Welcome another 2Tips4-2sDay (Tuesday) post. Last week’s tips included a cheap (but time consuming) cabinet makeover trick. While specifically meant to encourage folks unfortunate enough to have cheesy melamine cabinets, the idea of freshening up cabinets with paint is a good one, especially when selling your home.
Even real wood cabinets (oak, particularly) from the past are not immune to becoming outdated; now, the popular woods for cabinets include cherry, bamboo, and yes – painted white. (Personal opinion: if you have a rustic home, with lovely knotty pine woodwork, I would not recommend painting your cabinets unless they clash with the flavor of the home.)
TIP ONE: LOSE THE EMOTIONS. We’ve become so used to our things, we do not realize how dated they really are. When you want to sell your home, detach yourself from the emotional bond with your home and see it as a commodity. Put away the majority of your “stuff” and view your cabinets, carpets, walls, and fixtures through the eyes of a buyer with no attachment to your decor and memories.
Buyers do not care that your mom and dad picked out that paneling and lovingly hung it, together…please, paint it! Or better yet, REMOVE and replace it with drywall. I can honestly say that never once has a buyer said to me: “Oh WONDERFUL! I’m so GLAD this home has dark paneling on all the walls!” Not even in jest.
While some “retro” or “vintage” items are cool, most buyers will NOT be turned on by your decades-old stuff!
You want to appeal to the broadest base of buyers, if possible, unless you are certain some leftover love child will fall in love with those shaggy carpets and ancient appliances, telling their agent “Groovy, let’s get it on, peace man…”
Go over your home with a critical eye. Invite a friend to critique. Then change what you can.
TIP TWO: IF YOU CAN’T CHANGE IT, FLAUNT IT. Replacing an entire bathroom may be out of the question. Okay, so you got carried away in the country mauve fever of the 1980’s and now you have a mauve garden tub with lovely floral wallpaper and brass fixtures. If you were particularly silly, you probably got a pink toilet too.
Or maybe it was country blue. Whatever. You’re now stuck with a colored bathroom that is very dated. No money to replace the tub, toilet, and sinks… (hey, by the way a basic white toilet is only around $100-$150 at Home Depot. Nobody has ever said “That’s just a basic toilet, I don’t want it….” when looking at a home…)
What to do? Work around it. Get rid of the wall paper. Paint the walls a nice soothing, neutral color. Replace little things that have a big imact: a new medicine cabinet, replace the brass faucets with brushed nickel. Paint the vanity and add new hardware to the doors. It’s amazing how less obnoxious that pink tub will look when the rest of the nostalgia is toned down.
Then play UP the color of the tub. Pick out towels and shower curtains (not from old outlets or thrift shops that will have stuff from 1982 set up as if it were brand-spanking new…) to complement the pink or blue tub and sink. Use MODERN accessories – get a trendy basket, roll up some thick towels, stick ’em inside….and display them proudly on the garden tub.
The above technique worked for an agent in my office. The sellers were unable to change the pink bath, so instead they celebrated the pink bath. And yes. They sold the house.