May 16, 2013 § 2 Comments
- Caulk the cracks. Nothing sticks out more as you’re walking through a de-cluttered house than cracks — in the grout on the floor tile, along the baseboards in the bathrooms, in the corners of a room where the walls meet the ceiling — a prospective buyer will spot all of them. A little caulk, silicone, or other repair will make those ugly black lines disappear and make the paint job and floors look fresher too.
- Up the wattage. I know, I know. Everybody wants to save money by using compact fluorescents or other energy saving sources, but believe me, to sell your house, you are going to need light. And if the house is not flooded with natural light from the windows, the agents will turn all the lights on. Make sure the lights in your house actually light up the house.
- Raise the ceiling. Obviously if your ceilings are over 9 feet high, you can disregard. But if you have low ceilings, like in a one-story traditional ranch home, then either remove your window valances altogether or mount them just below the ceiling so that only the window molding and any raised shade are covered by the valance. This will add more light to the room and make the ceiling appear higher. Same with the window side panels. Mount them about 2 inches from the ceiling and your ceiling will appear higher.
- Roll up the rugs. Small scatter rugs around the house break up the visual “flow” of the rooms and make the floors appear smaller. You can have a rug at the entry but ditch the little scatter rugs in the bathrooms and kitchen.
- Hide the jewels. Once your house goes on the market, strangers will be wandering through. That may seem obvious but you should think about it. Make sure your priceless heirlooms and other treasures have evacuated the premises — that means jewelry, breakable antiques, crystal, precious toys, and anything else that you either a) do not want touched or broken; or b) do not want displayed to the world.
Walk through your house from the front porch as if you were a potential buyer and fix what pops to the eye as you enter each room. Be critical. Believe me — buyers will.
May 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It’s spring (sort of) and it’s time to perk things up around the house. Open the windows, clean out closets, and swap your pillows. Huh? Yes, you read that right. Take all the cozy decorative pillows you have in the living room, beat the dust out of them, and put them into storage for a few months. Liven up your space for the summer with fresh, new pillows in light or bright colors in cool fabrics like crisp linen.
New pillows add color to an outside space as well. Here’s one from CB2. It’s amazing what a few summery accessories can do for your sense of well-being. Go Zen, go nautical, go wild, or go graphic. But go get yourself some new pillows.
May 13, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Who says accent walls are so last decade? Not me. I love how a carefully chosen wall or piece of architectural interest can be highlighted dramatically by color.
Here we see how bold color creates a defined outside eating area with all the drama of an interior dining room. Why not! It’s okay to use accent color on the outside of the house to warm up a patio, jazz up a porch wall, or provide a colorful backdrop to a garden. It’s spring. Get out there and do some color!
May 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
If you’re preparing your home for the market (or if your home is already on and just sitting), here’s a tip that might get your home ready for its close-up shot and looking good on the big screen (or at least the laptop):
Take photos of your house from the street and then take a shot of every room from the doorway. Then put them on the computer and take a look at what the public is seeing online.
1) Does the photo of the house from the street show that the house is kept up? Is there stuff in the yard? Are there weeds in the garden? Is there peeling paint anywhere? (You can see the to-do list forming, can’t you…)
2) In the photo from the front door, can you see into other parts of the house or is the foyer closed off and dark? Is there old carpeting on the floor or is it tile or hardwood?
3) Inside, are any rooms dark? Do the curtains cover the windows? Is your furniture in sad shape or is there too much of it in a room? (These are the areas to address)
4) And lastly, is there something in the photo that immediately grabs your eye — and not in a good way? It could be a crooked picture or a sloppy bed. That is what the public remembers from that photo.
With to-do list in hand, fix those items that are keeping your house from getting a personal visit from potential buyers. Selling a house is far more than just listing it with an agency and sticking a sign in the front yard. Make sure you value the importance of photos that show your home to its best advantage.
March 25, 2013 § 4 Comments
I’ll be blunt. The first thing a prospective buyer will notice upon entering your home is … (drumroll please)… the smell. If any peculiar odor is detected, it can kill a deal in the first minute. Or at least knock thousands off the price. So if you have carpets and plan to keep them and if you have pets, here’s my Number 1 tip:
Hire a professional carpet and floor cleaner. It will make a huge difference. Not only will it rid your house of much of the odor, it will make one of the biggest selling features (your floors) look ready for buyers. Some other important tips:
Don’t burn fragrant candles or use air fresheners. A dead giveaway that you’re trying to mask some mysterious odors in the house. The best way to combat the smell is to clean from top to bottom and inside out, freshen the rooms with paint, and remove old carpets if possible.
Dehumidify your basement. Unless you have a completely dry basement with windows and doors that walk out into the yard, your basement will smell musty. Even if you’re not featuring a Man Cave, the basement needs to show itself to best advantage. Make sure it smells neutral.
Find a pet sitter for your animals. Whether it’s a litter box or a giant dog crate, the animal equipment detracts from the selling features of the house. And some people are actually allergic to cats. (Pet owners will not like this tip — but I’m just telling it like it is.) Move the animals to a friend’s house while you’re on the market — or at least for the Open House and the week following it.
Get rid of the dirty old furniture. This is a tough one for realtors as homeowners can take offense. But listen. Would you buy a house with a living room full of ragged recliners and tray tables? No. Remove the old furniture and let a home stager set up your living room to attract the most number of buyers. Your house will sell quicker if you stage it properly.
Tough love means a quick sale. You heard it here.
March 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Who says black is not a house color? Certainly not me. Black is to houses what a little black dress is to a stylish woman. A great way to show your stuff.
Black is both dramatic and neutral. It attracts attention and shies away from it. Black blends with almost any environment, yet it makes all other features stand out, like the crisp white windows on this house. Since the trim on the rest of the house is also black, the white windows and window trim take center stage. The natural cedar roof creates warmth and texture. And the bronze gutters look like jewelry.
Another feature that stands out is the rock wall. The backdrop of black allows the depth of color on the rock wall to come forward — much more effectively than if the house were another more typical earth tone.
The mix of siding materials adds an additional layer of texture. The tall board and batten siding on the high gabled section makes a tower of that end of the house. The shakes on the rest bring it on home.
Yes, black maintains its reputation as the color of sophistication. Even for siding.
March 19, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I don’t often conjure up images of food when I look at exterior photos, but this house makes me think of a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with hot fudge drizzled delicately over the top and a dark chocolate wafer stuck in for garnish. Yum!
What makes this house so delicious is its size and simplicity. Who would ever think of painting a big contemporary home white — and with white trim? The white is broken up ever so subtly with a change in the orientation of the siding. You have to look carefully to see that. The dark brown metal roof is the only bold statement, but it contrasts harmoniously with the white below it. Even the two chimneys have a geometry that complements the roof lines.
But what truly makes this house are the dark bronze window frames and gable trusses that outline the house in little boxes and triangles that finish the design to perfection.
Okay, so maybe I’m hungry for dessert, but this house is sweet.