I’ve been writing about the strengths and weaknesses you might be faced with when trying to sell an older home. The good: mature neighbourhood, mature trees, proximity to amenities, more space than modern builds. The not-so-good: maintenance and reno issues, tired-looking cabinets, worn-out finishes (flooring, countertops, tile, backsplash) in areas such as kitchen, baths and powder rooms, a dated feel to key rooms.
Before you panic, let’s consider other aspects of your property, and practical solutions.
Chances are you need a fresh paint job throughout – the good news is that a paint job is the easiest, least expensive home staging task you can undertake. You can do the work yourself, or recruit younger family members, or pay a pro to do it in 1/3 of the time. Just remember to choose a neutral colour, not a stark white! A certified colour consultant (like me) can choose something that will look perfect, based on the fixed elements and light throughout your home.
Chances are (in an older home) that you have a laundry room in the basement level that has a concrete floor, unfinished walls and rudimentary lighting. It may have mismatched cabinets and wooden shelves that are warped and stained. Gross! Spend a little on new lighting, flooring and storage; don’t worry about finishing the space completely. The good news is that you probably also have way more storage space down there than most new builds, so this is a way to showcase that fact.
Prospective buyers LOVE storage space. This is a big selling feature for your older home.
The weakness is that it’s a little dark and chilly down there, and the space comes across as wasted. The good news is that you can have cushion flooring installed that will add warmth and make it look clean, so no more worry about dropping clean clothes while folding them. Cushion flooring is also more forgiving to stand and work on for a length of time than concrete or ceramic. Switch out the existing light bulb on a string for a nice pendant fixture that casts more light and moves the laundry area into the 21st century. You can buy stainless steel or white laminate shelving at IKEA, Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Lowe’s, et cetera, and voilà! You have a fresh, workable space that won’t spook prospective buyers. It won’t be a ‘cadillac’ laundry room but it’s a plus, not a minus.
The important thing is to find ways to put your older home on the ‘possible’ list for prospective buyers. Down the road, they can finish things to their taste, but in the meantime, let’s make your home welcoming and livable…and SOLD!
Stay tuned for Part 3 of “How to sell a home you’ve lived in for decades”…