If you’ve ever watched one of the myriad cable TV home shows that depict buyers considering homes or people rehabbing houses, you’re probably familiar with the term “dated.”
It’s become one of the most damning condemnations of a home. Heaven forbid a house built, say, 20 years ago, still holds the cosmetic trends of that era. Like it or not, having a home with “dated” décor is an impediment when it comes time to sell.
Fortunately, you don’t have to have a time machine to go back and do things over. There are some affordable, rather easy fixes that home sellers can use to remove their dwelling from the ranks of dated homes. Here are the basics.
Paint your cabinets
One of the modern trends in interior design is cabinetry with painted finishes rather than stained natural wood. If your kitchen or bathroom cabinets have stained finishes, they can quickly be deemed dated.
But that’s an easy fix. If people want painted cabinets, just paint your cabinets. If you’re handy, it’s a job you can do yourself in a weekend. If you’re not handy, it’s an affordable project to hand off to qualified professionals. (Related: Must Have Tools for Homeowners)
Ditch the carpet
Modern homes tend to have floors made of hard surfaces. Carpeting, for whatever reason, is now out. Luckily, switching out that carpeting for a hard-surface floor is pretty easy.
Luxury vinyl tile is a relatively new product that’s super-popular in newer homes. It’s an artificial product that mimics natural ones, such as wood, stone or tile, and is easily installed. Affordable options of this versatile, durable flooring can be had for less than $2 per square foot, and it can be installed by most weekend-warrior DIY types. Again, if you’re not confident in your own ability to tackle the installation, an entire story of a home can typically be laid in a single day by professionals. (Related: Are Newly Constructed Homes Better Than Old Homes?)
Consider your counters
Thanks to HGTV and the like, anything other than solid countertops is now a no-no. That means granite, quartz and marble counters are what sell homes.
This might sound expensive, but consider this: Lower-level solid counter materials are no longer luxury materials. A decent-sized kitchen can probably be outfitted with granite for $3,000 to $4,000. That still might seem pricey, but if you’re a home seller with a $1,500 monthly mortgage payment and having solid countertops helps you sell a home two months faster, you’re at $3,000 in savings already.
Similarly, stainless-steel appliances, which every homebuyer wants, are no longer a luxury. You can get a stove, refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher with at least stainless-steel fronts for between $3,000 and $4,000. If it means shaving a couple of months off your home’s time on the market, the switch can almost pay for itself.
And if you’re moving to a new home, take your old appliances with you. You can have a microwave in your new finished basement and a functional fridge in your new garage.
Fifteen years ago, you were told your home should have neutral wall colors. Back then, a gray-beige (“greige“) tone was all the rage. But these days, homebuyers want airy, lighter colors on their walls.
And that’s great for home sellers because paint is an easy fix. It’s relatively cheap, material-wise, and just about anyone can paint walls themselves. If your home’s dated look is caused in part by darker wall colors, slap on a coat of lighter-colored paint, and, voila, you have a more contemporary home. (Related: Styling an Airbnb Property to Boost Your Profits)
The same goes for window treatments. Ditch the dark curtains for lighter tones, and your windows will be instantly updated.
Having a “dated” home might sound ominous when you’re trying to sell. But these days, it’s not the condemnation it once was. If you follow a few key pieces of advice, you can have an updated home, at an affordable cost, that will appeal to more homebuyers. And that translates to selling your home more quickly and for a better price.