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The Pros and Cons of Updating Kitchens and Bathrooms Before Selling Your Home

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Updating your kitchen and bathrooms before selling your home is a popular strategy to boost the property’s sale price. But how much do these renovations really impact the value? While updates to these spaces can increase buyer interest and marketability, major overhauls require substantial investment that may not pay off.

This article examines the pros and cons of remodelling these rooms before you list. Learn which upgrades tend to deliver the highest returns, where to draw the line on improvements, and tips to maximise your renovation budget, then use our advice to determine the smartest approach to balance costs and added value for your home.

What are the ‘Pros’ of renovating your kitchen and bathroom before sale?


Putting some time and effort into key spaces in your home before you list it for sale can be a smart investment. A fresh, modern kitchen and or on-trend traditional bathroom can exert a strong appeal for homebuyers and can noticeably maximise your home’s value. Consider the following benefits:

Increased buyer appeal

The kitchen and bathrooms are among the first rooms buyers look at. Or, as estate agents are prone to say: “Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses”. The fact is that new, stylish finishes make your home more attractive versus older, dated spaces that could do with some work.

Higher property value

Kitchen and bathroom remodels are commonly ranked among the top home projects for return on investment. According to industry surveys, kitchen upgrades can add up to 10%, while an updated bathroom can add up to 5% to the value of your home.

Competitive edge

Outdated, tired kitchens and bathrooms can be a turn-off for today’s buyers. Refreshing these rooms to match current trends in layout, finishes and fixtures makes your home more appealing compared to other properties on the market.

Faster sale

With the added appeal, it is no wonder that homes with renovated kitchens and bathrooms tend to sell more quickly, versus homes needing significant updating. Less time on the market means savings on your monthly housing costs while selling.

Fixing functional flaws

Remodelling is the perfect opportunity to improve the functionality of your bathrooms and kitchen in terms of layout, storage, lighting and styling, to meet the demands of today’s homeowners in a style that appeals to today’s buyers.

What are the ‘Cons’ of updating kitchens and bathrooms before listing the property for sale?


While kitchen and bathroom renovations can certainly add value, it would be a false assumption to think any improvement is worth making. There are also the following downsides to consider:

Major costs

Full kitchen or bathroom remodels easily cost tens of thousands of pounds or more. Just replacing cabinets and worktops, sinks and basins, tiles and bathtubs adds up fast. A return on the investment is by no means guaranteed.

Trends change

Today’s hottest kitchen and bathroom trends may not have longevity; indeed they could look dated in just a few years. It is difficult to predict what will be in fashion in the future and which long-term style buyers will prefer down the road.

Over-improvement risk

A shiny new kitchen or a blingy bathroom may attract buyers but going overboard with luxury finishes or high-end appliances risks ‘over improving’ within the context of your neighbourhood. Which may mean that you won’t recoup those costs when you come to sell.


Major kitchen and bathroom renovation works means having to live through weeks or months of dust, noise and mess, and with potentially no access to key amenities. This can be a nightmare for you and your family.

Unexpected issues

Once you start demolishing an old kitchen or taking out an old bathroom, problems can appear from nowhere. From leaky pipes to ancient wiring, mould or wood rot, you may find your renovation job getting bigger and more expensive than planned.

Where do you draw the line when it comes to pre-sale kitchen or bathroom updates?

It’s important to strike the right balance when renovating your kitchen or bathrooms before selling. Too little and your kitchen or bathroom may not make the impact you are hoping for, too much and you won’t get your money back. The goal is a cost-effective refresh that gets top dollar, not a total transformation. Here are some tips on where to draw the line:

Focus on fixing glaring issues

Prioritise changes that address unattractive, severely outdated elements that clearly detract from buyer appeal. For example, rip out old-fashioned tiles, floors with bad water damage, peeling laminate worktops, or old cracked sinks.

Keep changes style-neutral

Opt for versatile, classic styles and finishes rather than bold contemporary or highly trendy looks. The more neutral and timeless the aesthetic, and the broader the appeal of your updated spaces, the less risk of your updates being too niche or becoming outdated too quickly.

Consider ROI

Get accurate estimates for your home improvements and weigh up the projected costs against the expected boost to your selling price. Outsized splurges on luxury appliances or materials with minimal impact on value are hard to justify.

Consult an agent

Local real estate agents can be a useful source of information and provide helpful insight on the most valuable updates for your specific area and price point. Make sure you understand who you are renovating for and target your budget there.

Minor touch-ups first

Tackle smaller refresh projects first, e.g. painting kitchen cabinets or replacing cabinet doors, regrouting tiled areas for a quick refresh, changing taps or handles. It may be all you need to do. See if minor changes achieve your goals before major remodels.

Update for liveability

Pretty paint colours are all very well but focus first on making practical changes that improve how the kitchen and bathrooms function for everyday living. Added storage, more worktop space, better lighting etc. all help to take the room to the next level.

Top Tips for Home Sellers

With smart planning and strategic decisions, kitchen and bathroom updates can impress buyers without breaking the bank. Focus on purposeful refreshments that make the most impact on your budget. Here are some top tips to take away:

  • Carry out any renovations well in advance of listing your home, so updates are settled when your home is open for viewings. Don’t start any major work once the property is on the market.
  • Be careful to promote any recent improvements in the property listings to attract interest, but don’t exaggerate claims. Let the renovations speak for themselves during viewings.
  • For quick returns, cosmetic upgrades like new hardware, a fresh coat of paint or a few stylish additions often go far. Even small fixes can make a huge impact.
  • If feasible, don’t change the existing kitchen or bathroom footprints and plumbing/electrics to control costs. Focus on surfaces like cabinet fronts, worktops, tiles and walls.
  • Stage renovated rooms nicely with decor, fixtures and furnishings that highlight the refreshed design and maximise the visual appeal for buyers.