Kitchen Tips When Preparing House for Sale

This guest blog was written by Lindus Construction.  Lindus Construction  is proud to have served over 75,000 happy customers in Western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities since the company’s founding in 1979. One Call. One Contractor.

In the realm of real estate, deciding how much money to invest in preparing your home for a sale feels like a tightrope walk. Nowhere is this truer than in the kitchen. Today’s homebuyers have refined tastes and it’s important to create an atmosphere within the kitchen that leaves them eager to place an offer. Here’s what you need to know!

What’s That Smell?

While an amazing scent cannot sell your home, unpleasant odors may send potential homebuyers packing. Run the garbage disposal as needed and empty trash bins prior to a showing. Create a pleasant lingering scent by baking cookies or using a vase of fresh cut flowers as a centerpiece for your kitchen table. Refrain from having a full load of dirty dishes in the dishwasher during home showings.

dining room table with vase of flowers on top
Photo by Lindus Construction

Time to Clean

Whether you do it yourself of hire a pro, a key component to selling your home is a sparkling clean kitchen. This includes cleaning the sink, countertops, floors, appliances and cabinets. Don’t forget the interior of cabinets and drawers. Prospective homebuyers are likely inspecting them for cleanliness and evaluating them for spaciousness. At a minimum, polish hardware. Changing outdated hardware could be a game-changer.  

Banish Clutter

While your norm may be a countertop full of small appliances and cookbooks, all potential homebuyers see is chaos. Eliminate all unnecessary items from the kitchen counter to establish order and make the space seem as large as possible. Stow away sponges and dish soap. Take down refrigerator magnets, and remove collections you have displayed on top of your cabinets.

Embrace Light

A kitchen can appear dingy without ample lighting. Craft an inviting atmosphere by cleaning windows and leaving shades open. Create an illusion of illumination and space with a strategically-placed mirror. A clamp lamp or undercabinet lighting can be utilized for spots in need of additional lighting. Evaluate the wattage of the bulbs currently in your kitchen and replace anything below 60 watts.

Photo by Lindus Construction

Replace Appliances

If your kitchen appliances are outdated or in bad shape, it’s wise to consider replacing them. Appliances in varying finishes can dissuade prospective homebuyers. New burner grates on a range enhance its appearance without incurring the cost of a brand-new unit. Be sure that the interior of your oven and dishwasher are pristine, as it’s highly probable potential buyers will open them for a closer look.

Stage the Island

An adequate number of chairs around the island helps potential buyers visualize entertaining friends and family. But take care not to place too many chairs around an island, which can make it feel crowded. Staging the kitchen island with placemats, wine glasses and a floral arrangement creates a homey vibe.

What made you fall in love with your kitchen? Let us know in the comments section.

Featured image via Café

What Refrigerator Noises Are Normal?

Image: maxabout.com

If you’ve replaced your refrigerator within the last several years, your shiny new model might be making its presence known in noisier way.

Why?

For one, foam insulation — often used to make these appliances more energy-efficient — lacks the sound-baffling capabilities of fiberglass insulation incorporated into previous energy hogs.

Here’s some other “normal” sounds to expect, along with their abnormal counterparts:

Evaporator coil

A boiling, surging or gurgling sound as the compressor starts and stops. Also, a pop as the evaporator expands and contracts after defrosting.

Evaporator fan

The sound of air being forced through the unit is normal, but a continuous ticking or even intermittent squealing is abnormal.

Defrost heater

Sizzling or hissing sound from water dropping onto the heater during defrost cycle

Compressor

Newer fridges’ compressors are much more efficient and run much faster, giving off a high-pitched hum, whine or pulse. But watch out for clicking during start up (especially if the lights dim), banging or knocking during start or stop, a ping or snap followed by the compressor stopping.

Cold control and defrost timer

A snapping or ticking sound as the refrigerator turns on and off

Plastic liner

Cracking or popping as the temperatures change

Drain pan

Running water during or after the defrost cycle

Water valve

Buzzing, clicking or running water as the icemaker fills or water is dispensed

Icemaker

Cracking of ice and cubes dropping into the bin

Condenser fan

Air being forced over the condenser is normal, but squealing from the motor is abnormal.

Condenser

You should hear a surging or gurgling sound from the flow of refrigerant when the compressor runs, but an improperly placed drain pan could cause rattling.

If the normal sounds bother you, consider a piece of rubber-backed carpet for underneath the fridge. You could even put sound absorbing materials inside the cabinet if the refrigerator sits in an enclosure.

10 Sneaky Ways You’re Wasting Money in the Kitchen

You bought your kitchen appliances on sale. Bonus: they’re Energy Star, so you’ll save money in water and energy costs.

But did you ever think that the way you use your appliances can really affect your utility bills?

Here are 10 energy-wasting choices to avoid:

1. Making your dishwasher heat up cold water

Run hot tap water before you run your dishwasher it doesn’t have to heat up the water as long.

2. Setting your refrigerator and freezer too cold

Your fridge section should be set at 37 degrees to 40 degrees, and your freezer section should be set at 5 degrees. A deep freeze should be set at zero degrees.

3. Using an uncovered pot to boil water

Think of all the heat  — and time — lost without a cover on  a pot of heated water. Instead, a cover traps the energy in.

4. Selecting “Heat Dry” on your dishwasher

If you don’t wash a lot of plastic dishes, or lots of dishes in general, choose the “Air Dry” setting or simply prop your dishwasher door open after the rinse cycle.

5. Leaving foods uncovered in the refrigerator

Uncovered foods release moisture, causing the compressor to work harder. Instead, cover all liquids and foods.

6. Prewashing your dishes

Not only will it decrease the effectiveness of your dishwasher detergent, prewashing your dishes is unnecessary and wastes water. Just scrape off the big pieces of food.

7. Ignoring the gasket on your refrigerator

Close your refrigerator door over a piece of paper or dollar bill so it’s half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull it out easily, your door seals aren’t airtight.

Try moistening the gasket with a thin layer of Vaseline, which should create a better seal. If that doesn’t do the trick, you might need to replace the gasket altogether.

8. Cooking with dirty burners and drip pans

Clean burners and drip pans will reflect the heat better, cooking your food faster and saving you energy.

9. Placing small pans on bigger burners

Match pans to the size of the element. Otherwise, you’re using energy to heat a bigger burner only to let it escape around the sides of the smaller pot or pan.

10. Barely stocking your refrigerator

It seems backwards, but a full refrigerator holds temperature better than a poorly stocked refrigerator. Just don’t pack food so tight as to block the airflow.

How To Clean and Season a Griddle

Cast iron pans and griddles are often passed down in families, becoming more and more seasoned. And you can taste the difference in the food.

We recently learned that some Wolf appliance owners panic a little when their griddle starts turning more brown than silver. But that is what it’s supposed to look like. For a perfect season, follow this advice.

How To Season Griddle

You want to season the griddle before ever using it. Pour 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil or peanut oil (not olive oil!) per 11 inches in the center. Spread the oil with a dry paper towel.

Turn the griddle on to 350 degrees and heat the oil until it begins to smoke. Then turn off the heat, wait until the griddle is cool enough to touch and wipe the excess oil off with a paper towel.

Repeat.

How To Clean Griddle

Now, to clean the griddle, pour sparkling water on it while it’s hot. Excess oil and food scraps will bubble up and off.  Use a metal spatula to scrape everything off.

Once the griddle’s clean, pour a teaspoon of vegetable oil or peanut oil on the surface and spread it with another dry paper towel to reseason it.

What are your best seasoning tips? Share them in the comments.

HOW TO: Clean a stove top

You probably already know you’re supposed to use special stove top cleaner for your smooth- or glass-top range or cook top to keep it looking new.

It looks like Soft Scrub (pale and creamy-textured), but it works like wax, restoring a shiny finish without streaks left from soap and water.

Most customers who come into our store stock up on this stuff because nothing else works quite like it for the day-to-day clean ups.

Like I said, you probably already knew that. But this tip usually makes customers think we’re nuts: straight-edge razor blades.

razor

The sneakiest weapon in your appliance cleaning arsenal.

Using a sharp object to clean glass might sound strange, but wait until you see it scrape off those old “burns” you got from over-boiling water. Just be careful with your fingers and keep the razor at an angle so it doesn’t scratch the top.

As for getting rid of brownish stains, my sister/salesperson, Angela Warner, swears by Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Have you used a razor blade to clean your range top? Or do you have another great cleaning move you swear by? Leave a comment!