A significant number of the homes in Northern Virginia were built in the 1950′s, 1960′s, and 1970′s. Yes, a lot has been built since then, but the building booms in those times constructed significantly smaller homes and much faster.The total number of homes built in the 1970′s alone outpaces the most recent boom time.
Best of all, they were pinker, yellower and bluer too.
We have all seen the color scheme and it typically raises the eyebrows of first time home buyers. In fact, most of the sellers probably intended to remodel those baths too when they bought the house years ago. But these bathrooms were built to last, and they still work so they won’t be getting a HGTV overhaul in our game plan because there won’t be a significant ROI. So, they stay.
Home buyers will overlook the pinks, blues or yellows if the location is right
But often these homes have oak hardwood floors hiding under wall-to-wall carpet, and there have been a series of good updates (and not so good updates) that buyers will appreciate like central heating or AC systems, roofs and gutters, or window and door replacements. Deep down, most of these homes have good bones and are now in great locations.
So sellers need to start thinking like buyers, and who those buyers of their home might be? Today’s home buyers are unique and been trained by HGTV programs like House Hunters or Property Virgins. Open the Washington Post and see if those shows are on tonight and take a peek… it may be an eye opener listening to the comments of the on-camera home buyers.
The hardest concept for home sellers to grasp: It isn’t your house anymore!
A home seller’s starter checklist:
- Paint walls with a modern color with a “flat enamel” finish… it looks richer and conceals imperfections
- Trim should be ultra white for the best, cleanest contrast
- Paint your ceilings “ceiling white”… it will make those lower ceilings look higher
- Light fixtures will need replacing all over the house… think brighter!
- Some carpets may be in good condition or almost new, so have them professionally cleaned
- Expose those hardwood floors hiding under the living room floor… brighten them with a mop or refinish
- Update old kitchen appliances… the Sunday paper may have a “package” deal
- Set a date with a charity or trash removal company to get rid of some of your old stuff
- Clean everything including your windows… a local maid service may do the trick!
- Remove 50% of the clothes, coats, or supplies in your closets…
- Consider renting a storage unit or contacting a “POD” storage service
- In Northern Virginia, there are professionals to do almost any job… so hire them to do the lifting!
No home is perfect, and your goal as a home seller is to help create a series of “wow moments” when a buyer sees your home online, pulls up at the curb, and then walks in your front door.