When a buyer is searching for a new home, one of the top features they’re seeking is an updated kitchen. And for a homeowner, a kitchen remodel can bump up the short-term and long-term value of a house.
According to data published in 2020 by Remodeling magazine, a homeowner can recover 77.6% of the cost of a basic kitchen remodel when the home is sold. While that might not sound like a lot, consider that only two other projects — installation of manufactured stone veneer and replacement of the garage door — rank higher for the share of money that can be recouped when a home is sold.
In hot housing markets, a kitchen remodel can be “a sure-fire investment,” often recovering more than 100% of the cost, according to HGTV.com.
Need more proof of the value of a kitchen remodel? In a 2019 survey by the National Association of Realtors, real estate professionals ranked a complete kitchen renovation as the project with the most appeal to potential buyers, followed by a kitchen upgrade. Realtors put those projects in the same order when asked which projects provide the biggest increase in a home’s resale value.
As noted by Consumer Reports, the American kitchen “is still king” when it comes to boosting the value of your home. An important of the king’s court is kitchen cabinetry. New kitchen cabinets are among the key factors in undertaking a kitchen remodel and in lifting a home’s resale value. 
“Kitchen remodels increase the value of a home in a few different ways,” says Jamie Safier, a top-selling luxury real estate agent in New York City . “For one, it can increase the value when you resell your home, with the percentage depending on how much you spend on the actual remodel. If you rent the home out, this can be an even bigger increase for the value, especially for those that use their home for an Airbnb or seasonal rental.”
Furthermore, Safier says, a kitchen remodel contributes to the personal value you gain from living in your home, “which for some of us has no price tag.”
HGTV.com says how much you get back on your investment in a kitchen remodel depends on:
- The value of your home.
- The value of homes in your neighborhood.
- The local housing market.
- The timetable for selling your home after the remodeling project is finished.
- The quality of the project.
“Kitchens serve as the ‘heart of the home’ for many, and whether you like to entertain or cook, updating a kitchen ensures greater access and use as homeowners age, especially when the upgrades take accessibility into account,” says certified kitchen and bath remodeler Robert Kirsic, 2019-20 president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
When it comes to updating the kitchen, it’s wise not to cut corners. A study by the Research Institute for Cooking and Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI) found that 44% of consumers regretted not spending more money on kitchen remodeling projects that they completed in 2018.
Some of that regret might arise from the fact that many of us rely on our kitchens as multipurpose rooms.
A study conducted by the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI) found that nearly one-fourth of Americans spent more time in their kitchens in 2018 than they did in 2016, while a sizable number were engaging in an array of activities in the kitchen other than cooking, eating or washing dishes. Among the non-food activities are:
- Listening to music.
- Socializing with family and friends.
- Watching TV or streaming-video programs.
- Paying bills.
- Playing games.
- Doing schoolwork.
So, if you don’t plan on cooking or reading in your kitchen much longer but, instead, you’re looking at selling your home, should you redo the kitchen? Zillow, which operates an online real estate platform, says yes — but only if the makeover aligns with what other homeowners in your area are doing and what buyers are looking for.
“If you’re in a hot real estate market with many new-construction homes, a bigger renovation might be worth it, since you’re competing with brand-new kitchens. And if you leave your very dated kitchen as-is, you might attract lower offers,” Zillow says.