If you already know that your home will need some freshening up before putting it on the market, this article is for you to ensure that you invest your hard-earned money in the right places. All too often we have homeowners tell us that they just painted the exterior last month and yet it’s still a very dated color with just a fresh coat of paint. Sadly, this is an expensive mistake that you won’t get your money back for. Or we have clients that have refinished their cabinets but the quality of the work has damaged the surface and now has to be sanded down even further to reverse this the second time around.
There are a few updates that we typically recommend for almost any homeowner because they make the biggest visual impact and the greatest return on your investment. First and foremost, the Phoenix metro area is notorious for exterior colors that blend into the scenery, and although I’d love to fully understand who it was that started this tragic trend, all we can do is try to reverse a bit of it now. That being said, the benefit of painting the exterior of your home to stand out has never been easier. On a block of beige and brown homes, opting for a warm white to give your once “South-Western” style home a Spanish Revival/Santa Barbara facelift will pay off more than double your investment (on average, based on our internal stats and pricing). The same goes for interior paint, it is typically the first suggestion any good real estate agent will make, to freshen and brighten up the interior. Again, white is definitely trending now, and not going anywhere any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still apply samples to several rooms to ensure the white you want to use isn’t too warm or cool depending on the rest of the finishes in your home. Some of our favorites for a home with other warm tones (think travertine tile, espresso cabinets, oil rubbed bronze hardware, etc) are White Dove & Swiss Coffee both by Benjamin Moore, and for neutral whites that will modernize a space even more but won’t clash with either warm or cool tones are Pure White & Alabaster both by Sherwin Williams.
The next thing we typically recommend updating to any home that was built before 2010 (or hasn’t been remodeled since) is to update the look of the cabinets. They are most likely a walnut or espresso color, or if your kitchen was very trendy back then, possibly an antiqued white. In any case, these are all now dated and the first thing a buyer will see is a home in need of a massive kitchen remodel. Take the guessing game out of it for the buyer if your layout is functional and cabinets are still in great shape by having them refinished by a professional. This is a bit more labor intensive than I’d suggest taking on as a DIY, but the impact of the change is worth every penny. We’re mostly using white, black, natural wood tones, forest green, navy, sage, and a small handful of other colors on cabinets these days, but this part is very dependent on the style of your home. I always suggest staying true to the bones but simply updating with a fresher, more modern color used in that style of home today. For example, a modern Spanish home will still have some deep espresso colors, wrought iron details, and archways, but the walls and cabinets are no longer several shades of brown, but rather a clean white background, with a deepest brown for any wood finishes, and simplified accent colors and detailing.
For the last suggestion I will make, this is one that will be very different for every single home but it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. I change the cabinet hardware, mirrors, and light fixtures in every home that I update. It is easily the least expensive and fastest way to update your home without doing much else. Some of the older chandeliers with frosted glass, oil rubbed bronze, tiny lamp shades, and extreme detail are just too heavy and dated for today’s buyers’ taste. The most important thing to remember with all of the above is that measuring, hanging at the right height, and again staying true to the style are all essential to these pieces not looking totally out of place. And remember – if you’re simply replacing light fixtures in your home, do NOT go with the frosted glass and antiqued metal, simply because it goes with everything else that hasn’t been updated. This is a major waste of money that we see time and time again. Simply because it’s new, does not mean updated, and therefore a buyer will not be willing to pay a premium for it. And always, ALWAYS remember, you’re not updating to your taste or mine, but rather to what buyers in that price point, area, and style of home expect, so try to keep the emotion out it.
If you’re feeling like your home could use all of the above but it seems like too daunting of a task to handle, our team of designers, agents, and contractors are here to help, and we’ll pay for everything up front so you don’t have to worry. Simply pay us back at close of escrow and your home is sure to sell much faster and for double the investment (based on internal stats and pricing).