10 Things That Make Buyers Bite
1. A Nice Entryway
Impress buyers right off the bat with a beautiful entrance. If you don't have an entrance at all, make one. This problem, more common in condos and apartments, is solved by cleverly placing furniture to create more of an entryway. Try a console table or demilune chest of drawers with something over it creates a welcoming.
2. Hardwood Floors
Realtors agree that most buyers are hunting for hardwood. You can bet that of all types of flooring, hardwood floors will have the most longevity and will never go out of style.
3. Fab Fixtures
"Fixtures are the jewelry of the house", according to some home designers. Only the extremely detail-oriented among us will stop to inspect doorknobs, faucets and cabinet knobs, but designers and real estate agents argue that we'll prefer the look of a place that has coordinated fixtures that are a cut above standard developer grade.
4. Beautiful Baths
According to real estate agents, marble counters, whirlpool baths and steam showers up the attractiveness of any bathroom. But if you don't have these luxury items, it may be more practical to address the unattractive aspects of your existing bath.
5. Countertop Considerations
You've probably heard that granite is the secret to a contemporary kitchen, but that's not necessarily what buyers are after. "It's really about the slab," says a designer . Buyers don't want to see grout lines on their counters, she explains.So when it comes to slab countertops, granite is the top pick because it's hard, nonporous and easy to care for. But then again, so is Corian, so are composite stone surfaces such as Silestone and, she notes, with the help of today's sophisticated sealants, so are concrete, limestone, soapstone and marble.
Even butcher-block, which is much less expensive than stone, can be a more appealing alternative to tile or laminate countertops. "When it gets funky, you can sand it and oil it and it looks good again," she says.
Already have granite? Make it cutting edge. "A lot of people are honing their granite now," adds Applewhite. "What that does is knock it down and make it more matte, so it looks warmer and more inviting. Shiny surfaces can look very cold."
6. Steel This Idea
Why do buyers go bananas for stainless-steel appliances? It's the power of suggestion. "A kitchen with stainless appliances looks like a commercial kitchen. It makes people think that they're great cooks," observes designer , "but because the finish shows fingerprints, it's not for everyone."
As far as other alternatives go, the designers agree that in general, black fixtures can look dated, while white is okay for a country kitchen. And some people are making appliances blend in beautifully by ordering front panels to match their cabinetry.
7. Pre-Organized Closets
Just as stainless appliances convince buyers that they are better cooks, closet organizers make buyers believe that they are better homemakers. If your closets are unadorned, don't underestimate the importance of this easy addition.
"They make you feel secure and calm and people need that," notes designer Sue Adams. And while you don't need to use high-end organizers, make sure that the materials are up-to-date. "Twenty years ago, closet organizers meant wire shelves. You can't slide anything over a wire shelf. You can't even put a hanger in some of them," she says. Today's ideal would be "melamine shelves, in bone or white, with some drawers and metal rods to maximize storage," she says.
This organization shouldn't stop in the closet - make sure your kitchen cabinets are orderly, too.
8. Light Up
Floor lamps just don't cut it these days. If your home doesn't get a lot of natural light, consider installing recessed lighting or new sconces, or both, so the buyer won't struggle to figure out how to brighten up the space.
"Lighting is probably the most overlooked, yet the most important aspect of interior decoration," designer says, adding, "In newer construction, you don't have sufficient lighting. The reality is that everyone needs three types - task, ambient and decorative lighting - which allow you to change the mood of the room."
When it comes to recessed lighting, know that the smaller the fixture, the more updated it is. "We used to have six-inch apertures, now we have four-inch openings. And using halogen bulbs gives a cleaner, more modern look," says designer.
9. Built-In Bonus
Interior Designer observes that many buyers view built-ins as "free furniture." Well-crafted bookshelves, china cabinets and entertainment units can "make a home stand out as quality.
On the other hand, says designer, "It can be a catch-22 because some people would rather organize their own furniture. Sometimes it's better to have freestanding pieces that look like built-ins, that you can give the buyer the option to purchase."
10. Grass Is Greener
Are the homebuyers in your area families with young children? If so, they'll be drawn to spaces with a flat, open lawn.
Were you thinking of putting in a concrete patio or rock garden? Don't bother if you're putting your home on the market. "A flat yard is a real plus. Spend some money and put in the grass. It's a good seller."