Good Realtors educate their clients — that education is part of what you, as a client, are paying for. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s common to have questions about the market, a particular home or some part of the process. When those questions arise, it’s my job to answer them.
Sometimes, educating buyers includes helping them see that we’ve found the right home, despite a relatively minor cosmetic imperfection.
When I start working with buyers, I ask them to make two lists: a list of must-haves — those non-negotiables like the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a wish list — those things that would be nice to have but aren’t required.
Once we’ve got that, we might look at a dozen homes that have all the requirements before finding the one the buyers want: It has the right number of bedrooms, a great open floor plan, beautiful views. They love it and can really see themselves living in it.
Then we round the corner into the last bedroom and catch a glimpse of the wallpaper, and the buyers get nervous about the whole house.
Even buyers who aren’t do-it-yourselfers shouldn’t be afraid of making a few cosmetic improvements to create the space you want. Whether you tackle the jobs yourself or hire a professional, these are just a few examples of projects that can be completed in short order:
Paint. One of the easiest projects can also have a dramatic effect. Sure, you know you can change the color, but paint can also be used to deal with unwelcome wall or ceiling textures or to create the effect of molding. You can even use paint to spiff up outdated floors.
Hardware. Immediately update areas throughout the house with new hardware. Your local home store will have choices for cabinet and drawer pulls, switch plates and outlet covers, towel racks, doorknobs and more.
Window treatments. Not a fan of metal miniblinds or wooden valances? Replace them with something more your style. Or if privacy isn’t a concern in a particular spot, leave the windows bare to enlarge the space and let in more light.
Backsplash. Add a backsplash in the kitchen to give it an immediate lift and make cleaning around appliances easier.
Paneling and molding. Decorative paneling or molding can make all the difference in the world to a room, giving it a more finished, formal look. Crown molding and the right ceiling color can also add the feeling of height and space to a room.
Lighting and plumbing fixtures. The right lighting in a room can make it feel warmer and larger, and updated plumbing fixtures can add real value to your home.
It’s likely that as you cross projects off your list, you’ll be game to try more. And all of a sudden, that house with the ugly-duckling wallpaper will have become your home.