Understanding what home buyers in your area are looking for can help you sell your home faster. Just as important, though, is knowing what they’re trying to avoid.
With that in mind, here are three common issues that will often keep buyers from placing an offer on a home. The good news is, they can all be solved pretty easily with some smart re-decorating—no construction expertise required.
Problem #1: It feels too small.
Square footage isn’t everything when it comes to home size. How that space is laid out makes a big impact in how the home feels to potential buyers. The narrower hallways and smaller rooms you’ll often find in older homes can make them feel smaller than more modern dwellings of the same size
The Solution: Declutter and lighten up.
How a room is painted and furnished plays a huge role in how large (or small) it feels. A room that’s over-furnished or cluttered will feel smaller than it really is. Err on the side of minimalism when you’re staging smaller rooms.
Brighter spaces seem larger, so introducing more light is another good idea. If the walls are dark, consider painting them a lighter, neutral color. Using mirrors as part of your décor can also add an impression of more space, especially when used together with lamps and other light sources.
Finally, make sure you’re thinking in three dimensions. Take advantage of the room’s full height with tall shelves or mounted cabinets. Not only does this maximize your use of the space, it draws visitors’ eyes upwards and helps make the room feel bigger.
Problem #2: It looks outdated.
It’s not just an aesthetic problem if it looks like your home’s walls, floors, and ceilings haven’t changed since the ‘70s. Potential buyers will wonder if everything else in the home is outdated. Most buyers don’t want a high-maintenance home that will need a bunch of upgrades right after they move in.
The Solution: Modernize key areas.
Paint is your biggest ally if you’re updating an older home. Fill in any cracks in the walls or ceiling and give them a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color, removing or painting over dated wallpaper. The same treatment can be given to stained wooden floors or outdated tile floors in bathrooms and kitchens to freshen up the space.
Updating your lighting fixtures is another easy, inexpensive way to give rooms a more modern feel. Changing to LED fixtures lowers energy costs along with updating the space—a nice extra bonus for both you and the buyer. Swapping out your old thermostat for a modern smart model is another easy (and inexpensive) option.
Problem #3: You have rooms with little to no natural light.
Rooms on any level that have tiny windows (or none at all) can feel too dreary or claustrophobic for potential buyers. Installing windows can be a lengthy and expensive project, and might not even be possible for spaces like finished basements.
The Solution: Turn the space into a home theater.
A lack of natural light is an advantage for projector-based home theaters. Too much ambient light can interfere with projected images and make them look washed out, so having the ability to completely control the room’s light level is a definite plus.
If the room is too small to reasonably re-brand as a home theater, you’re not out of luck. You can instead turn it into a gaming room or media room. Ultra-short throw projectors can give you a massive picture with just a couple feet of space, and are an excellent option to convert unused bedrooms or other weird windowless spaces in your home into a personal entertainment retreat.
What’s the Bottom Line?
When it comes to selling your home, first impressions matter. Go through your home room by room and make sure each one is living up to its full potential. A few small changes can make a big difference in how quickly it sells—and how much you get for it.