What to do with that ugly, dated kitchen is a concern for vendors everywhere. Not everyone has a modern to-die-for kitchen.

The out-of-date kitchen can be a real turn-off for some buyers. On the other hand, it may not be financially viable or worthwhile to replace before selling.

"It's an overused mantra, but kitchens sell homes," says Daniel Coulson, national residential manager at Bayleys. "The harsh reality is that most buyers would prefer a spacious, modern kitchen."

In this situation, you'd be unlikely to get your money back on a brand new replacement kitchen, even if you did have the money and time to install one, he says.


The problem, says Barfoot & Thompson agent Cristina Casares, is that the vendor is unlikely to do the kitchen replacement to a high spec. The buyer is buying other than their dream kitchen. If they're paying money for a new kitchen they want to choose their own. "Sometimes it's better to keep the existing kitchen and let the buyers add value."

That doesn't mean ignoring the run-down kitchen. There are inexpensive things you can do to refresh a tired kitchen.

What's more, it's still really important to tidy up, says Casares. If the home looks well maintained in general but needs a refresh, it will attract more buyers willing to do the work than one that is totally run-down.

Make sure there is nothing leaking and nothing broken, says Casares. Clean and tidy really pays for itself when selling a home.

It might be worth painting and adding new handles to give the overall house a cared-for look, but don't go overboard if you know the new buyer will be replacing the kitchen.

If the kitchen is still good, but needs a bit of pizazz, it's possible to replace the benchtops and buy quality handles. A number of modern coatings from Daich and similar companies can be applied over existing benchtops.

If the cabinetry is still solid then replacing your worktop and cupboard doors and/or handles is a quick and inexpensive way to breathe new life into a modern-but-dated modular kitchen.

"Add new tapware and some fresh tiles or splashback and a well-spent couple of grand can make a big difference," says Coulson. "And don't forget that whatever the style of your kitchen, cleanliness is king. If your rangehood is black and grease-stained, or your dishwasher is on its last legs, replace them. Same with your shelving and kickboards. If they're soiled or water damaged, get them fixed. The key point is that kitchens that look a million bucks don't have to cost a million bucks."


At the other end of the scale, if you have an old-style 1950s or 60s kitchen, be wary of trying to play on the nostalgia, says Coulson.

"Trying to embrace decor that's well past its best-before date and pitch it as some sort of retro cool is a risk, which, might appeal only to a small niche of potential buyers."