Updating a Super-Sized Home

Updating a Super-Sized Home, what do Buyers Expect?

If your house is larger than average, the task of updating in preparation for Selling your Home 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 EXACTLY do Buyers Expect?

Larger homes can quickly become expensive to update. If you begin updating a super-sized home without a comprehensive plan, it’s easy to reach the maximum budget you wish to invest before you have reached all the areas of the home which needed attention.

Concentrate your Efforts in the Kitchen and Bath?  Yes, it’s wise to focus the bulk of your updating budget on the Kitchen and Baths but beware of imbalance.  It’s never good when a home ends up feeling imbalanced or like two separate properties.  To prevent this we need to make sure the updates being done in the kitchen and bath do not cause other areas of the home to just look more dated, more tired and more in need of attention.  To avoid overspending on the kitchen and baths while leaving the rest of the house under-whelmed, it’s best to start with a comprehensive plan.

Here is what you need to know about updating a Super-Sized Home:
It will take more time than you think.
It will require more resources than you think.
It will take more planning, energy and stamina than you think.
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 quite a while to complete.  Most homeowners continuously update their home just 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 and if you haven’t updated anything in your home for more than a decade, this post will help you start on the right track.  The Comprehensive Plan can be broken down into the following main ideas.

Items to Update all Through the Home: 

Updating a Super-Sized Home Living RoomThe best, easiest, most cost effective, highest impact thing to do is Paint! It may sound simple and seem unnecessary to even recommend painting, but here is why it’s so important. Paint refreshes a home in several ways.  First it adds a modern touch, especially when you pick a modern color. Some of my favorite colors for updating a home are Kilm Beige from Sherwin Williams,  Persian Fable from Hirschfields and now I have to add in another color called Alpaca.  Alpaca is a cross between Brown and Grey and is being used in a lot of new construction these days.  Kilm Beige and Persian Fable are very safe colors for any home. The second way paint refreshes a home is by removing the daily scuff marks, scrapes, dirt and grime from walls, doors and trim.  Fresh paint always makes a room feel so clean.  Lastly, fresh paint gives your home that “new home smell”, sure 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 like green or blue or mauve, but it’s only in one bedroom or a small area, you likely don’t need to update that just for the sake of change.  Buyers in the South of River area are pretty forgiving if a few bedrooms have odd color carpet as long as it’s in good, clean condition.   However, when it comes to the most visible areas of the home including the entire main level, this is where your flooring materials should be up to date. Entry foyer and Kitchen floors are the most important.  Hardwood Flooring is timeless and if your home already has hardwood flooring in the Kitchen, Dining or Entry your are fortunate. 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 flooring for Family Rooms or Living rooms which had carpet, just replace carpeting if it’s more than 7-10 years old.

Another items which needs to be updated all through the home is the dreaded Wallpaper Removal! Again we want to approach this from the idea of how much and where is it located.  I would advise that any wallpaper on the main level should be taken down, walls repaired and repainted.  If you have a kids bedroom that has wallpaper and it’s not too loud, (too loud includes any style of flocked, metallic, or huge floral patterns) you may be able to leave that room alone.  Again, buyers are quite forgiving when it comes to secondary bedroom decor. If those bedrooms are clean and not cluttered but otherwise a bit dated, the majority of buyers will not have an objection.

Updating a Super-Sized Home Sun RoomWindow Treatments are some of the easiest updates you can make and should be done all through the Home! First, be prepared to take down most flowery, fancy, intricate drapery systems, even if they were custom designed and fairly expensive. The elaborate window dressings of the 1980 and early 1990’s do more to make a home look dated than just about any other feature.  Note the photos below from a home which was listed for sale by an agent in 2014 and expired without selling.  I then became the listing agent and asked the seller to do a few minor tweaks to the home.  Check out the Formal Dining Room before and after photo, just removing the window treatments, wallpaper border and fresh paint brought that room a whole new feel.  Same can be noted in the owner’s bath photos.

Light Fixtures and Hardware are some of the least expensive items which have the most impact when updating a home. Because they are a great value in terms of ROI, lighting and hardware are items that should be replaced all through the home.  From what I can tell, the oil rubbed bronze style lighting, door knobs, handles, and pulls are in the process of going out of style.  Shiny gold and antique bronze are still out of style, so your best choice is to use the brushed nickel style.  If your home already has updated fixtures that are oil rubbed bronze and you just need to replace a few more lights, that’s still okay and no need to replace all lights again, just keep going with the bronze theme. However, if you haven’t started replacing lights yet, then select the brushed nickel style.

Gallery of Photos to help Illustrate the Ideas!

I’ve included the gallery of photos below to help illustrate some of the subtle changes for you.  I really like the photos from this home because the changes made were not very drastic and were not super expensive.  This was a large home in Burnsville which was listed by another agent in 2014 and it expired off the market without selling.  I met with the homeowner and together we decided on a plan to update her Super-Sized home, being mindful of budget and timing.  I re-listed the home a few months later and it sold quickly.  The first photos of the Formal Dining Room shows that just by taking down the fancy window treatments, the easy to pull down wallpaper border and repainting with Kilm Beige, the dining room took on a modern look.  The kitchen of the home already had nice appliances and Granite Countertops (more about those below) and all we really did was replace the faucet and add some color in the staging. Look closely at the photo of the family room, the homeowner actually cut the tassels off the window treatments as we decided the tassels were making the window treatments feel dated, then we added just a little more color in accessories and staging.

My favorite illustration is the Owner’s bedroom and bath.  Note how the green carpeting which was in marvelous condition stayed in place, but all wallpaper was removed and dated paint colors, plus the ceiling fan fixture were replaced in the bedroom. The owner’s bath was actually just a removal of wallpaper, removal of dated window treatments, a fresh coat of paint and some staging items.  We considered replacing faucets but in the end I think those were left alone.  The last set of photos is really an illustration for painting and light fixtures, the original paint color was kind of green and photographed with hot-spots and the lights were those 1980’s triple spot lights.  Just by replacing light fixtures, painting the walls and re-staging the very same furniture, we managed to pull off a more modern look.  Note the tiny little old TV is also gone, more on that suggestion below.


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 in the home that will be staying with the home, we forget that the personal items displayed can have a drastic effect on the Buyer’s perception of how dated a home feels.  This is an easy task and the return on your time invested is really good, so it should be done ‘all through the home’ too.  This means removing items out of sight that make a room feel dated, look at each room critically and remove items such as: an older style TV’s (even giant projection style), large old computer monitors, old brown cabinet style speakers, all dried floral arrangements have to go, old style exercise equipment, anything tied with rafia, old lamps with pleated shades, message centers with cork boards and pins, newspapers/magazines/encyclopedias/too many books, etc.  Really if an items is more than about 10-12 years old, it needs to have a ‘timeless or classic’ feel to stay with the home. You can certainly put these items in storage if you are keeping them, but having them out and displayed when photographing your home or showing for buyers just brings a dated feel to the home.  If you look hard at the gallery of photos you will see we removed the dated TV from the family room, the small knick-knacks are removed from the fireplace mantle, and the floral bench was removed from under the window in the bedroom!

Finally, the last step of the plan is to decide Which Items to Replace!

This decision is more specific to the main rooms and usually the bulk of our updating budget will be spent in the Kitchen and Bathrooms.  If your home should sell for more than $350,ooo, then updated Stone Style Countertops are nearly a must in today’s market.  You can find fairly reasonably priced Granite, Cambria, Silestone or Quartz countertops and all are just fine.

New Appliances are next, if your home has mis-matched appliances, they should be updated to present a matching look.  Stainless Steel is still the best choice or Black is fine if you already have a new black appliance or two and you can just catch up the others.  Honestly, almond appliances and coil style electric ranges will just hold your house back from looking it’s best.

Updating a Super-Sized Home BathroomOwner’s Bath updates are a great idea! If your home has a Private Owner’s Bath, it was meant to make the house stand out from the crowd and to offer a distinctive 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 really 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 I recommend you overall the bath with new Lights, New Mirrors, Fresh Paint, New Vanity or at least a new Vanity Top, New Faucets on sinks, tub and shower, Drawer Pulls, 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 hallway and lower level baths, the Bathroom Vanity Tops, Faucets and Mirrors are the next big ticket 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.  But 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 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

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to Contact Me at anytime.  You can email me, call or text and I’ll be happy to discuss any specific questions or situations unique to your home!

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