Last week we explored what is hot in the real estate world as far as desirable home features. Now, for WNHW. That's not a radio station, that's "What's not hot, Willie!" or things you might want to change if you can before you try to sell your home. Obviously, some things can't be fixed, like the fact that you live next to a junkyard, but some things can. So do your best.
The biggest challenge is always dated interiors. The minute someone walks into a home that is cosmetically outdated, even if it is in good shape, they usually have an urge to run out the door. If you've got wallpaper with flowers, sailboats, windmills, or cowboys and Indians, get out the steamer and see if you can remove it. But, there are other things that date a house as well, like:
1. Popcorn Ceilings. Nothing says the 70s and 80s more than popcorn ceilings. The only place you want popcorn is in the bowl on your lap while you are watching tips on TV about how to get it off your ceiling. It ain't rocket science but I guarantee you, your neck, back, and arms will be sore by the time you finish.
2. While many people still like wall to wall carpet in bedrooms, it doesn't go well in bathrooms and kitchens. Oh, you don't think there are houses like that? There are! And the color choices of the 80s and early 90s are passé as well. Go with neutral colors. And cheap laminate flooring looks like, well, it looks like cheap flooring. Use the good stuff and the buyers won't wonder what else you skimped on around the old fort.
3. Hollow core doors. I had a 1970 Ford Maverick and when I slammed the door it sounded like tin on tin because that's what it was. Slam the door on a new Caddy or BMW and you get that rewarding solid clunk. I like the doors in a house to clunk, too. Hollow core doors leave you feeling a little hollow. You know what I mean?
4. Old appliances. Yup, we still see a few harvest gold and avocado appliances around, but we are more likely to see dated early Jenn Air stoves or some old GE stoves with digital clocks where the numbers printed on cards mechanically flip over as time passes you by. You've gotta have black, white, or stainless appliances to be in vogue and even stainless might be on its way out.
5. Mauve, pink, gold, blue and yellow bathtubs, sinks, and showers are definitely undesirable. Luckily, you can have them refinished and save a bunch of money. Don't expect that the buyer wants to hear that, though.
6. Jacuzzi tubs are also out, especially, if they are sitting out in your bedroom instead of the bathroom. I've seen plenty of them like that. They might have seemed like a romantic idea at the time, but hardly anyone uses them anymore.
7. Shiny brass bathroom fixtures. Why shiny brass fixtures are no longer in style is a mystery as big as where they buried Jimmy Hoffa. Shiny brass is, well... it is shiny. Chrome, nickel, and stainless are shiny, too. So who was the guy that decided shiny brass is no good anymore?? Antique brass seems to be acceptable. I bet shiny brass will come back just about the time everyone removes all those faucets. So, save yours, they may be worth their weight in...brass, I guess, down the road.
8. Choppy room floor plans. Lots of older (and even some newer) houses have some pretty funky floor plans. Sometimes houses have been expanded seemingly one room at a time. We call those "expansion mansions." Some older homes were laid out funny to start with. One good example is when you have to go through one bedroom to get to another. Having a bathroom right off the dining or living room really doesn't work, either.
9. Florescent lighting is not really attractive or desirable and the buzzing noise some of those old round kitchen ceiling fixtures make can drive you nuts. I'm not a big fan of them in suspended ceilings either.
10. I know we live in the wilderness, but dead animals mounted on the walls tend not to be popular with some buyers. I guess how many are hung up might also be a factor unless the buyer's wife belongs to the NRA. A whole herd on the wall can be a little disconcerting. I went to one house least year and there was a dead horse in the yard by the driveway. I know that's an extreme case, but get rid of partial or whole dead animals unless you plan on staying where you are.
I could go on, but these are some of the main issues. So, if you have a house with popcorn ceilings, a kitchen with avocado appliances and worn linoleum floors, pink toilets and shag carpet in the bathrooms, a wild boar's head over the fireplace, and oh yeah, I forgot, dented aluminum siding, you have a bit of updating to do...maybe your dad would like to move in there?
There were 843 single family homes on the market as of April Fool's Day, 2016 in the twelve communities covered by this report. The average asking price was $527,853 while the median price point was $259,900. This represents about eight and a half months supply of inventory on the market.
Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 4/1/16. Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 677-7012
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