If you are the owner of an older home, you already know that there are many benefits to living in one of these classic beauties. Higher ceilings, beautiful wood work, and larger room sizes are just a few of the features that older homes are famous for.
But when trying to compete with newer, more modern homes on the real estate market, older home owners may find that prospective buyers seem to be drawn to the cleaner, simpler lines and more open interiors of a more modern home.
The good news is that there are some steps owners of older homes can take to freshen and revitalize the interiors of their homes to make them compete more favorably with newer construction home without sacrificing their charm.
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
Opening up two small adjoining rooms to create a larger one can also help to make the home more open. Before considering any structural changes of this type, however, make sure that you consult with a home construction expert to determine which walls are tasked with supporting the home and which can be altered safely.
Make Sure Systems & Appliances are Updated and Working
Another problem that can make older home 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Buyers are not likely to be impressed with outdated surfaces from eras gone by, such as popcorn ceiling treatments or vintage shag carpeting from the 1970s.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 home decorating and have your real estate professional offer their opinion on which ones current buyers are looking for.
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 spacious rooms, tall ceilings, and other good qualities. Your real estate professional can also offer additional guidance to help you make your older home as marketable as possible.
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