A few days ago a new client asked me to help her determine what she had to do to her house to get it ready for sale in about 12 months. She and her husband had owned the home for about 10 years, and in general were happy with the way it was furnished and decorated.
One of the first things I noticed was that all the walls and trim were painted the same off-white color. Although this counts as “neutral”, it is hard to make it exciting for potential buyers unless the furnishings are very carefully selected and arranged to provide some “punch” and draw the eye to the home’s features. It is easy for the novice NOT to accomplish this goal and have the rooms look like boring white boxes with furniture plunked down in them, perhaps with prior evaluation of functional needs (one needs to be able to see the TV from your favorite chair!)
One thing that is difficult for sellers to do is embrace the notion that when selling a property they are selling a product. They have to disassociate themselves from being homeowners and begin to think like marketers. Yes, buyers will bring their own furniture in and paint the walls with colors they love, BUT, first they must fall in love with your product and buy it! Remember, there are other products out there at the same price level of yours and they need want YOUR product.
My new client really did not fully appreciate this and I could tell she really preferred to “save” some money, leave things as is, and assume it would sell in the time frame she and her husband envisioned. Additionally, even if she agreed with everything I suggested, she did not think that changing much more than the kitchen counter and kitchen floor would fly with her husband.
Coincidentally a nearby home that I had recently staged, and which had started out in a similar condition to hers, was having an open house the very next day. I told her she was welcome to come and see it, and I would walk her around and describe what I had done in each room. When she walked in the door I was able to tell her that the home had 3 offers already, and it had been on the market only 5 days!
After viewing the photos above, and hopefully guess which ones are “before” and which ones are “after” pictures, I will let you decide which room would entice you to buy a home with a wonderful ceramic wood stove as a feature. I will also let you decide if you consider both rooms “neutral”.