Kitchen cleanliness could seal that deal


STAGING: To attract a buyer, ensure all appliances are sparkling


Often described as the heart of a home, the kitchen merits plenty of attention when staging your house, beginning

with the key ingredient: cleanliness.


From appliances that sparkle to countertops free of clutter, real estate stagers dish on what prospective buyers

find appetizing.


"Cleanliness is paramount," says Ron Sowden of Dekora, a home staging company with offices in Vancouver and



"If you cook, kitchens for the most part are grease factories." Pay attention to cook tops, range hoods and fans.


Give worn and dated cabinets a facelift. "A little sandpaper and a good coat of paint in a neutral colour like off

white, cream or whatever's appropriate for the space can almost make it look like a new kitchen," Sowden says.


The same is true of replacing tired hardware with knobs and pulls in a brushed nickel or chrome finish. Both are

easy and inexpensive DIY projects.


Whether a large or small kitchen, it's important to show usable counter space, which is often at a premium. "Clear

countertops of most items, including small appliances, knife blocks and utensil jars," says Allison Roberts of

Burloak Home Staging and Design in Burlington.


One or two appliances -- a nice-looking coffee maker or espresso machine -- are exceptions but don't overdo it.

"What you have on show should be good-looking. If it's dated, clear it away," says Sowden.


But don't simply transfer those items to cabinets that are already full. "If cabinets are full, potential homebuyers

may think the kitchen doesn't have enough storage space."


You may be surprised to discover how many items have expired or are close to expiry in your pantry. Ensure

cabinet interiors are free of stains left by oils and spices. "Clean interiors suggest a home has been well-

maintained," she says.


Fridges often serve as children's art galleries or your family's management centre with calendars and white



"Clear them of everything -- front, sides and top. Nobody needs to know your schedule or how well your children

did in that recent soccer game," Roberts says.


It's also a great opportunity to show off an appliance that's in good condition."


Don't overlook the sink and the space under the sink, which is often overflowing with cleaning products. Empty the

garbage can and compost bin - it will reduce clutter and keep offensive odours at bay.


Setting the kitchen table is definitely passe. Instead, place an attractive bowl of fresh fruit on the table.


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