Updating your home can be an exciting undertaking. It’s an opportunity to flex those interior design muscles and to play with your personal style. However, major updates, such as flooring, kitchen renovations, or bathroom overhauls are costly. For this reason, major investments in your home should be considered through the eyes of a potential future buyer. You definitely don’t want your home to quickly become outdated, which could impact the future value.
It’s important that your home is in line with current trends to some extent, but not cross the line into “fad” territory. Fads come and go relatively quickly. For instance, decorating kitchens with cow patterns was a thing a couple decades ago (thank goodness that’s over!). Shag carpeting and barn doors are other examples of short-lived fads. They are all the rage for a flash, then they quickly become overdone and people tire of them. However, trends are longer lasting and stand the test of time – such as hardwood floors, granite counter tops, or neutral color palettes. To get the most for your remodeling dollar, your strike zone is this area of sustained influence.
Consider the following:
You’ve probably heard that neutrals are best when preparing your home for sale. Thankfully, a coat of paint is a relatively easy and inexpensive fix, so if you feel you just can’t live without saturating your living room with the Pantone Color of the Year, then paint away.
However, even among the neutral colors, it is possible to overdo it. For instance, gray is really hot right now, and has been around long enough to pass from fad to trend. However, gray walls interlaced with gray floors, gray cabinets, gray backsplash, gray counter tops, and stainless steel appliances, takes the trend just a little too far. And with the exception of the paint, those are all features that are extremely expensive to change. You may lose a lot of buyers who just don’t care for being surrounded by a perpetual rainy day.
Other paint fads include bold, bright colors that come in and out of fashion, accent walls, stripes, faux treatments and pretty much anything that Pinterest can cough up like a hairball. If you really want to try something new, don’t do anything that would be really expensive to undo, when it comes to paint. Otherwise, you may find yourself dipping into your profit to make your house ready for sale.
A lot of people have love-hate relationships with wallpaper. Wallpaper has its place, of course. But what one person would find tasteful and elegant may not resonate with other people. Unlike paint, however, wallpaper is more difficult to change later. It requires a lot of time and elbow grease (or you have to pay someone to do it for you).
Courtesy of Pinterest and Instagram, a current fad in wallpaper is bold prints. It’s a pretty safe bet that anything “bold” or “busy” when it comes to interior design is going to be a fad, and not a trend. The pendulum may swing one way for a time, but soon it will always swing back to neutrals and clean, uncluttered looks. So if you find yourself to tempted to follow the fads to bold or busy colors and prints, consider the cost to undo the decision later, and how your home might look to prospective buyers.
Replacing flooring is costly. Hardwoods are a popular and timeless choice, but know that you will likely not get 100% of your investment back. Actually, very few flooring choices will net you a 100% return, but it’s a safe bet that fads will be the worst of all possible investments. Think the ugly parquet flooring of the 70’s, the glued down laminate floors of the 90’s, or the “wood-look” ceramic tile of today.
Of course, in the Fountain Hills area you have a variety of hard surface flooring options to choose from, and what works in our Southwest-style homes may not translate well to other regions of the country. Your options may even vary by neighborhood, since buyers at different price points have different flooring expectations. You also don’t want to put in a floor that is too pricey for the neighborhood. This is where having a good real estate agent to partner with can save you thousands of dollars. A high-quality agent can guide you to the most appropriate options for your neighborhood, knows what buyers are looking for, and can help you make decisions that will have the best ROI.
There are several major expenditures involved in updating a kitchen: floors, cabinets, countertops, fixtures, and appliances.
- We’ve already talked some about flooring, although the type of flooring you use in the kitchen may not be the same as the rest of the house. There are often fads in kitchen flooring that we are glad to see go (anyone remember carpeted kitchens? Ugh).
- With cabinets, anything other than solid wood is really a fad. Exotic woods are lovely, but many buyers are becoming more conscious of sustainability, so rare woods could be a turnoff to some buyers. “Open” shelving is a recent fad that has had some staying power, but use it sparingly. Cabinets without doors can quickly look cluttered.
- Countertops made of natural stone (granite, marble, etc.) or engineered stone (like quartz) are fairly stable trends. Right now, a variety of recycled alternatives (such as counters made from recycled glass or metal waste), are interesting fads to watch, but haven’t had the longevity (or commercial availability) to evolve into long-lasting trends. There are literally a score of different options, from the DIY and inexpensive to prohibitively expensive. What makes sense for your home may rest on the type of buyer you are trying to attract and the trends within your neighborhood. This is another area where a knowledgeable agent can be a of great assistance.
- Farmhouse sinks are one fad that may have become over-saturated (like barn doors). By far the most common are under-mount or integrated sinks, which are popular with certain types of countertops. Faucets fixtures in bronze, brass, black, or any color other than nickel or stainless steel are still in fad territory and periodically come into and go out of fashion. For staying power, you can’t go wrong with stainless steel or nickel, but you can still find some variety, with gleaming polished and softer, brushed finishes.
- Appliances have some long-standing trends, with stainless steel being the current gold standard. Watch out for fads that offer “retro looks” or custom colors. These are too dependent on personal style to transfer well to new owners. However, even within the stainless steel options you have some variety, such as matte finish, black stainless steel, and other “smudge-proof” alternatives.
Bathroom remodels often include choices of flooring, countertops, sink options (with or without cabinets), fixtures, etc. However, choosing a vessel sink instead of an integrated sink isn’t likely to make or break your home sale. What CAN impact the value of your home and turn off sellers is choosing to eliminate certain features. For instance, large walk-in showers are a popular choice right now. However, if you have to take out the tub to make space for the shower, you may turn off potential buyers – especially if your neighborhood is popular with families. You’ll want to consider your target buyer before making expensive changes that are hard to undo.
We are here to help! We know Fountain Hills and what sells in each and every neighborhood, so you can make the best design choices to attract the most buyers. Susan Pellegrini and Karen DeGeorge are ready to put their care and expertise to work for you. Buying or selling, our first-class service comes with a wealth of experience and eye for detail, ready to focus on you. Visit our website to learn more and contact us or give us a call at (480)- 315-1575, we’re here for you.