Today’s post-housing bubble savvy homebuyers (just a correction) require quality finishes and neutral color palettes in the homes they ultimately purchase. If you’re considering selling your home in 2006 and need to decorate it before you put it on the market, remember that cutting-edge interior design and compromising colors (strong, bold, modern) are often red flags for homebuyers. Buyers view “visual veneer” as a mask for a home’s flaws.

After a year of showing properties in 2005 and eight years prior in property searches with homebuyers, as well as consumer requests after the review of “1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home” in The New York Times, I compiled a list of houses runs and strikeouts for those looking to sell their home in 2006.


-Buy the best quality rug pad that can make any new rug “comfortable” and homebuyers love comfort. Stay away from shag styles, shoppers know they won’t last long through styling cycles.

-Install bamboo flooring in contemporary settings, bamboo is overtaking maple as the “new” light-colored hardwood floor.

-Forget about parquet and veneered wood flooring. Parquet is still out of date and buyers know that thin veneer on wood products cannot withstand much sanding to change stain colors.

-Take the time to paint walls, trim and ceilings. Keep adjoining rooms in the same color palette, which will make your home appear larger and flow better. Clean up messy painters spills. Hire professionals to paint window studs and stair spindles.

–Cover mismatched furniture in a room that requires visual unification.

-Rationalize window fashions. Heavy curtains are in the minority. Think “letting the light in” when putting up blinds and shades. Light and glare can trump other problems with the home.

-Test all door and cabinet knobs. Replace mismatched or inexpensive hardware for a quick upgrade. Buyers can rarely go beyond a knob slipping out of their hands when trying to use a door.

-Revamp closets with closet organizers to maximize storage space and paint a washable neutral color. Make sure shoppers can see the back of all closets and cupboards. Lighting is often overlooked in closets, but shoppers will always turn on the lights when they see a closet, big or small.

-Locate spaces on the walls for large and flat screen televisions. They are a “must have” for most homebuyers. Plasma TVs are fast becoming the “Monet” over the fireplace.

-Install technology wiring for high-speed Internet, cable and wi-fi, if you have open walls. “Wired houses” are becoming one of the main demands of buyers. Don’t overlook the bathrooms!

-Consider the appropriate level for finishes in kitchens and bathrooms. Buyers in a mid-priced neighborhood are not looking for high-end finishes.

-Wipe each surface until shiny and shiny. Clean can seal a deal. Don’t forget the windows.

-Buffing and waxing hardwood floors to shine and blend an antique finish.

Get rid of family and very personal photos. Buyers cannot envision themselves in a house that is still territorially theirs.

-Edit your furniture and accessories in each room. Less is more, buyers are looking to buy your real estate, not your personal property.

-Ensure there is balanced lighting in each room for evening and evening functions. Faders help set the right tone.

-Take the time to clean, organize and paint basements, attics and garages. Many homebuyers have passed up a house they liked because it had a “creepy” attic or basement.

-Invite three full-time real estate agents to view your home before and after your pre-market interior design update.

-Install new light switch covers. Most buyers interact with these at home showings. Worn or outdated covers lack attention to detail.

not to do

-Install kitchen cabinets with stapled drawer fronts, buyers look for quality dovetail construction.
-Suppose everyone loves stainless steel appliances. Word of mouth says that cleaning requirements are not for everyone.

-Wallpaper. Buyers never have the same taste as decorators. Take it down (carefully) and paint.

-Install inexpensive lighting fixtures in the center of the home and use interior fixtures on the exterior. The right accessories tell buyers quality.

-Use mirrored walls. Remove all mirror backsplashes in kitchens, accent walls in dining rooms, bedroom ceilings (I see them too much), and long hallways. Mirrored walls and ceilings say more about the home owner than buyers want to know.

-Block the good room and the flow of the house. Awkward furniture placement can make a room feel smaller than it is. Keep in mind that groups of people will be walking through your house together.

-Look at the front door. First impressions count. Paint the door, polish the hardware, and light up the entry area and house numbers.

-Dye the newly restored floors in dark colors. If buyers want lighter-weight floors, they will factor in refinishing costs when they submit an offer.

-Forget removing all the dated and dusty windowsill flowers and plants. Budget for weekly fresh flowers and potted plants while you tour your home.

– Rule out your home’s location, Southwest looks out of place in most northern climates and contemporary is hard to pull off in an old Colonial style.

-Install inexpensive laminate flooring instead of hardwood in living and family rooms. Shoppers who walk through it hate the hollow noise that echoes through it.