21 Dec 7 Super-Sized Home Updates Buyers Expect
If your house is larger than average, updating to prepare for selling can be daunting. When updating a super-sized home, one with over 3000 finished square feet, you really need a comprehensive game plan. The plan should be based on what home updates buyers expect.
Larger homes can quickly become expensive to update. However, one of the best things you can do to prepare your home for market is adding updates. This falls into the prepare category of my Plan, Prepare, and Profit series. If you begin updating a super-sized home without a comprehensive plan, it’s easy to exceed the maximum budget you wish to invest. Having a game plan helps you reach all the areas of the home that need attention.
Should you concentrate your efforts in the kitchen and bathrooms?
Yes, it’s wise to focus the bulk of your updating budget on the kitchen and baths. Beware of imbalance! It’s never good when a home ends up feeling imbalanced or looking like two separate properties. To prevent this make sure the updates being done in the kitchen and baths do not cause other areas of the home to look more dated. To avoid overspending it’s best to start with a comprehensive plan.
Here is what you need to know about home updates:
- Time – it will take more time than you think.
- Supplies – it will require more resources than you think.
- Organization – it will take more planning, energy and stamina than you think.
- Money – it will take more money than you think.
Sorry for the bad news but the reality is, for most people, this is a super-sized job and takes time to complete. Most homeowners continuously update their home because their style changes and they want to live with a modern feel. If you have been updating, this post will serve as a checklist for you. If you haven’t updated anything in your home for more than a decade, this post will get you on the right track. The comprehensive plan can be broken down into the following main ideas:
The easiest, most cost effective, and highest impact thing to do is paint! It may sound simple but there are multiple reasons why it’s so important. Paint refreshes a home in several ways. First it adds a modern touch, especially when you pick a modern neutral color. A lot of new construction homes are using light browns and grays with white trim for a clean design. These are safe colors for any home. This also includes wallpaper! Wallpaper should be removed in any communal room and repainted. The second way paint refreshes a home is by removing the daily scuff marks, dirt and grime. Fresh paint always makes a room feel so clean. Lastly, fresh paint gives your home that “new home smell”. It’s really the chemicals from the paint off-gassing, but still, it’s a familiar smell and sends a signal of ‘newness’ to the buyers.
Flooring is another item that should be evaluated all through the home. Make sure all flooring surfaces are at least clean and in good repair. If there are rooms with stained, faded or threadbare carpeting, it really should be replaced. If carpeting is in good condition and it’s just an odd color in a small area, you likely don’t need to update that just for the sake of change. Buyers in the south metro area are pretty forgiving if a few bedrooms have odd color carpet so long as it’s in good, clean condition.
The most visible areas of the home is where your flooring materials should be up to date. Entry foyer and Kitchen floors are the most important. Hardwood flooring is timeless and you are fortunate if your home already has it. Evaluate the condition, do a light sanding or refinishing and you are all set. Make sure the remainder of the main floor has updated, neutral flooring too. You do not need to put in hardwood floors for areas that have carpet. It would be wise to replace any carpeting if it’s more than 7-10 years old.
Window treatments are some of the easiest home updates you can make and should be done throughout! First, be prepared to take down most flowery, outdated, or intricate drapery systems even if they were custom designed. The elaborate window dressings of the 1980’s and early 1990’s make a home look dated more than any other feature. If drapes are needed, stick with solid colors or minimal designs to keep a clean look.
Light Fixtures and Hardware
These are some of the least expensive items which have a significant impact when doing home updates. Lighting and hardware are a great value because they will return on investment. Bulky and loud fixtures and hardware have quickly gone out of style and should be replaced. Your best choice is to use the brushed nickel style hardware and simple light fixtures. If your home already has updated fixtures just keep going with the theme to create a cohesive look. However, if you haven’t started replacing lights or hardware yet, stick with a simple and clean look.
The next consideration in our Comprehensive Plan is to remove things that make the house look dated. This is often overlooked because we focus so hard on updating the things that will be staying with the home. We often forget that the personal items displayed can have a drastic effect on the Buyer’s first impression. This might be a large task but you will see the return in the time invested. This means removing items that make a room feel dated and generally reducing items on display.
Look at each room critically and remove items such as: older style TVs, large old computer monitors, old brown cabinet style speakers, all dried floral arrangements and fake plants have to go, lamps with pleated shades, message centers with cork boards and pins, and cluttered newspapers/magazines/encyclopedias/too many books, etc. If an item is more than about 10-12 years old, it needs to have a ‘timeless or classic’ feel to stay with the home. Box up these items if you are keeping them. It will give you a jump start on packing as well. Having these out and displayed brings a dated feel to the home when photographing and showing buyers.
If your home should sell for $350,000 or more, then updated stone style countertops are nearly a must. You can find fairly reasonably priced granite, silestone or quartz for a polished look. Appliances are next. If your home has miss-matched appliances, they should be updated to present a matching look. Stainless steel appliances are the most sought after. However, black will work as well if you already have one or two pieces. Almond appliances and coil style electric ranges will date your kitchen and keep it from looking it’s best.
Great idea! If your home has a private owner’s suite, it already stands out from the crowd and offers a relaxing retreat. Nothing is more appealing than an updated, spa-like private owner’s bath. To achieve this, first evaluate your surfaces. If the tile is old and dated, a full renovation might be your best course of action. If the tile is neutral and in good condition (including the grout), then a few other updates will make it stand out. I recommend new lights, new mirrors, fresh paint, new vanity/vanity top, new faucets, and possibly a new toilet. Decorating a luxury bath is best done using calm spa-like colors of either white, light blue, light grey or very pale green.
For the rest of the bathrooms, the bathroom vanity tops, faucets and mirrors are the key items. I don’t believe you have to re-tile a shower in the kids hall bath just to get it to look modern. The shower has to be in good and working order and not leaking of course. In the secondary bathrooms, focus on the vanity top, handles, mirrors, lights and faucets. Along with painting and flooring this is usually plenty of updating for the bath.
A few additional suggestions you may want to consider which have a huge impact on how updated your home feels:
Overhead garage doors
Fresh landscaping along the front walkway
A new or freshly painted front entry door
Freshly stained deck in excellent condition
Updated furniture on the front porch
Fresh rugs in the entry way
Modern and colorful throw pillows on furniture
Fresh rugs and towels in the baths
Read some more about preparing your home to list.
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