Clean, decluttered, and possibly even a bit boring. A blank canvas. A place devoid of cat trees, kids toys, family photos and phrases painted on wood. These are things everyone knows to do when selling a home. But wait, there’s more! Want buyers to see the real potential of your home? Here are a few things NOT to do.
Don’t paint the outside of your home bright anything.
Make your house fit in. This is not the place to get your crazy on.
Don’t paint your brick.
Inside, outside, anywhere. Paint is nearly impossible to remove, and most people want exposed brick. Here’s a handy way to remember it: clothes on, brick nude. This is a contentious issue, but I’m sticking to my guns on this one.
Don’t cement over your backyard.
No sports court or parking for 15 cars. Decks and patios are OK, but people want grass and landscaping. And your backyard shouldn’t have so many windmills or life-size dinosaurs in it that it looks you’ve raided your local miniature golf course.
Don’t cover up hardwood floors.
Even if you don’t have enough money to refinish them, rip out that wall to wall carpeting, and show people what your house is made of. If floors were a game of rock, paper, scissors, wood would come out on top.
Don’t convert your garage into anything.
You know what buyers like in garages? Neat, organized storage areas. Not mancaves. Not pottery workshops. Not workout rooms. Consider adding some relatively inexpensive storage solutions, like these from Rubbermaid, the system I put in my own place.
Don’t add an inground pool or hot tub.
Run, don’t walk, from this crazy idea. They are too expensive to maintain, jack insurance rates up, and can be seen as serious safety concerns.
Don’t go overboard with accessibility features.
One walk in shower is A-OK, but keep at least one tub in the house so you’re not limiting the number of potential buyers. Consider removing ramps, grab bars and other items that can make it hard for others to see the house as a perfect fit.
Don’t forget to let in the light.
Ditch the heavy window treatments and add new overhead lighting, especially in traditionally dark areas, such as the basement.
Don’t ignore updating the kitchen.
Even of you just paint the cabinets, put in a new counter and backsplash, upgrade the appliances, or add some modern lighting, buyers will notice the effort you took and reward you for it with an offer to purchase.
Don’t skimp on that fresh coat of paint.
Most important areas: the front door, any room that is not already a neutral color, or any walls or trim that are scratched up and dingy.
Don’t forget to welcome buyers with style.
Nothing is more important than the front entryway. Sweep or shovel the path to the front door, clean any glass, wipe any wood, add a pretty wreath or cheerful arrangement of flowers, maybe even a bench, rocking chair, or Adirondack chair if you have room. Keep it clean, simple, and fitting for the season.