Style Points: Making your Home Ready for Resale

I have been in no less than 15 houses on my quest to find my next home. While this journey has been fascinating, I bet many of these homeowners would like some information on why the average buyer would not be interested in forking over top dollar for their homes.

Here is my top 10 list of reasons why your house may not sell for what you want:

10. I love color! But strong wall colors do not make buyers happy. White is safe, but also a bit boring. Choose a beautiful and sophisticated wall color that makes even a small older home warm, inviting, and ready to sell. Neutrals are safe, but they don't have to be boring. Check out the Farrow & Ball designer paints. My favorites are Bone, Light Stone and String with a crisp white trim. And speaking of trim:

9. Many older homes have stained trim. I know some people are afraid to paint stain-grade wood, however most homes I've seen lately would do better by having the trim painted in a lighter and brighter color (white, off white, shell white). It really helps visually heighten the ceilings.

8. Mirrors. I'm thinking here of one particular home that was really very lovely except for a wall of mirrors in the dining room. Forget the 80's mantra that mirrors extend the living space. Unless you are selling a dance studio, take the mirrors down, paint the wall, and hang art instead.

7. Carpet issues. If your carpet is old and worn out, replace it before you list your home. In some cases, having your carpet cleaned will do wonders, but be careful of the ring around the room. (Yes, carpet rings will appear on lightly-colored carpets where the carpet cleaner can't reach.) Also, bubbles and lumps, frayed, worn or just unsightly won't help your cause either.

6. Popcorn ceilings. A personal pet peeve. Popcorn ceilings are great for builders, but lousy for sellers. This foamy paint mixture is simply sprayed on the ceiling. Quick, easy, cheap - and if that's what you intend for your home sale - great.

5. Mess. This includes messy yards, rooms, furniture, closets and kitchens. Especially kitchens. Pare down and remove clutter.

4. Inconvenience. Hey seller, if you actually want to sell your home, make it convenient for the buyer to see it. A motivated buyer in this market may be difficult to find at a time that works for you. Consider that many buyers are in town for the weekend, or have many houses on their list. This isn't about you or your family, if you don't want to sell, don't list the property. Ouch.

3. Finishes. Nothing dates a home like the finish on light fixtures and hardware. Brass hardware screams old. For an instant update, consider switching out your light fixtures in key rooms to a more updated oil rubbed bronze or brushed steel. Definitely change lighting in the master bedroom and bath, kitchen and dining room. Fixtures are found at many price points, so this is not an expensive change. It's well worth it. While you're at it, add a few chandelier shades for an opulent touch.

2. Cracked or scratched vinyl floors. Replace individual tiles or vinyl that has seen better days. A current look is better than a worn one, so if the makeover budget is small, you're still ok with the numerous choices on the market today.

And now my #1 reason your home may not sell for what you want - Smell. The first home I visited was at the top of my list given the realtor's description. But I nearly ran out of the home because of the horrible scent of dog and mildew that permeated every square inch of the space. If you live with pets and can't detect a problem, call an honest friend for a sniff test.

Well I've got to run and get back to staging my own home!

Be Inspired,


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