Top 7 Steps to Neutralize Your Home for Sale
By Roselind Hejl
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We often arrange our homes to express ourselves - our travels, collections, families, favorite colors and unique tastes. However, when selling a home, the goal is to create just the opposite - a clean, neutral background that many different buyers would like to move into. Buyers must feel that they could fit right in and be comfortable in your house. You can help to create this feeling inexpensively by simply cleaning and neutralizing your home before putting it on the market.
- Simplify Floor Materials
Avoid strong colored or white carpets. Neutral colors will increase the pool of potential buyers for your home. Your home will appeal to a wider audience. Stay within the range of tans, beiges, and cream colors for tile and carpets. Wood floors may be variety of browns. Natural stone floors have their own earth tones that work well. Avoid having many changes in floor materials, if possible.
- Use Muted Wall Colors
Unify the house with the same or similar colors. Accent walls are OK in moderation. If buyers see pink and purple walls, they see work. Remember, buyers are in the process of moving, and are already overwhelmed with things to do. Light colors can be very appealing, but stay fairly neutral. Grayed yellows, sage greens, creams, light browns, and tans are muted colors that create a warmer, richer look. In general, avoid stark white, very dark, or bold colors.
- Restore Cabinet Finish
One of the problems we often see in kitchens is worn out cabinet finish. Consider painting woodwork for a fresh new look. Natural wood cabinets can be improved by lemon oil or wax. "Howard's Restore-a-finish" from Benjamin-Moore Paints works wonders to bring back color on scratched, or faded cabinets. New, updated cabinet pulls are an inexpensive improvement for cabinets. If you have dated wallpaper, consider painting the walls instead of replacing paper.
- Create a Neutral Background
Strong political or artistic statements are not appropriate when your home is on the market. We do not want buyers to focus on these matters while viewing your house. Large groups of family photos are distracting. Collections, trophies, clippings and projects should be put away, for display in your next home. It is hard for buyers to look past these and visualize themselves in your house. Create a clean, simplified background. Within this background, use nice pieces of furniture, books, art and other objects to add color and beauty. Flowers in the entry and kitchen are very nice touches. Find the best visual presentation using your furniture and possessions.
- Clean Wall to Wall
Bathrooms: Clean bath tile with mildew cleaner. Often the caulking around the bathtub is darkened and may need to be replaced.
Windows: Clean windows add a sparkle to the room. Nothing sells a house better than natural light. If your lights are dim, increase the size of the bulbs. Combine indoor lamp lighting with natural light.
Floors: Floors must be immaculate. If your flooring is worn or damaged, consider replacing it. Often clients ask if they should provide an allowance for carpet replacement. Rather than offering an allowance, go ahead and replace the carpet. New carpet will transform a house, and make everything in it look better.
Walls: Walls usually need touch up, especially if there are children or pets in the house. Freshly painted walls are a strong contributor to the value of your home.
Kitchen: The kitchen carries a lot of weight in the purchase decision. Kitchen appliances and countertops must sparkle. Make sure the oven is clean. Look closely at cabinets. Repaint or refinish any scuffed cabinetry. Do not display any object that is stained or dirty. Invest in new kitchen towels.
- Eliminate Odors
Buyers are sensitive to bad smells, and will be suspicious of a house with an odor. Pleasant smells are subtle, but important. Use potpourri, candles or cinnamon sticks in hot water. Do not use air fresheners to cover up bad smells - this just compounds the problem. Remove the source of the smell first. Often, people cannot recognize a smell in their own home. If you smoke, have pets, or cook with strong spices, ask for feedback on smells from a third party. Unfortunately, if pets have used your carpet as a bathroom, the only choice is to replace the carpet. Cleaning does not work. The smell is in the pad under the carpet. In the garage, chemicals that have a strong odor should be sealed in plastic bags or removed.
- Check the Exterior
You may need to wash the exterior of your house with mildew cleaner, or with detergent and chlorine bleach. Often the shady areas have dark stains that will disappear with washing. Deck wood may need to be washed and sealed. Clean out flower beds and add fresh mulch. Purchase a new door mat for a welcoming touch.
Roselind Hejl is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker United in Austin, Texas. Her website - Austin Texas Real Estate - http://www.weloveaustin.com - offers homes for sale, market trends, buyer and seller guides. Let Roselind help you make your move to Austin, Texas.
Austin Real Estate Guide
Article Submitted On: April 24, 2006