Consider Opening up the Interior
Older homes tend to have less open interiors, especially those that were built before the age of central heating and cooling. Taking steps to open up the floor plan will help the interior of the home feel more modern and may even make the home’s heating and cooling system more efficient to operate.
Some low-cost ways to open up the interior of an older home include:
- removing doors between rooms in the main living area and widening the door ways
- Removing sections of non-load bearing walls to create half walls between rooms
- removing heavy window treatments and replacing them with simpler window coverings, such as plantation shutters, or simple blinds, or choosing to leave some windows completely bare
- removing brightly colored accent walls and instead painting living areas and adjoining hallways all one color to help the eye travel around the space more easily
Make Sure Systems & Appliances are Updated and Working
Another problem that can make older homes less competitive are mismatched appliances and systems that are ancient and inefficient, such as HVAC, electrical, or plumbing. Today’s home buyers tend to be very practical and their concerns about the cost of replacing aging systems and appliances or incurring major repair bills to repair them can push them toward making an offer on a newer home instead of an older one.
Choose Modern Decorating & Colors
Buyers are not likely to be impressed with outdated surfaces from eras gone by, such as popcorn ceilings or vintage shag carpeting from the 1970s. Owners of older homes who plan to make interior updates before listing can add freshness and a modern appeal by selecting modern colors and styles when changing wall colors, flooring, or other finishes for their home. Before deciding which ones to select, spend some time looking at the current trends in whatever your locale may be, and have your real estate professional offer their opinion on which ones current buyers are looking for.
Update the Home’s Exterior
When someone is selling an older home, that is one case where “curb appeal” is everything. When selling a home, spending money on fixing it up isn’t fun. However, investing in a new paint job, fixing any obvious issues with the roof and having a professional touch up the landscaping can make an older home “sparkle” with character and appeal–rather than just looking dated. The payoff occurs when the home sells more quickly and for a higher dollar amount than it would have with no additional work completed.
Pay Attention to Small Details
Older homes can look instantly fresher when sellers pay attention to small details throughout the house that can make the home seem tired or shopworn. Some of these small details that should be considered include:
- replacing worn or discolored light switches and outlet covers with shiny new ones
- replacing older light fixtures and ceiling fans with newer, more efficient ones
- replacing rusted or stained heating and air conditioning vent covers with new ones
- replacing old or mismatched faucets with new ones
- replacing door knobs and hardware with modern ones
In addition to making changes to the inside of your home to make it more competitive in today’s real estate market, sellers should also take time to carefully clean and declutter each room of their home before listing. It can also be worthwhile to remove heavy, dark furnishings and instead choose to stage the home with simple furnishings to help maximize the appeal of your home’s good qualities. Your real estate professional can also offer additional guidance to help you make your older home as marketable as possible.