10. Paint. Its so simple, yet so grand. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral palette is a real people pleaser. If putting your home on the market is in your future, steer clear of trendy hues and opt for softer backdrops that will appeal to the crowd. Passion pink may be your favorite color, but your average buyer will beg to differ.
9. Lights. Updated lighting fixtures do wonders for outdated homes- and don’t assume you must purchase new fixtures. Some styles can be easily updated using no more than a little elbow grease and a can of high quality restorative paint. Make sure the bulbs fit the bill by not overextending the wattage limits of the fixture and experiment with several types to find the right color and quantity of emitted light.
8. Floors. Most homebuyers love hand scraped hardwood, gleaming marble, ceramic tile and high end carpet, but your budget may not allow for a complete flooring revamp. Start with updating the most obvious areas like entryways and kitchens, and make sure the rest is shiny clean and free of stains, discoloration and odor. Updating and/or cleaning your flooring is a small task that can pay big dividends.
7. Repurpose. I once walked into a beautiful sprawling ranch whose small-ish formal living room had been converted into a grand dining area. Upon entering, potential buyers came face to face with an elegant place in which to host casual family dinners or tasteful dinner parties. By swapping out tired couches and armchairs with a table set for 12, the homeowners set the stage for potential buyers to envision their own friends and family gathering in this re-defined space. Sometimes, all it takes is a little imagination to bridge the gap between dated and novel.
6. Curb Appeal. A new front door, a fresh paved walk, vibrant and lush greenery, landscape lighting- all add character and charm to an otherwise drab façade. Take a minute, cross the street and view your home from the other side. Pretend you’re seeing the front of the place for the first time. What do you notice? Play up the positives and try to improve the negatives. If your home has great curb appeal, you’ve just cleared the first hurdle in getting potential buyers through the door.
5. Kitchen. Let me say that again. Kitchen. The kitchen is the cornerstone of life for the modern family, and sellers can no longer hide an outdated one behind a closed door. Chances are, if your home was built in the last twenty years, it has an open floor plan and the kitchen is view-able from just about every other first floor location. Although they can be pricey, kitchen renovations are often the determining factor in selling your home. However, seller beware: do not renovate your kitchen to the extent that it dates the rest of your home, unless of course you are willing to go the whole 9 yards and re-do the entire place. Keep your updates tasteful and subtle, make sure they’ll appeal to the average Joe and opt for time tested materials like granite and stainless rather than trendy substitutes.
4. Baths. Second only to kitchens. The same rules apply- don’t overdo it, when in doubt go traditional and by all means, get rid of rust, hard water and other not so user friendly stains.
3. Closets. Potential buyers will open every door and inspect each nook and cranny. Give them a pleasant surprise and install closet organizers. Just make sure your closet plans are transferable- i.e. just because you have a neck tie collection numbering in the hundreds, doesn’t mean we all do. One tie organizer is good, 15 tie organizers are another story. Ladies, same goes for your shoes.
2. Outdoors. We’ve already discussed the front of the house, how about the back? Does your beautiful set of French doors open to a patch of grass overgrown with weeds and christened by the dog? Consider improving that space with a patio, deck or arbor. Add some tasteful landscape and inviting furniture and turn Fido’s bathroom into an appealing retreat.
1. Stage. Homestaging sometimes gets a bad rap, and some people think it’s a little cliché and a tad phony. But here’s the bottom line- it works. If you’re having trouble removing yourself and your identity from the process, hire a professional and don’t be offended by their expertise. Often, simply repositioning furniture, directing lighting, taking down the portrait of Aunt Edna surrounded by her collection of porcelain dolls and replacing it with a piece of art more reminiscent of a hotel lobby than a church basement, is all it takes to take your home from drab to fab.
10 simple steps and you’re well on your way to generating some serious re-sale value.