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Should I Design My House For A Potential Buyer?

In case you have missed it the real estate market has been HOT the past few years.

What does this mean for your home?

If you are planning to sell your home, should you design it for a potential buyer or can your home be a reflection of your personal taste?

Being a designer that is certified in home staging I have some insight into this dilemma! Let me give you an example from a client I met with this week and also some guidance on how I view this challenge.

Meet My Clients

This week I had the pleasure of meeting with some new clients who are wanting to make some updates in their home. They know their current home is likely not their forever home and wanted guidance about where to spend money to get the best return on investment.

When selling a home the kitchen and master bath can make or break a sale! You want to make sure that these spaces are clean, inviting, and updated.

Now this doesn't mean we need to rip the kitchen down to the studs and start over. It may mean updating cabinet paint color, installing new light fixtures, or removing dated decor. The goal is to invest enough to see a return on investment when your home sells.

For my clients this means finding balance. The kitchen could use some updates so we agreed on removing fluorescent lighting and painting the cabinets. The countertops are in great shape! We decided to keep those and found a paint color that will bring out the flecks in the granite. Win, win!

As I walked through the rest of the home and helped guide potential investments I gave them these 3 rules as general guidelines.

1) Functionality First

I don't care if you are planning to be in your home 6 months or 16 years, functionality always has to come first.

Are you someone who works night shift? Then blackout curtains and noise dampening systems should be added to your bedroom. Do you have young kids? Let's install power outlets that prevent little fingers from getting into them. Are you a dog lover with 4 dogs? Let's create a space near the back door to make it easy to wipe off muddy paws.

At the end of the day, your home needs to function well for the life that you live regardless of your moving timeline. It is always worth the money if a project provides you with more time, energy, and less stress in your living space.

2) Are You Planning To Move In Less Than 5 Years?

Take a potential buyer into consideration.

Skip the bold paint choices.

Thinking of adding a hot pink accent wall to a

bedroom? Maybe skip that selection! Or know that you will likely need to repaint when you are getting your house ready to sell. Bold paint colors add dimension and character in homes, but I would encourage you to choose neutral colors that compliment a wide array of tastes if you plan to put your home on the market. Not sure where to start? Contact a designer, we have a list of resell friendly paint selections.

Don't select new trends for hard surface selections.

Unless you are putting your house on the market in the next 30 days you need to understand that trends come and go. Choosing a bold patterned backsplash or colorful cabinet may not be the best idea. What is in style right now may not be in style in a year. Plus, your potential buyer may not like the style! Choose tile, countertops, and architecture pieces that are timeless if you are planning to remodel.

Avoid Making Drastic Changes To The Structure Of Your Home.

Want to turn your dining room into a workout room? I get it! We are all spending a lot more time at home these days and a lot of us miss our regular activities.

However, adding a wall of mirrors, removing the chandelier, and putting in gym flooring is probably not the best option. I am all for helping your home function in a way that works for you, but let's use a standing mirror, lighting that works for both the gym space and the future tenants' dining space, and roll out a temporary mat. An established dining room is a must have for most buyers. We want to keep spaces that are integral to the selling of the home in place.

3) Are You Planning To Move More Than 8 Years From Now?

Design your home to your hearts content!

Do you want your kids to create unique artwork on the walls of their rooms? Do it!

Want to remove the bathtub from your master bath? Knock yourself out!

Love having carpet in every room of the house? Go for it! (Although, please talk to me if you are considering adding carpet in the bathroom...just don't do that...EVER.)

If you are planning to be in your home for more than 8 years I can assure you styles will change. And honestly, so will your lifestyle and functionality needs. Design your home to fit you! We can figure out how to stage it for selling if/when the time comes.

For those of you in the 6-8 year range you have a little more wiggle room.

Don't stress about making changes! However, I encourage you to read the tips above so you are aware of some areas to avoid if you want to make the process of preparing your home to sell easy! And remember, always design your home for functionality first.


If you are worried about a decision or want a second opinion as you prepare for your next project, don't hesitate to reach out!

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