Color is probably the most influential media we use in home decor - and usually the cheapest as well. Color sets the stage for mood and ambience. This is why blue is so commonly used in bedrooms - creating a soothing environment that leads to restful sleep. Even if you don't like blue, you get the idea. Almost any color can be used as long as its saturation, or intensity, is in keeping with the intended use of the space. There are some other tips that might help you.
1. Darker colors don't always make a room feel smaller. I've seen small bathrooms painted deep eggplant Â that work. I've also seen dark colors used in a way that don't enhance the space. This is a personal style decision that I would advise you to talk to a decorator about before committing. If you don't have someone you trust, you can usually rely on the staff in paint and decorating stores.
2. White should be used very sparingly on walls. "Builders white" was the old safe color (or non-color) that we were told would make our homes more attractive to buyers. Oh contrare! Today's homes will glow with warmth or sparkle with style with the correct colors. We often suggest warm gold tones for living and dining rooms, as they are still very neutral, coordinating with most accent colors, but make your woodwork look rich and the room look inviting. Cool pastels, like an icy blue or pale apple green, are other "neutral" colors that can be used without usuallyÂ having a discordant effect with your other accessories.
3. Be wary of REDS. Too often red is used to make a statement, but often creates a jarring mood. Too powerful in most situations, and best to leave that one to the pros.
4. Other neutrals are taupes and greys, but these need accenting to avoid a boring atmosphere. Rugs and curtains or blinds are easy ways to warm these tones up.
5. Don't forget natural materials in your decor - woven fibers, stone, glass - these enhance colors that you have chosen.
6. Painted woodwork is another way to bring a great effect to your room. If you don't have exceptional vintage woodwork, consider a color. White is the standard in painted trim, as it makes your wall colors "pop" but other colors work if you are careful in your choice.
7. If you have a specific question, I can't promise to get back to you soon, but I'll try.
One of the first things a potential buyer (or visitor) to your home may experience is an unpleasant odor. There are many smells in a home related to pets, smoking, dirty laundry and cooking. These will largely go unnoticed by the residents of the property, but can have a real impact on a buyer. We do not notice our own familiar smells. Ask someone you trust who will give you an honest answer to let you know if there are any odors in your home.
1. If you cook frequently with hot oil, garlic and strong seasonings, you should consider cooking other foods while your home is on the market. Some ethnic cooking is very evident, as the hot oils carry the odors into the carpeting and fibers nearby. These odors may not be removedÂ even with professional cleaning.
2. If you have pets, you need to have the carpet cleaned at least every three months while the home is on the market. Pet odors are again not noticed by homeowners and readily apparent to visitors. Many buyers have allergies to pet dander so you could lose a sale for that reason alone. Try and make the home as clean as possible to remove pet hair, etc. Keep litter boxes emptied.
3. Stashes of clothing, especially if they have been worn, will definitely have a smell. Any fabrics can carry odor producing bacteria and should be laundered.
4. If you smoke, please do so outdoors during the listing period, to keep your home smelling fresh.
5. Surprisingly, the bigest problem with odorsÂ is the overuse of scented candles and air fresheners. If you insist on using these, please use light scents that do not overwhelm. Nothing smells better than fresh air. If you are worried, open windows.
Window are like the "eyes" to your home. Think how important eyes are to communicate information and your windows are one of the ways you communicate to a potential buyer. Here are some tips to make the most of them:
1. Sparkling clean - even an old window will bring more light into a room, helping the home to feel well maintained. Don't ignore the storms or combinations and screens. Wash all of it. Screens already block some light and they get dirty, so wash them with a big sponge, rinse and wipe them dry.
2. Today's buyer is most likely a young single or couple whose preference is uncluttered. If you have heavy drapes, traverse rods, multiple layers of curtains - take them off. If you have decent window trim, you are better with no curtains or drapes at all, rather than old fashioned treatments. Yes, I know you spent a lot of money on them, but they are past their useful life and are hurting your ability to sell.
3. If you need light control or privacy, consider roman shades in natural colors and materials. Discount stores have some great choices at very reasonable prices, as long as the sizes will fit your window. Also good are roll-up blinds, pleated shades, wooden blindsÂ or even ordinary window shades in updated materials.
4. Older homes often need windows maintained with new sash cords so they operate. It is something you can learn to do yourself. It is a cheap repair with great results.
5. If your windows are so old or deteriorated as to be non-functional and unsalvageable, consider replacement windows. Depending on the size and number of windows you need to replace, this could be a reasonable expense to get your home sold. If you can't manage all of them, consider just the main level. With the current energy tax credit of up to $1500 for qualifying products, this could be a good time to take care of drafty energy hogging old windows.
When your home is listed, peopleÂ you don't know are going to walk in with their real estate agent. They will comment on what they see within the prism of what they are looking for. To help your home show at its best, keep these tipsÂ inÂ mind:
1. Furniture should not create a visual or physical "block" The showing agent should be able to walk through the main living areas backwards while pointing out highlights to the potential buyers. They should be able to walk through each room in a natural manner without having to go around furniture unnecessarily. Do this yourself, with a critical eye. Is there too much furniture?
2. Empty spaces fool the eyeÂ - rooms actually look smaller when thereÂ is no furniture. Too fullÂ spaces also fool the eye - rooms look smaller because they are cluttered. Properly furnished rooms look spacious andÂ welcoming. Not too much and not too little.Â
3. Figure out the focus of each room and try to use that as a guide. If you have a fireplace, arrange furniture so that it faces the fireplace, in a natural arrangement where guests could sit and visit, but still view this focal point. If you have a lovely window view, don't put furniture in front of it. You should be able to see the window and view without looking at a couch or lamp first.
4. One of the biggest mistakes people make with furniture arrangement is putting every thing around the perimeter of the room, leaving the center open. Arrange furniture in natural "conversation groups" where people aren't talking across the entire room but are intimately close. Several groupings might make more sense than one, if the room is large.
Putting your home on the market is terrifying for many of us.Â Our comfortable and familiar home suddenly has a spotlight on it. Friends, relatives, your agent...they all have an opinion and it often isn't one you share. This blog allows you to ask specific questions, but also offers suggestions not asked for, but perhaps helpful. If you do have a question or comment, please post it and I will do my best to help you. I have been selling real estate for five years, and have been hired by many local agents to provide a consultation for their clients who needÂ an assessment of their property by a professional who can provide assistance from something as quick and simple as furniture arrangement, to new paint colors, to bringing in furnishings. Let me help you!