Outdated features? What to update in a home before it hits the market

By Kelly Leighton | Nov. 29, 2017 | 3 min. read

The majority of homebuyers want modern, updated features in their future home.

Yet, 70 percent admit to having outdated features in their home, according to a survey from Taylor Morrison.

The survey found the worst, most outdated features in homes include linoleum floors (40 percent), popcorn ceilings (29 percent), wood paneling (28 percent), ceramic tile countertops (28 percent), shag carpeting (19 percent) and avocado green appliances (8 percent).

PAR’s leadership chimed in with what they think are the most outdated features, as well as how to update homes to sell.

PAR President Kathy McQuilkin said that she advises clients to paint with fresh and neutral colors where possible, and to remove wallpaper if it is dated or not neutral. “Clean carpets, and if they are too old or soiled, replace with neutral mid-grade carpet, making a clean palette for homebuyers to help envision themselves in the home with their decor. Replace brass plumbing fixtures with brushed nickel, chrome or bronze finish. Brass is very dated in our area of the country,” she said. “Review landscaping, particularly in the front, as old, overgrown shrubs give a poor first impression. You only have one chance for that important first impression. Hardwood floors are a great selling feature, but make sure that they are in good condition so that they don’t become a negative in the buyer’s mind. In many of our price ranges, if kitchen counters are laminate, we will suggest a reasonably priced granite or other hard surface counter before listing.”

PAR President-elect Todd Umbenhauer said that when helping a local couple downsize, he told them their formica countertops were outdated, and he suggested updating to granite. The couple then admitted they expected granite in their next kitchen. “I rest my case,” he said. “Granite was installed before we put their home on the market. The cost to install new countertops has decreased significantly over the last several years.”

Umbenhauer added, “Sometimes upgrades are already in place, but unseen. I have had a number of situations where a home has wall-to-wall carpeting throughout, and we then discover there are gleaming hardwood floors under the carpeting that have not seen the light of day since they were installed. Simply remove the carpeting to maximize value.”

He also echoed McQuilkin’s sentiments on paint. “As always, fresh paint provides the best return on investment. But, for goodness sake, don’t paint everything off-white. Hospitals don’t even look like hospitals anymore. By introducing current colors more contrast is created for pictures and videos which cause the house to present better online which will result in increased showings. Another inexpensive way to get a home out of the 80s is to install new light fixtures, ceiling fans and the like. The cost is relatively low to accomplish this but the new fixtures really create a fresh and updated look,” he added.

PAR First Vice President Bill McFalls said he also advises clients to get rid of formica countertops. He added that a few more features that are out of style include: “cultured marble sinks in bathrooms, aluminum siding, swimming pools, shag carpet, any yellow or green appliances in the kitchen and lighting fixtures that are over 10 years old in design.”

Treasurer Bill Festa concluded that floor-to-ceiling mirrors have to go, along with arches and flock wallpaper.

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