Is your home out of date and on the frumpy side? Lost its sexy? If so, you'll have trouble selling your home for top dollar. Looks matter, and homebuyers want to see themselves and their tastes reflected in their surroundings.
Just as you have developed a comfort level with your home, and perhaps don't see the flaws, imagine that the buyer will be equally uncomfortable, and will be bothered by every flaw.
If your home is the architectural equivalent of "mom" jeans, you're sending a strong message - that you think it's ok to let things go. When you go for comfortable and familiar rather than fresh and new, you can expect your home to get passed over for one with a little more pizazz.
Many buyers don't have the vision to see past the mom jeans to a makeover sensation. They don't imagine that they can paint a room a different color for an exciting on-trend result. They don't know that they can update a room with a new light fixture or flooring or wall treatment for a terrific new look.
If you haven't updated before you put your home on the market, buyers may have difficulty imagining the possibilities. Updates show them a much lower barrier to making the home their own than a home that's stuck in another era. To them, nothing is working, so they say to themselves, "Let's go on to the next house."
So what can you do to update your home's look? Here are four tips that will get you started:
1. Don't paint the same colors again. Colors date a home. So don't paint the interior, the garage or the front door the same old blue, pink or salmon from the Southwest 1980s.
2. Get rid of old carpet. Yes, get rid of it. Carpet is nasty. Put down hardwoods or porcelain tile instead. The buyer can cover them up with rugs of his or her choice, but won't be able to cover a new, unwanted carpet.
3. Refresh the entry. Replace light fixtures, the address plate, the front door, and the welcome mat -- after you repaint the exterior.
4. Replace old shrubbery. Nothing looks worse than leggy shrubs that were planted 30 years ago in a straight line across the front of your home. Change the drive-up appeal by creating organic shapes for your front garden.
Ask your real estate agent what she or he recommends, based on the feedback you've had. Be ready to take action with new must-have paint colors, a storage unit for your clutter, and staging your home like you're having a romantic dinner for two.
Don't take negatives personally, think of the suggestions as money in your pocket. Because when you act on them, you'll get more money for your home.