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The Key to Updating

February 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 145

By now everyone knows a house on the market should be updated. To truly inspire potential buyers, a house on the market must look and feel "current". That means not only must it be well-cared for despite the age, but the fixtures and the furnishings must also help the house feel updated.

Updating of fixtures has been well covered. That means light fixtures such as chandeliers, vanity lights, and ceiling fixtures should be newer designs and finishes. Faucets in the kitchens and baths should be the same. Brass and dated styles of cabinet doors should be changed. Other major changes such as dated tile floors, and colored bath tubs and toilets should be changed if the price point of the house warrants it.

Houses should be freshly painted on the interior. If power-washing doesn't take care of the exterior, that should be done as well. And here is the first area of resistance for many sellers. Fresh paint on the interior may very well include removing wallpaper and painting the trim, particularly if it is stained. Stained woodwork in a house where that isn't style-appropriate (generally meaning a contemporary or an antique) will instantly date a house. When potential buyers walk in the front door of a traditional center-hall colonial and see the door moldings and baseboards stained, they immediately feel as if the house is dated - even with the updates I mentioned earlier. And I'll go a step further... trim needs to match the doors. So if the trim has to be painted white, so do the doors. I certainly understand resistance to both removing wallpaper and painting doors and trim. It's very messy if the sellers do it and expensive if painting contractors do it. But I believe it is something that must be done in almost every case. (I say almost because I have found exceptions to every rule. But the exceptions are very rare.)

Once the updating of the house has been done comes the second area of resistance for the sellers. The furnishings must be updated. It's very hard for sellers to get past dated furnishings, even if they aren't tired and worn. And while I completely understand sellers having a hard time understanding that furniture they have loved over the years isn't the furniture that appeals to current buyers, changes should still be made to give them a more current feel. That doesn't mean the sellers must start from scratch. It simply means they must make some changes that will downplay the dated look of the furnishings, which can make the house itself feel dated.

There are some easy ways to do that - ways that don't cost a lot of money. Here are a few:

Remove accessories that speak to a more traditional decorating scheme and replace with something more current. That means the collection of Lladro should be removed and replaced with something that may still feel traditional, but in an updated way. A pretty bowl filled with glass balls may be just the thing. Add texture. Wicker can be an excellent choice, particularly when it is in a more traditional style. Throws in current colors (that will blend with the current furnishings) are another good way to add not only texture, but also spots of color to move the potential buyers' eyes around the room. Pillows can do the same thing. Remove dated table coverings such as table cloths, doilies or runners and let the wood speak for itself. Remove rugs and let the wood floor be a focal point - one that will also help to sell the house. Remove dated window treatments, particularly valances. Leave the panels if the fabric isn't dated or leave the windows bare to let in light and the view. Change lamps to something a bit more contemporary. Even switching lamp shades may be helpful. Replace or remove dated artwork. Replace bedding to newer styles and colors. If furniture still remains a problem, can you remove some of it? Slip-cover it? Cover it with a contemporary cloth that reaches to the floor? If the space feels a bit bare when furniture is removed, add a beautiful silk tree or plant.

If you are moving, you certainly don't want to spend a lot of money on things you don't want to move to your new home. But many of these items can be purchased inexpensive at stores like Home Goods or Marshalls. Tag sales and Goodwill may also be good sources as long as you make sure you are buying updated looks. You may be able to borrow from friends. Real estate stagers will often have items that can be rented on a monthly basis at a cost much less than the cost of buying. And something that may be helpful is to remember that the cost of making these changes to increase the appeal of your home is well worth the cost of selling your home quickly. Just compare it to the cost of your first price drop and you'll see what I mean.

Ann Anderson is the owner of Rooms Reborn (, a decorating, staging, and redesign business serving Connecticut. She is also the founder and Director of the School of Interior Redesign ( a private occupational school teaching staging, decorating, redesign, feng shui, and working with relocating seniors. She is also the co-creator of the Ready2Sellin30Days system which is designed to help do-it-yourself home sellers prepare their homes for sale with less stress.

Source: EzineArticles
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