Thinking of selling your older home, and worrying that there won’t be a buyer for the vintage classic? Often it’s not the age of a house that concerns a buyer, but the condition. Remember, buyers know the age of your house when they agree to see it. It's how your house is aging that buyers care about . Giving your home a youthful glow can turn lookers into buyers.
First impressions stick. Buyers’ initial opinions are made long before they enter your front door. Peeling exterior paint, falling bricks, old roofs, crumbling porches, cracked sidewalks or driveways, and overgrown or dying landscaping can turn buyers off immediately. Clean, trim, paint, and replace worn elements of your exterior, and make buyers hungry for what’s inside.
Cracked walls and peeling paint are big turnoffs. Make your walls seem new again by filling in cracks, smoothing bulges, caulking gaps between molding and walls, and freshening up paint.
If your carpeting is old, stained and worn beyond repair, replace it. New, neutral carpeting can be an effective facelift for an older room. You don’t have to spend a fortune. Modestly priced carpeting is readily available, and often looks just as good as its high-end counterpart. The same principle applies to rugs. Old, dark, or heavily patterned rugs can overburden a room. Replace or simply remove rugs to reveal wood or other natural flooring. If your wood or tile floors are dirty, dull, or scratched, clean or refinish to bring them back to life.
You may not think lighting is all that important, but buyers sure seem to. Light fixtures can date a house. If your chandeliers, ceiling fixtures or pendants are old and out of style, replace them with simple, more modern versions. If you want to know what’s in vogue, turn to the internet or HGTV for inspiration. Inexpensive, on-trend lighting is available online and in many home goods stores.
OK, enough with the cosmetics. The guts of the home matter too, and if they are old, rusted, inefficient or dysfunctional, buyers will likely be turned off. Replacing an old boiler with a newer, smaller, efficient unit can be a great investment for yourself and your future buyer. The same is true of old air conditioners, water heaters, dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges and more. Remember, new appliances and mechanicals let your seller know your home is maintained and well cared for, no matter its age.
Bottom line: An old home can be very marketable if it is well maintained, updated and clean. How do you keep it that way? Every now and then pretend that you are a potential buyer of your home. Go as far as to walk around the outside, assess the exterior, then enter the front door and evaluate each room as though you have never seen it before. Note what needs fixing or updating, and get to work. Your old beauty will look great for its age!