“They took what could have been a negative, an unrenovated bathroom, and neutralized it, Mr. Knull said. “They didn’t make it a selling point, because that would be a brand new bathroom at a cost of $5,000, but they at least eliminated the negative.”
Mr. Knull said a brand new kitchen or bathroom will bring a higher price for a property, but he said sellers who cannot afford that can improve the look of a property by pulling up the carpet to reveal hardwood flooring, painting a dark brick fireplace white and lightening the look of a home with brighter paint colors and less furniture.
Older homes sometimes have smaller bedrooms and closets, so Mr. Haynes recommended removing the bedroom furniture from a small room and turning into an office with a small desk and computer chair to show an alternate function for the space. He said sellers also could opt to place a crib in a secondary bedroom to show its potential as a nursery. Furniture can be rented inexpensively or borrowed for home staging.
“You can stage a home with smaller furniture, such as little table or smaller benches in the kitchen to give buyers a sense of what fits and looks stylish in an older home,” Mrs. Hamaker said. “You can inexpensively update rooms if you switch to brushed-nickel doorknobs and light fixtures.”
Mrs. Hamaker recommended replacing windows, installing granite counters and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen and painting or replacing cabinets, if sellers can afford it.
Older homes often have fully grown trees and shrubs, so Mr. Haynes recommended trimming overgrown landscaping, if possible. He suggested staging an outdoor living area, which could offset any dreariness inside, especially in a home with a large backyard.
In addition to improving the look of an older home through cleaning and making minor - or major - repairs, an older home can be made appealing through marketing efforts.
“Some of the older homes in Arlington have a lot of appeal to young couples and young families because of their location within walking distance to Metro and within a great school district,” Mrs. Hamaker said. “You can emphasize the location, the charm, the mature landscaping in an ad and tailor your marketing to likely buyers.”
Mr. Haynes said Realtors also can pay to have a property “virtually staged” with images of how it could look with modern furniture and some improvements.
“If the yard is the selling point of a house and it’s almost like you’re buying a yard that comes with a house, then you need to play that up,” Mr. Knull said. “Sometimes I sit in the backyard and put the marketing materials out there so people have to come out and look at it.”
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