We are renovating our house and are conscious of resale. Should everything be in neutral colours?
Keep it simple
The reason real estate experts claim neutral colours — white, taupe, cream — work best when selling is that a less colourful palette better allows buyers to picture themselves and their furniture in their prospective new home. But most people buy houses for location and price first and only then look to decoration. Just a few will reject a property because a bedroom is painted orange. They might, however, turn away if the entire kitchen, cabinetry and all, glows like the sun. Kitchens and bathrooms are expensive to replace and unless you intend to stay in your home for decades, it’s sensible to keep them neutral if only to maximise resale.
But the rest of the house is fair game. How you decorate reflects you and how you live. And if you do need to sell — non-neutral walls and all — here are a few suggestions on how to maximise the value.
Declutter. Declutter does mean declutter. Hire a large storage unit short-term and use it to store everything you don’t need for three to six months. Panini-maker? Off to storage. Out-of-season clothes, ditto. Toys, tools and outdated technology ... hide them away until you move. Strip the house right back. When a prospective buyer opens a cupboard, he or she should be focusing on how much storage space there is, not how much stuff you have.
Spring clean. Complete all those unfinished jobs. Shampoo the carpets. Add some flowers and plants. If the house looks well loved, buyers are less likely to be anxious there’s anything wrong with it.
Define use. The way you live in your home might not be the way others will. If you’ve turned a third bedroom into an office, you run the risk of buyers seeing the house as two-bedroomed, not three. Ditch the study and return the room to its original function. Hire extra beds and furniture from staging companies.
Accentuate the house’s architectural best bits. A great view is a drawcard, but if the room is messy or the windows grubby, buyers are less likely to be impressed. Don’t let untidiness be a distraction.
De-personalise. You don’t have to store away your favourite objects but do be objective about family photos and knick-knacks. Selling a house is hard enough without you feeling exposed. Detaching yourself from your home will also make it easier to deal with any of the “feedback” you don’t want to hear.
Painting everything white isn’t necessary when selling a house but decluttering definitely is. Pare back rooms to essentials and ensure their use is defined appropriately. A touch of luxe in the form of a beautifully made bed doesn’t hurt either.