Dream Kitchen Draws in Buyers
If you’ve made improvements to your home that may not appeal to the average buyer, don’t fret. Instead of modifying your renovation or lowering your price, embrace your labor of love. Then go out and find those not-so-average buyers who would appreciate what you’ve done to your home.
Linda Albright and her husband did just that. “We built a fairly expensive kitchen,” says Albright, who lives in Dallas. “We are both foodies at heart and have dabbled a bit in catering. We love to cook for other people, and we love to showcase our culinary skills and our kitchen.”
Which explains why the Albrights splurged for a cooking setting that would be the envy of any wannabe – and in some cases, professional – chef.
“Cooking is a passion for us, so it didn’t seem so outrageous to spend $6,000 on an oven that we knew would cook things perfectly,” says Albright. “And the amount of money we spent on wine storage would probably make most people blush, but we love it.”
Albright says she assumes the improvements she and her husband made to their kitchen cost nearly $85,000, which she considers a small price for the amount of happiness she has received from her culinary surroundings. “We have shared so much joy with each other and our friends in our kitchen and dining room,” says Albright. “It’s a true gathering place.”
When it came time to sell their home – the Albrights needed a residence on one level, as managing the stairs was proving to become more difficult as they aged – prospective real estate agents told them not to expect a return on their kitchen investment. That’s when they decided to sell their home on their own and set out to find a particular set of buyers.
“This city is filled people who love to cook and with people who have the money to invest in that love of cooking. The agents just wanted to ignore that fact,” says Albright. “But we believed there was a buyer who would appreciate it as is. We spread the word with our friends and family, and included a few of the chefs we know in on our emails about the house and about the sale.”
When the couple listed the home, they were up front about what they considered the house’s best asset. “We used to write things like ‘foodie’s paradise’ or ‘the kitchen of your dreams’ at the beginning of any ad or brochure we would create,” says Albright. “We didn’t run from the amazing kitchen we built, like so many people told us to. We embraced it with open arms.”
Eventually, potential buyers did, as well. “We started getting calls from retired chefs and a few foodies who wanted to see the house, most of them just being curious,” says Albright. “But then we started seeing some serious clients, especially people in our demographic – a working husband and a fortunate stay-at-home wife, both of whom were interested in food preparation and serving.”
Ultimately, the house was sold to a young couple who loved to cook and who took on the kitchen as an investment. “The wife didn’t have a full-time job. She told us she and her husband had always talked about starting a small catering business, and our kitchen offered them everything they needed,” Albright says. “Now the kitchen we used to create so much happiness for us is going to be used to create happiness for others.”
Read more: What turns house hunters into home buyers