Monday, October 15, 2018 / by Robert Woessner
Renovation Trends to Avoid
Having your home contain a hodge-podge of architectural styles can be off-putting to a potential homebuyer. For a ranch-style home, featuring columns on the front porch can be as jarring as a log-cabin-styled home with art deco accents.
Each architectural style has its own inherent beauty, so be sure to emphasize these factors. If you don’t, it can be like eating pickles on ice cream!
Hold the rise of celebrity chefs responsible for this one, but kitchens with every appliance imaginable and too much space can be off-putting. Unless you’re hosting lavish get-togethers with a team of cooks, it may be the time to divide the kitchen into segments, like a cozy breakfast nook.
Fake “Old World” Design
By decorating or emphasizing a European style in our home (in particular, the region of Tuscany), we may hope to capture the elegance of the area, but bear in mind that this style has been a form of playing “Telephone”.
Unless you’re sourcing all of the materials (and a vineyard, to boot), there will be something inauthentic about channeling Europe in another region of the world.
If your appliances are white, it is time to upgrade. White may have been at one time a color of choice to emphasize a spotless home (everything shows up on white!), but that’s precisely the problem. Homebuyers will subconsciously feel the toil associated with wiping every surface down, or lingering stains that cannot come out.
In addition, plastic materials can fade over time, turning into a non-uniform yellow. Instead, choose black appliances or stainless steel.
Wallpaper makes a very bold statement in a home. However, that same boldness may put off homeowners, especially if the wallpaper is a cheap, old, and/or common one.
In addition, removing wallpaper is a labor-intensive process that can put off potential homebuyers, especially considering that the removal of older wallpaper may damage the walls and create more headaches.
Also, wallpaper can be a source of undetected mold growth, so stick with paint instead.
There may have been a time when stepping across the master-bedroom and onto a cold-tiled floor may have brought about carpets in the bathroom, but those times are over.
That’s what bathmats are for. Carpets and water simply are asking for mold growth/damage, so tear those out already. Don’t forget that modern homes can have heated floorings, which is a huge selling point to potential homebuyers.
Gaudy Gold Fixtures and Hardware
Metallic finishes can really give your home warmth and sophistication, but if you have shiny gold fixtures and hardware, consider removing them. Gold carries a needlessly flashy and gaudy look that may appeal to some nouveau riche buyers, but most homebuyers find it outdated (like the 80’s).
Instead, opt to replace these fixtures with warmer metals, like polished brass or brushed nickel.
Your kitchen and bathroom countertops play a huge part in the back of a potential homebuyer.
If they’re tiled, consider removing them. At one time, this trend may have seemed modern, but the real nitty-gritty that’s involved with maintaining tiled countertops can be off-putting. Think about it: what do you do if a tile chips and needs to be replaced?
Are you prepared to clean the porous grout regularly to prevent mold and bacteria growth?
Cheap Wood Paneling
Wood paneled homes are beautiful, so if you have stunning wooden wainscoting throughout your home, leave it alone. However, if the walls of your house contain cheap wood paneling meant for a bingo club in Wyoming, remove it immediately.
It instantly dates your home and screams “cheap” to those looking at your home. Worse, it may imply that the wood paneling was put up to cover up larger problems, like a lack of insulation or unfinished walls.
Dead animals on display may not appeal to every homebuyer, so it’s best to remove that moose head when selling. However, it can be popular in certain regions of the U.S., where hunting is becoming more popular (ex. the southern U.S.).
That being said, similar items, like a bulls’ skull strategically placed over a mantelpiece or in a garden, are appealing to certain types of homebuyers.
However, your goal is to make your home an open template.
Simply put, get rid of linoleum flooring. At one time, it was a popular option, especially patterned linoleum that could “mimic” wood or tile flooring. Nowadays, linoleum is almost synonymous with cheap apartments and a careless outlook.
Plus, no one likes walking across sticky linoleum barefoot. Instead, opt for flooring materials like hardwood that are not only comfortable, but also visually-appealing.
If your home contains a popcorn ceiling (also known as a “textured ceiling” or a “stucco ceiling”), you instantly communicate to a homebuyer that your home hasn’t been modernized. Popcorn ceilings were popular from the 50’s to the 80’s as a cheap, ubiquitous alternative to cover up imperfections and cover up unadorned drywall. But to modern eyes, it looks more like a dreary Motel 6 than a warm home.
Removal of popcorn ceilings, like wallpaper, is a labor-intensive affair, so be sure to get it done before your open house. In addition, be sure to look for any asbestos, which can make or break a closing if detected by a homebuyer (or inspector).
Glass Mosaic Backsplash
One of the most common trends from the mid-2000s is a glass mosaic backsplash for your kitchen or bathroom. While it may have looked good then because of its relative scarcity, today it is nearly everywhere. Consider replacing it with marble tiling or plain-white subway tile to obscure your home’s last appointment with an interior designer.
The first thing that a homebuyer sees when viewing a house for the first time is the color: first, the exterior, and then the individual rooms.
Essentially, this “first impression” of colors sets the stage for your home’s other features, including furnishings, decorations, and architecture. If you’ve chosen a bold color on the exterior, like a light pink, you may put off potential buyers that wish to blend in.
If you have room that’s too dark (think dark red) or too bright (think chromatic yellow), the features of the home may be muted or obscured as they compete for visual attention. Neutralizing your home is the best option (see Neutral Colors below), as buyers can project their own color palette to their tastes without being influenced by your preferences.
It’s a very modern notion to have our spaces fit our personalities, quirks, and interests. However, you may want to reconsider the current usage of each space that you’ve repurposed.
Having a garage converted for another purpose besides storage and parking a vehicle may be fine for your needs, but homebuyers may just want a garage for what it was intended. If you’ve converted your garage into a place to run your small business, exercise room, or as a music practice room, be sure to bring it back to its “normal” state to appeal to the largest number of homebuyers.
This is especially true for cities that have limited parking. Similarly, a converted bedroom into a small-office or storage space can be off-putting. This happens because it already puts the should-be-purpose of the room into the mind of a homebuyer and that’s not your goal when selling your home.
Most homebuyers prefer hardwood floors when purchasing a home, even if you’ve went through the trouble of installing new carpet.
Often, people may assume that the germs, pet dander, dirt, and other messes of the previous tenants are still present within carpet.
Furthermore, the color choice for the room may clash with their sensibilities, leading to another item to their mental “To-Do” list when the time comes to customize the home.
Instead, hardwood flooring is a happy medium of a natural hues and the ability to customize. Should the homebuyer want carpet, then all they have to do is install it on top of the wooden surface.
Too Much Landscape
There has been a trend in recent years of introducing the “outdoor living room” as a way to holistically connect nature with the home. Trimmed bushes in ornate shapes, carpet-like moss walkways, sustainable gardens, and ponds are all visually appealing, but there’s a catch. A property requiring regular maintenance may make potential homebuyers hesitate, especially if their future finances are uncertain.
This also includes the recent trend of urban farming. While you may enjoy fresh eggs, honey, and chevre daily, others may be put off by the daily upkeep that animals require, so it’s best to leave no signs that your home was once part-farm.
Hot Tubs and Pools
There may have been a time when a pool was considered a selling point for new homeowners, but many homebuyers realize how much of a maintenance issue and eyesore it can be.
This is especially true for above-ground pools, which tend to take up a large amount of space, create a safety and liability hazard for children/guests, and leave an ugly spot of dead grass when removed.
This is true for hot tubs, too.
Hot tubs are notorious as a breeding ground for bacteria, can be difficult to maintain, and removal from a deck or backyard may lead to even more expenses down the future (ex. rebuilding a portion of your deck where the hot tub once was).
Whirlpool bathtubs may have been at one time considered an item of luxury and a major selling point, but tastes have changed in recent years. Those who’ve owned or used them may have enjoyed the luxury, but realize just how much water they use (between 80 – 100 gallons) and how much space is taken up that could be used for other bathroom features like a bigger shower space or a separate vanity space for each spouse.
Outfitting your home like an urban loft space has long been a trend in interior home design, but this may not be your best option for selling your home.
Minimalist design in this style can make homes seem unnaturally empty, without emphasizing the natural personality of the home that’s attractive to homebuyers.
Instead, you should aim to add accents without creating a barren look. Subconsciously, an overly minimalist design communicates to buyers that the home shouldn’t house furnishings and decorations, something that may be at odds with the buyer’s intentions.
Improvement Trends that Work
Agents, interior decorators, and potential homebuyers.
What do they all have in common? They all prefer neutral colors. Whether it’s showcasing your home’s features without distractions or removing the “personality” from the house, the choice of colors is very important when selling your house.
Picking a neutral color, like beige or cream, helps stoke the interest of those looking at online photographs (just imagine a bright yellow house on your computer screen!).
Let’s take a look at some neutral color trends to help you sell your home:
· Green: A medium range green, not too dark, not too light, can be a versatile color to bring out the best from your home.
Green has a cheery, homespun coziness when paired with yellow, but also brings out the rustic features of the home when paired with an appropriate shade of brown.
This is especially true for wooden cabinets in a kitchen or bathroom, creating an inviting atmosphere.
However, caution should be used for using green against shrubbery/bushes, as a uniformly green presentation looks off-putting.
· Grey: In terms of sophistication and modernity, grey is an excellent neutral color.
It can help color accents stand out (like a bright green lamp or a red plush chair), or it can be the focal point when used as a darker shade to enhance urban-styled furnishings.
Of course, grey can be a bit dull and business-like if not used with caution, so experiment with different hues to achieve the desired effect.
· White: White is an excellent color to make your home’s features pop.
White matches just about every color, whether it’s used on the wainscoting, awnings, or ceilings. However, it should be noted that many shades of white are available, and not all are created equal.
Remember that while white IS a neutral color, it shouldn’t be overused. Painting your entire interior white makes it seem like an unfinished home, or it may be TOO bright.
However, it is a perfect complement to other neutral colors.
· Red and Orange: These colors are a bit of a gamble when it comes to finding neutral hues.
A soft red or orange works especially well for kitchens or dining rooms, where they exude a natural warmth and a vibrant, festive atmosphere.
However, a dark red or orange can seem too “serious” for rooms, especially a master bedroom where it might be construed as having a brothel undertone.
· Blue: For many people, light shades of blue have a soothing, tranquil effect.
This color should be reserved for rooms like master bedrooms, bathrooms, or rooms with lots of natural light, as these conjure subconscious feelings of the beach or a pleasant vacation in one’s memory.
Dark blues can have a stern, ominous effect, like storm clouds or of night time, and should only be used with caution where there’s plenty of light or a room’s obvious purpose (i.e. a study).
· Brown: Brown and its variants are all excellent colors to choose for your home.
From dark earthy browns to the ever-present beige, brown is a versatile hue that’s a great replacement for places where white would seem like an obvious choice. Dark browns give off a cozy feel that can keep a room from feeling too big, but be careful not to overdo it, as homebuyers may make a snap judgment that the size of the room seems too small.
Once you’ve chosen which neutral colors best suit your home, don’t forget that adding a splash of color can bring a room to life. A light blue room with a splash of orange can open it up and play on the contrasts. Try to keep the color ratio at a maximum of 80% neutral, 20% others to avoid having colors clash.
Authenticity is a big factor in selling your home. Many can claim to have replicas, but to feature a genuine display of artisan artwork or home features (ex. a custom fireplace, ornate woodwork for your stairs) is a key factor that homebuyers are on the lookout for.
Bold Front Door
An easy way to snag buyers is to emphasize your house’s curb appeal with a boldly painted front door. A dark red door among neutral colors can have potential homebuyers eager to see what else the home features.
It’s widely-misbelieved that neutralizing your home had to be boring. If there are a number of features that could work well with some creativity, don’t be afraid to experiment. Mixing wood grains with plain window dressing can work, as can furs (real or faux) work well with exposed brick.
This can be especially interesting visually, as it makes features standout or be deemphasized based on your color and texture combinations.
Shape and Space Considerations
Don’t forget about using the shape of the room to your advantage when selling your home.
Instead of large, wraparound couches, more elegant pieces of furniture can create a visual impression of space and utility, which is a proper use of minimalism.
Emphasizing how organizational systems of the house, like hidden closet space or functional artwork, can open up new possibilities of the home to potential buyers can have them already mentally unpacking all of their possessions before they even see another home.
If you have two adjoining rooms with a similar purpose, consider knocking down the walls to create an open floor plan.
For instance, a kitchen and a dining room can be combined to create a more open atmosphere for entertaining guests and family, which is a great selling point for homebuyers. The same can work for a dining room and a living room, creating a “great room” space that can create a stunning impression for those that visit the home.
Considering that a large portion of homeowners will be approaching their twilight years in the near future, having handicap accessible features that can accommodate older families can be a huge selling point to sell your home.
This can include roll-in showers, floating cabinets/sinks, wide doorways, and wheelchair accessible entrances (just to name a few). Of course, there are a number of features that are not only designed for this segment of the population, but are also not off-putting to ordinary homebuyers, so consider incorporating if your home is located in a retirement-age area like Florida or Arizona.
Make It Green
Green remodeling choices are trends that are here to stay. From increasing energy efficiency, healthier indoor environments, and using sustainable materials, making your home green(er) is a very attractive feature to consumers who not only want to save money (including federal/local subsidies for participating programs), but also feel good about contributing to the welfare of future generations.
Technology is here to stay, so expect potential homebuyers inquiring about how “smart” your home is.
Automation for appliances, utilities, and security at the touch of a smartphone can be attractive features for your home.
It is important to find a system that can work in the future, so be sure to find a dependable company that has software that can be updated as newer features come on the market.
Hardwood flooring is a versatile component towards selling your home. Not only does it match with nearly any style, but it also allows the potential homebuyer to stain it with whatever color that matches their current furniture.
Stainless Steel Kitchens
Almost in contrast to white kitchens that we discussed beforehand, stainless steel has the ability to blend in with different colors to create a cohesive effect, while still having the visual luxury of exposed metal.
In addition, clean-up is much easier and stainless steel won’t rust over time, which is an attractive feature to homebuyers.
Don’t Forget the Ceiling
While we cautioned about getting rid of textured “popcorn” ceilings, to create a look of timeless elegance, choose planks or a grid-like coffered ceiling to give a room a fresh character.
This is especially true for rooms like a den or a study.
Crown molding creates an instantaneously elegant look throughout your home, or even in small touches. It can create a centerpiece as a mantle for a fireplace or as little accents around your home, creating an attractive feel to your house for potential homebuyers.