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Home & Garden

Western Pennsylvania Realtors say it's all about the kitchen

Stephen Huba
| Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, 5:15 p.m.
Craig Dennis poses for a portrait inside of his remodeled home in Imperial on on Feb. 2, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Craig Dennis poses for a portrait inside of his remodeled home in Imperial on on Feb. 2, 2018.

Real estate agents have a new mantra for what sells homes.

The kitchen, the kitchen, the kitchen.

More than any other part of the house, outdated kitchens are the biggest turn-off, and updated kitchens are the biggest turn-on, said Brian Teyssier of RE/MAX Advanced, Realtors, with offices in Sewickley and Robinson.

“It's a no-brainer. ... The kitchen is the No. 1 area that people are searching,” he said.

When people check Zillow, Trulia and other real estate websites, they should look to see if kitchen photos are prominently displayed, he said.

“If the kitchen's nice, it'll be the second, third or fourth photo you see. If not, it'll be buried in the back,” Teyssier said.

With today's smartphone technology, it's hard to hide a bad kitchen from buyers, he said.

“People swipe left or swipe right on their phones or iPads. If you make that first impression with the kitchen, you are done,” Teyssier said.

Some of the recommended improvements? New or updated cabinets are possible with a kit from Lowe's or Home Depot.

“White is timeless: It never goes out of style. It matches everything, and it brightens up the kitchen,” Teyssier said.

A new or updated kitchen countertop also is essential — and possible with high-definition laminate from a box store, he said.

“It's definitely worth the money,” Teyssier said.

The No. 3 priority is a tie between matching interior door latches and hinges, and interior light fixtures, he said.

Buyers nowadays want the house that they're buying to be “toothbrush ready,” that is, ready to live in after the move, he said.

Fred Krupp, owner of Beautiful Kitchens by Laminated Products in Hempfield, said he's done many kitchen makeovers for people who are preparing to either sell or “flip” a house.

“I tell them if they remodel their kitchen, they can sell the house quicker and get a little more for the house,” he said.

The most common improvements include new countertops, new dishwashers and other appliances, and new flooring.

“Some people like to put islands in their kitchens and think that will sell it,” he said.

Popular countertop materials include granite, quartz and DuPont Corian. The most popular flooring continues to be ceramic tile, he said.

Craig Dennis, 67, of North Fayette, Allegheny County, took Teyssier's advice to heart and hopes that his renovated kitchen helps sell his house even before it's listed.

A Duquesne Light retiree who is moving to Myrtle Beach, S.C., Dennis said renovating the kitchen in his 39-year-old house cost about $1,100 in materials.

“The kitchen was almost original, except for the wallpaper and some cheap flooring,” he said.

Dennis' kitchen renovation included:

• New flooring and baseboard

• A new countertop

• A stainless steel double-bowl sink

• A new faucet

• New backsplash tile

• Repainted cabinets and walls

• New cabinet handles and hinges

• New GFCI outlets

Dennis said he hopes the improvements to the kitchen, and to the main bathroom, will appeal to young couples, especially to women.

“Two things will probably sell it, one of which is — the wife goes gaga over the kitchen, the fixtures and the bathroom,” he said.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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