Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • May 5, 2018
For the past few months, I’ve been in and out of a lot of homes. More than usual.
A longtime client is looking for a new home and has asked me to go with her to make sure we can make the design and decorating changes that she will need. While her list of “wants” is not unreasonable, short of building new, it’s unlikely that she’s going to find everything in an existing house. So we plan to find a home with good “bones” and redo it to meet her needs.
The wish list includes: Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, three car garage, hardwood floors, pool and a backyard with room for a flower garden. And she does not want to live in a golf community. It’s a challenge.
As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I work with many clients to prepare their homes to sell. Even in this economy where it is a seller’s market, most homeowners want to sell fast and that means doing a little work to make the home attractive to buyers. And to get top dollar.
When selling, you want to do one important thing: Say “welcome to your new home.” Make the buyer picture their life in your space.
Most wanted in a home
Zillow did a recent survey that reveals what buyers are looking for in a new home. Check these out:
Free standing tub
Carrera marble countertops
While it’s unlikely that any of us will ever have all of these in our homes, it’s a fun wish list. Meanwhile, you can show off your home’s best features, sell it fast and move on to your next “home sweet home.”
Many of the homes I have seen have been on the market for a while and it is easy to see why. With just a little work, a house can be presented to show off its best features. Let me share a few tips with you, based on what I have seen lately. Whether you are selling now or in the future. Or if you just want to make your home look a little better until you do sell it, you may find these tips useful.
Home resale checklist
· Clean the house like company is coming (it is). And wash the windows. Inside and out.
· Put the toilet seats down when having real estate photos done. Yes, seriously. I should not have to say this but it happens all the time.
· Depersonalize the house. The animal heads hanging on the walls from a safari may have special meaning to you as a homeowner but may offend a possible buyer. My client could not get out of this home fast enough. And I was right behind her. Having said this, put your personal photos and collections away. The buyer wants to visualize their own stuff in your space and this is easier to do without yours taking up space.
· Think like you live in a model home. Remember how it feels to walk into a model home? You can visualize your furniture, in the space. It's because it's not filled with things. If you have too much furniture or it is too heavy and bulky, you may want to put some in storage or even style the main living areas with pieces that show off the space.
· Lighten up. Say goodbye to the heavy window treatments. If you want to sell your home, let the buyer see it by bringing in some light. At the least, if your drapes are heavy and dated, just take them down so the buyer can see what they may want to buy.
· Switch out the hardware in the kitchen and bathrooms. You know it’s time.
· Paint baseboards and window sills. Get rid of scuff marks and give the room a fresh look. Something good to do even if you are staying in your home.
· Faux finishes and wallpaper may be great for your tastes but the thought of redoing these and removing wallpaper send a client running in the other direction.
· Bathroom refresh. Make sure the baths are squeaky clean. There is nothing worse than looking at a home with dated bathrooms. And this is the room that you may need to repaint. If the tub and shower are looking a little dated, hang a bright new shower curtain and invest in new rugs and towels.
· Red. Not so much. It’s interesting. I do red accent walls for lots of clients who love the color. But a buyer, surveys tell us, does not like red unless it is on the front door. Good to know.
· Tuscan is out. Sorry. If this is your style, great. But if you are selling, rethink it. It’s worth the investment to have a designer help you with ways to minimize this outdated look.
Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail email@example.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog