In last month we discussed a powerful new tool to help you sell your house, the Listing Condition Continuum. By gauging where your home falls on the continuum--1 if it’s suitable for tear-down, 10 if it’s in top-notch shape--you can better predict both how much your house will sell for and how long that will likely take.
Now it’s time to address the next step: how to move your mid-range house up to a faster-selling, higher-profit 9 or 10.
The New Neutral
In the past, if you wanted to prep your house for a sale, the standard advice was to paint the walls beige and keep the decor bland. Providing a blank palette allowed prospective homebuyers the chance to project their own style onto the house, without mentally stumbling over your purple carpet or collection of porcelain beer steins.
Today’s buyers still need to connect with your house, but they expect something more stylish than yesterday’s neutrals. Think clean, crisp, and fresh. This modern, well-appointed look is fairly simple to achieve, if you keep a few guidelines in mind:
Paint--Nothing freshens up the look of a house more than a new coat of paint. And while it still holds true that bold, vibrant colors are best avoided, don’t feel restricted to an all-beige palette. Today’s rule of thumb calls for a light, bright look, whether it’s in country cream, seafoam green or pale yellow. Whatever color you do pick, carry it throughout the house. A continuous flow of fresh color keeps your home from looking chopped up and creates a feeling of open space.
Lighting--Here’s where you can let your style shine. While you don’t want to go too outlandish, let yourself have a little fun. Swapping outdated fixtures with modern ones will instantly boost your home’s wow factor, and the choices are boundless. Working with a limited lighting budget? Visit your local home improvement warehouse to check out the selections. Replacing a dated brass chandelier with a newer, more neutral light fixture creates a big impact, and it doesn’t have to cost much. Remember, though, to carry the lighting updates throughout the house. You might impress a would-be buyer with the new fixture in your front entry, but don’t forget to change out the lighting on the wobbly ceiling fan in the family room.
Landscaping--Here’s another area where bold is better. A welcoming profusion of flowers, shrubs and ornamental grasses beckons interested buyers to see come inside and see more. Whether you go with banana trees flanking your painted yellow doorway or azaleas bordering the flagstone walkway, make sure this area is well-tended, free of weeds and dead leaves, and has plenty of color.
What Not to Wear
Just like with clothing, the styles of home decor are ever changing. Beige carpeting in the bathroom may have been a hit in the 90s, but it has no place in today’s bathrooms. Other home fashion no-no’s: prefabricated shower and tub units; brass, white, or hammered copper pulls in the kitchen; garden swans, geese or gnomes; scented candles and plug-ins. If your fireplace still sports a shiny brass screen, use a heat-resistant spray to paint it black (make sure to carefully follow the directions to avoid harmful fumes). Lose the heavy window treatments to allow natural sunlight to pour in. And just like with personal hygiene, bear in mind the two most important rules to follow: keep it clean and odor-free.
Call me to schedule a home assessment and I will help you move your home up to a perfect 10.