Why Real Estate Agents Are Not Thrilled About Your White Kitchen Cabinets

published Mar 13, 2023
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White Kitchen
Credit: Margaret Rajic | Stocksy

OK, so real estate agents don’t passionately hate your white kitchen cabinets, but they sure do have some thoughts about them. For some, it’s just that they’re so tired of seeing them over and over again. For others, it’s the fact that the long-popular kitchen trend of all-white-everything is finally falling out of favor, making these types of kitchen spaces a harder sell. 

Five realtors dished about why they dread seeing white kitchen cabinets in a listing, and why you should probably dread seeing them too.  

They’re falling out of style.

Yawar Charlie, director of the estates division at Aaron Kirman Group with Compass, says that people aren’t looking for neutral kitchens as much anymore. “Right now we are seeing a trend towards darker and bolder cabinets,” Charlie says, indicating that the previously sought-after neutral just doesn’t seem to appeal to people the way it once did. “Sometimes people can interpret white cabinets as being boring, or outdated,” he says.

They create expectations that traditional wooden cabinets can’t meet.

Not all realtors dislike classic bright white kitchen spaces. In fact, Michael Sadis, the founder of IN•HOUSE Real Estate Group, says he loves white cabinets because the classics never go out of style. “What I hate about them is [they’re] all buyers want.” Many buyers will simply write an otherwise perfect home off if they have natural or stained wood cabinets.  

Credit: Rob and Julia Campbell/Stocksy

Their upkeep can scare buyers away.

White cabinets can scare buyers off because they can be a lot of upkeep, which might overwhelm some people (especially those with kids or pets, or kids and pets). “Depending on the white material utilized for the kitchen cabinet, white will discolor, show dirt, spills, and scratches,” says agent Karen Kostiw of Warburg Realty. If the maintenance doesn’t scare them away, the lack of a cozy, homey feel might. “To some buyers, an all-white kitchen looks too modern or commercial and lacks warmth,” she says.

They don’t make a home stand out.

Every kitchen Yashmin Lloyds, a licensed real estate salesperson with Compass, shows her clients these days is a “turnkey” model with white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and Carrara white marble countertops. “It’s so boring and unmemorable,” she says. Instead, she prefers homes that stick out in a buyer’s mind, like ones with unique design details, like high gloss lacquer colored cabinets or unexpected hardware. “Blue cabinets are getting more popular and so is sage, which is calming but not at all dull,” she says. 

They’re not what a buyer has in mind. 

Finally, the biggest reason a realtor has for hating your white kitchen cabinets: they aren’t what their client wants. “In my experience, the only people that dislike the white cabinets are the ones that have a super specific vision about how they want their kitchen to look,” explains Tom Meaney, a broker associate with Compass

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Why Real Estate Agents Dread Seeing White Kitchen Cabinets