fun project rather than a horrible idea!


Dated bathrooms are the second biggest deterrent in selling a home. Did you know that ugly outdated vanities can be swapped out and come in a variety of sizes, styles and colors? And with the smaller area, flooring is fairly inexpensive and removing wallpaper is a breeze with a wallpaper removal kit and easy spray on DIF wallpaper stripper




Plumbing hookups are simple, but I always recommend to my clients that they hire a qualified licensed contractor for any projects which could have dire consequences if not properly installed.

So go ahead! It's worth a shot. And at the very least, if you're clients aren't up to renovating at least they'll get a feel for what's in their budget. Perhaps lowering their expectations or upping their budgets!


Essential Reading for Home Buyers



Denise Copeland is a 30+ year resident of Jupiter Abacoa  / Palm Beach Gardens area and has extensive local knowledge of everything from the housing market, schools and events. 



Denise Copeland - Home Sales Palm Beach - Excellence in Real Estate


Denise Copeland
Licensed Real Estate Professional since 1991

Specializing in the Jupiter & Palm Beach Gardens Areas.

2562 W. Indiantown Road #4
Jupiter, FL 33458

ph: 561-308-0007
Home Sales Palm Beach


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Comments (4)

Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Denise. What more need be said, well done! Enjoy your day!

Apr 04, 2020 06:19 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

this is an absolutely brilliant post - many homes with a little updating and imagination will shine

Apr 04, 2020 06:26 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Denise Copeland the proper guidance is what it takes.... and you have it, girl....

Apr 04, 2020 06:55 AM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Denise Copeland very good report about selling an outdated kitchen or bath.

Apr 04, 2020 06:09 PM