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Upgrading your kitchen can pay off big when it comes time to sell your home. Here's where you should focus your efforts.

The average cost of a kitchen upgrade is around $26,000, according to Home Advisor. Gulp, indeed. Sad to say, most homeowners can't afford to spring for that when planning upgrades so they can sell their homes.

But the kitchen is the room that can make or break a sale. As you plan to list your home among Wheeling homes for sale, you should definitely figure on some upgrades to the kitchen so it will look fresh and modern. Gungy and dark just won't do. At the same time, you don't want to invest more than you can recoup.

Our real estate agents can advise you about what sort of kitchen upgrades can help sell your home. Let's look at a few.

  1. Clean it up.
    Before you make any changes, clean the kitchen thoroughly. Be sure to go after those hard-to-get-at places, like behind the faucets, between the range and the cabinets, and the dust bunnies collected on the refrigerator grill. If you have grout, go online according to type of grout and find out how to clean it. Is your oven hopeless? Give the self-cleaning feature a try. Also, remove unnecessary clutter from the countertops, putting things away, or else getting rid of all those dishes and pans, medicine bottles, and other any items you never use.

  2. Go quartz with your countertops.
    Countertops need replacing? Forget tile (no one wants to clean grout), laminate, marble, and granite. Quartz is durable, environmentally friendly, less porous than marble, so less likely to stain, and it comes in many colors and designs. Granite, truth to tell, looks more natural, but costs more. However, quartz is resistant to staining, while granite is more resistant to heat.

  3. Replace your backsplash with neutral colors.
    Choose neutral, clean colors to pair the backsplash with the new countertop. Avoid busy, dated-looking patterns or materials. A classic white subway tile makes a nice statement, as does any other neutrally colored tile. The right backsplash can really brighten up your kitchen.

  4. Don't go dark. 
    Dark colors in your kitchen — be it walls, cabinets, countertops, or backsplash — are passê. They can also make a home hard to sell. (Hint: Millennials are not keen on cabinets that tend to dark shades and colors.) Your best option is to paint cabinets a lighter, neutral shade, replacing countertops with lighter colors and designs, and painting walls a bright and neutral shade. Light colors can also make modest-sized kitchens look more spacious and airy.

  5. Brighten up the cabinets.
    Speaking of cabinets, how about painting those dark, dated-looking ones a lighter shade? We recommend greige, or something similar. Use paintbrushes or a paint sprayer. If your cabinets are salvageable, by all means, paint and update them. Neutral colors will attract most buyers. (And don't forget the dropcloth!)

  6. Assess the flooring.
    Are tiles broken or cracked? Replace them as necessary. If the flooring is beyond repair, you may have to have it removed and replaced with tile. Need to replace a vinyl or linoleum floor? Instructions for doing so abound on the Internet.

  7. Replace the sink fixtures.
    Are the fixtures lime-encrusted? It's relatively easy to replace them with a shiny new stainless steel faucet and sprayer. If the kitchen sink doesn't clean up nicely, it may be time to replace it as well. Look for guidance on if you're thinking of doing this yourself.

So, you're all ready to tackle some home improvement chores in preparation for selling your home. Need more advice? Contact us today.