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Selling or Renting Your Home Soon?

If you’re thinking about selling or renting your home soon but not sure what types of upgrades to make to the kitchen, bathrooms, or floors, it’s important to choose materials based on value and design while keeping the type of property in mind.

Select Materials Based on Property Type and Property Value

When choosing materials to install, first consider whether you’re preparing the home to rent or for sale. Rental properties need to withstand heavy use, so material selections should be made with durability at top of mind. Look for materials that will not scratch, stain, crack, or etch easily and don’t require much maintenance.

When selling a home, you’ll want to select materials that can add value to the property and are consistent with the asking price. Putting marble countertops in an entry-level home won’t pay off, while laminate flooring in a luxury home may be a turn-off for buyers (no offense to laminate flooring — it’s come a long way!).

This edition of The Home Page was originally emailed to subscribers on March 31, 2024. To receive Sarah Sinclair’s real estate newsletter in your inbox each Sunday, sign up at

Analyze the Function of the Space

Selecting the right countertop or floorings also depends on the function of the space. Bathrooms require materials that can be exposed to constant moisture, making marble, granite, and quartz great options.

In a kitchen, your countertop needs to withstand water, food, and drink spills and endure the possibility of pots and pans being dragged across its surface. Although beautiful and elegant, marble is quite porous, making it vulnerable to scratches and permanent staining and generally not a great option for kitchens. Consider adding marble countertops to bathrooms for an elegant touch if you’re preparing to sell the home.

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, man-made quartz is now the top selling material for kitchen surfaces. It is more stain and scratch-resistant than granite, the second most utilized material. Quartz is functional, affordable, and practical while also considered environmentally-friendly as it is created by combining waste stones. Recent improvements in the look of quartz provides wide appeal to both buyers and renters alike.

Consider the Design Element

When updating countertops or floors, make sure your selections compliment the surrounding materials and design of the home. For example, stainless steel and concrete counters look great in modern kitchens but will likely look out of place in a traditional kitchen with a lot of wood cabinets. Selecting materials neutral in color and pattern that have broad appeal is always a good idea when designing for a wider audience. n

Christine Cowles is owner of Styled & Staged Santa Barbara, offering home staging and interior styling services. She is a certified Staging Design Professional™, member of Santa Barbara Association of Realtors and Real Estate Staging Association, and a proud WEV graduate. She can be reached at

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