Realtor Danielle Gillespie

Meet Realtor Danielle Gillespie | Gillespie Group Real Estate | Carolina One Properties

We reached out to one of our Area’s Top Realtors, Danielle Gillespie, with our Kitchen and Bath Q&A. We asked Danielle to weigh in with local real estate market insight on what you can do in the kitchen and bath to add value to your property!

Discover what she said will make (or sometimes break!) a deal.

Realtor servicing Brunswick County

Danielle Gillespie

Danielle Gillespie has helped clients buy, sell and invest in real real estate across Brunswick County. With a Bachelor’s in Business Marketing, an MBA in Finance, and hundreds of transactions under her belt, Danielle has the expertise to keep a close eye on the latest developments in the local market. She uses her expertise in negotiation to achieve the most favorable outcome for her clients.

As one of Wilmington’s Top 300 agents, Danielle specializes in new construction, income-producing short-term rentals, and beach homes.

NC Coastal Kitchen

Kitchen and Bath Q&A with Danielle Gillespie

What is the #1 feature in a kitchen that really captures a buyer's attention during a showing?

The kitchen is one of the most favorite and sought-after parts of a home. It is commonly referred to as the “heart” of the home and buyers often weigh this heavily when deciding to buy or build a house. It is a space that can be a total deal breaker when searching for a home if it does not have specific buyer criteria already in place. It’s the #1 most remodeled or updated part of a previously loved home. There are many areas of a kitchen that make a large impact on a buyer’s decision to purchase such as cabinet color, countertops, flow, natural light, etc. Although it’s hard to say which part of the kitchen is the #1 feature that captures a buyer’s attention, I think it is fair to say that cabinetry plays a huge part in a buyer’s decision. Cabinets are a huge statement piece, they are often the first place the eyes will wonder and they are not cheap to remodel. It can also be very costly to refinish and entertaining a DIY paint job can be very tedious and often imperfect.”

What should someone looking to do a kitchen renovation think about for resale?

“If you’re planning a kitchen renovation with resale value in mind, there are a few key things to consider.
Keep it classic. When it comes to design choices, it’s usually best to stick with classic styles and finishes that are unlikely to go out of style. While it’s fun to follow the latest trends, keep in mind that these can quickly become dated and turn off potential buyers. Something clean, airy, and neutral will allow a buyer to envision themself in the space and allow them to put their own touch on it
Focus on functionality. A tiled walk-in shower is one of those areas in a primary bathroom that make people go “ooooh”. A well-designed and functional kitchen is always a selling point. Consider adding features like ample counter space, good storage, and quality appliances that will make cooking and meal prep a breeze. If you lack pantry space then consider adding more cabinets whether on the walls or within an island. Appliances are also a statement piece. Matching appliances make a big impact especially when they are sleek in design. Buyers can tell when the appliances were the cheapest on the floor – opt for something a little nicer. Consider glass tops and backless ranges especially if there is a backsplash involved.
Optimize layout. If possible, try to create an open floor plan that flows well into other living spaces. Many buyers prefer this type of layout as it feels more spacious and allows for easier entertaining.
Add natural light. Bright and airy kitchens are always a hit with buyers. If possible, consider adding windows to let in natural light. If that’s not an option, make sure to have ample lighting in the kitchen to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Use higher-quality materials. When choosing materials for your renovation, invest in a nicer option than your low-grade discount house options. This includes things like countertops, flooring, and cabinetry. Again, a buyer can tell when corners were cut and the cheapest material was used. It’s often what many home flippers will use and they are easy to point out.
Stay within budget. While it’s important to create an appealing and functional space, it’s also essential to stay within a reasonable budget. Keep in mind that you’re renovating with resale value in mind, so don’t overspend on features that may not add much to the home’s value. If some of these options aren’t necessary to your space or not possible within the budget, consider some lower-cost items that make a big impact.
Low-cost updates. Light fixtures are a great way to update the space at a low cost. Ditch the outdated overhead fluorescent light and opt for can lights or a cool pendant light. Change out your cabinet hardware. Something modern or trendy can make a nice statement without having to redo everything. Faucets are also a lower-cost item that can be updated to make a statement in the kitchen.”

Think about one of the best kitchens you've ever seen in Brunswick County. What did it have and why did you like it?

There was this one dreamy kitchen I previewed in Brunswick County that you could just tell was a true custom kitchen. From the cabinets to the countertops that were hand chosen, to the appliance package and light fixtures, there was no detail that went unnoticed. You can tell when custom cabinets have been installed in a home. The detail to the craftsmanship, the soft close, the size and intention of each drawer.

A few custom cabinet features I just love are large drawers near a stove for pots and pans, a pull-out spice rack so you don’t need to take up a cabinet, and a wide drawer near the stove for all your cooking utensils. A beautiful countertop can also make a huge impression like this one. There are so many pieces of stone that look similar but when you have the opportunity to pick out your own slab and you can see all the different variations of the graining and or colors you can really customize the space and bring everything together, much like this kitchen did. It had a white quartz countertop with the most beautiful graining all throughout.

This particular kitchen was spacious and had many intentional parts such as a designated space for a coffee and wine bar. The perfect little setup with an espresso maker and all the essentials, a wine chiller, and plenty of drawer space to hide all the smaller needed items.

Beautiful light fixtures also make a big impact. This particular kitchen had these beautiful pendant lights over the bar that captured your attention immediately to the space. They had another light fixture over the kitchen sink and window that pulled everything together as well as under cabinet lighting that allowed the space to feel lit up and was so bright that it was practically glowing. “

What upgrades do buyers love to see in a master bathroom?

Buyers absolutely love to see a tiled walk-in shower with oversized shower heads and updated vanities. We are in an era of wanting the feel of a spa-like experience when getting ready in the morning or winding down at night. Having a walk-in shower that is tiled gives a luxurious feel and looks beautiful in the space. It opens it up and is fun to accentuate the space with beautiful tile finished with glass doors. Not to mention cleaning tile is much easier and over time stays cleaner versus a traditional fiberglass tub-shower combo that will dull, fade and stain over time. Also, an updated vanity can totally change the space. Depending on the size of the bathroom, something simple and unique can make the room feel larger and cleaner while having a larger bathroom with beautiful cabinetry and surface space will give more room for storage and a luxury feel. It’s also fun to change out the hardware pieces and faucets which can be simple changes that make a big impact.”

What bath upgrades would you recommend for homeowners thinking about selling?

A tiled walk-in shower is one of those areas in a primary bathroom that make people go “ooooh”. It’s easily recognized as an upgrade from your traditional fiberglass tub/shower combo and it makes people want to see more of the home. By upgrading the shower you are giving the bathroom space a luxurious feel, that spa-like look and feel that so many people are seeking. Not to mention the functionality and ease of use, cleaning, and ability to please so many different buyer needs. If your home only has 1 bathroom then you may want to consider keeping a tub of some sort and maybe doing a tub insert with tile surround as having at least 1 tub is important in a home. But if the primary bedroom has its own private bath then consider the tiled walk-shower as an important upgrade.”

If you are building a new home today, what must your kitchen have?

A kitchen island, plenty of natural light, an open flow for an easy entertaining and family gathering, and plenty of cabinet or pantry space.

    • A kitchen island is a staple for giving you that counter space you need if cooking is a favored activity in the home. Having plenty of counter space makes cooking much more enjoyable, and efficient and in my opinion, make the clean-up easier as you can simply wipe down the whole island versus fighting with the nooks and crannies of your countertop appliances. It’s also a great place for people to sit and chit chat as well as a casual space for everyday dining.
    • Natural light in the home makes it feel airy, spacious, and brighter which overall gives a positive effect on the space. If anything, having a window over the kitchen sink brings in some of that light.
    • An open flow allows for cooking and prep to happen simultaneously as family members can relax and unwind in the living room but still be able to converse and spend time together with the one(s) in the kitchen.

What does a short-term rental need in a kitchen to command more bookings?

  • Amenities! Think about all the things you use on a daily basis that make your life easier in the kitchen- your guests want those too! First- appliances. To be able to accommodate your coffee drinkers, I always recommend having multiple types of coffee brewers. This could be a traditional drip brewing coffee pot most people are used to that can accommodate multiple cups of coffee at a time or a solo cup maker like a Keurig. If your space calls for it then something more chic such as a pourover might be a nice added bonus. 
  • An appropriate amount of pots/pans and cooking utensils. Make sure there are enough pots to comfortably cook a full meal in. Not all travelers plan to eat out for every meal to make sure cooking can be done efficiently. This also goes hand in hand with making sure you have enough dishware to host the number of people you are advertising to rent. Don’t allow 10 people to stay in the home but only have 8 dinner sets with 8 places to comfortably eat. 
  • To go along with dishware, make sure there is enough of it and plan for some to break- aka have extra. Also try to have a variety of items such as dinner drinking glasses, wine glasses, cocktail glasses, and coffee mugs. Make sure you have dinner plates, bowls, and smaller salad plates. Think about when you travel- what you want to see in the home and what makes your stay feel more comfortable and inviting. 

What in a kitchen or bath will make a client turn around and walk out the door?

If the bathroom is too small a buyer will run away. That can be a total deal breaker to people and could be the only thing wrong with the home. Depending on how many people can comfortably reside in the home, the bathrooms need to make sense for those people to actually live in and use those bathrooms practically. More people would feel comfortable taking on a bathroom remodel if need be but if the size and space just don’t work then it’s a deal breaker. There are many homes from a particular era that have a half bath in the primary bedroom and then a full bathroom elsewhere in the home. As much as I can appreciate giving the primary bedroom at least a sink and toilet- it almost just makes it an annoying tease to not be able to fully get ready in your own space. Either have a bathroom with sufficient space or not.

Also if the kitchen is small and hidden, this can be a deal breaker. These are also seen as “galley” kitchens. They can feel dark, cramped, and cut off from the rest of the home. People want to feel included, they want to feel involved and they want to spend time with their loved ones. After a long day at work, the last thing someone wants to do is cook alone in a kitchen while the rest of their friends and family are relaxing and unwinding in separate spaces not to be seen.”

Ocean Isle Beach Living Room Dwelling Place Interiors

Looking for a Brunswick County Realtor?

If you found the Kitchen and Bath Q&A from Danielle to be helpful and want more personalized advice, fill out the form below and let us put you in touch today! Danielle has Buyer, Seller, and Investor resources to help you make informed decisions as it relates to a home’s potential for increased value.  

If you are considering hiring a Realtor, Danielle would love the opportunity to meet with you and share her expertise on how you can prep your home prior to a sale or assist you in a house hunt to locate properties in Brunswick County.

You can also visit her at or for daily drops of local market knowledge give her a follow @WilmingtonNCBroker.

As with hiring any service provider, we encourage all homeowners to independently research local businesses. 

Brunswick County Interior Designer Rochelle Grass

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If you’d like to get in touch with Danielle, let us know. We’re happy to make a personal introduction.