You love your home but when it comes time to sell, you have to share the love. In the other words, you have to make your home be seen in the eyes of potential buyers as their home. That can be tricky.
But if you do some of the basic things such as clearing clutter, creating light, bright, and open space, adding curb appeal, removing personal items (family photos, trinkets), fresh paint, and clean or new carpet -- you'll be on your way to attracting serious buyers. I've written a lot about staging and creating curb appeal so check out my other columns for more on those topics.
In this column, however, we're looking at specific areas that create widespread appeal inside the home. Here are some of the top areas to improve: countertops, flooring, built-in furniture, and old-style attached fixtures such as those big sheet mirrors in the bathroom. However, when making these improvements, there's one important consideration.
Functionality is the greatest concern cited by homeowners, according to the latest poll conducted by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
"The functionality of a home is very important, especially over the long term, as many homeowners in this economy have opted for remodeling over moving to new homes," says NARI National President Paul Zuch, CR, president of Capital Improvements.
So let's explore the areas I mentioned earlier and see how improving these items can lead to greater interest in your home. Countertops are fixtures in homes. So making sure that you select the best material to endure the daily wear and tear is important. If we're talking about the kitchen, for instance, there are many options: granite, tile, recycled glass (for a green option), solid steel, composite stone, butcher block, laminate, and even concrete. Yes, that last one sounds surprising but concrete is being used for countertops and laminate isn't necessarily trying to mimic other materials anymore. Instead, homeowners are embracing laminate's own unique high-tech look. The popular trend is a mixing of several styles creating a blended custom look for the kitchen. But in the end, functionality will rate highest for potential buyers. All of the countertop materials mentioned above have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to maintenance and usage; make sure you completely research the material before selecting it for your home.
Fixtures are an important area to improve. "People know a lot more about design," Laura Kirar from Larua Kirar-TRU Design told the Alexandria Times. These days, quirky, eclectic styles from international trends are becoming more prevalent in the United States. However, push the envelope too far with quirkiness and you just might lose a potential buyer. What's important to know is that buyers are paying attention to fixtures. If you have damaged or worn out faucets or lighting, it's best to replace them before showing your home. Also, replacing those big, nothing-special sheet mirrors with some framed mirrors can add a unique look without costing very much. While you don't want to have to spend a lot just before you sell your home, remember that these seemingly small items can have a great impact on improving buyers' interest in your home.
Flooring is a big interest for buyers. Wood floors are still very popular. Many Realtors say buyers are looking for hardwood floors. That's partly because they endure and don't go out of style. However, if they're damaged it can be a drawback because buyers may focus on how much work it will take and cost to do the repairs.
Built-in furniture can improve a home. Built-in bookcases and entertainment centers can save space and help make the room look larger. However, there's a downside. Built-in furniture isn't easily movable. So, potential buyers will have to really find the furniture useful and suitable for their needs. "It's all about personalization—homeowners want to know that their space can be converted easily into a different space in the future," Zuch said in a press statement by NARI. And that's what buyers want as well—the ability to make your home theirs when the sale closes.