Want to Sell your Home? Don’t do this: a Case Study

We talk a lot around here about what to do to sell your home, but here’s a perfect, real world example of what not to do.

This home is in a beach community, so it’s priced at a hefty $1305 per square foot. It’s a 3 bedroom but only has 1 small bath, which makes it less appealing to buyers. This means you have to pull out the big design guns to woo buyers into seeing past these shortcomings. So let’s get to it!

First impression, curb appeal.
On a scale of 1-10, how inviting is the outside of this house? I’d say the architecture is similar to other bungalow-style homes in the area. But the color is meh and there’s no color with plants or planters. Not exactly the home I would rush out of my car to see!

This home reads as average, and buyers always want to feel like they are buying a home that’s special.

The great news is there’s lots of natural opportunity to add color to this house. I’d add colorful plants just under the window, and some pops of color with planters outside the door with more color as well.
The listings says this home has recently been remodeled, but from the inside photos it looks dated by at least 15 years. Which is further proof that when you are remodeling for sale it’s best to consult with a designer first.
Given this “recent remodel”, most likely the seller won’t want to put more money into changing floors and tiles, so we’ll have to focus on furnishings and cosmetic fixes.

Adding color with flowers and planters is inexpensive and adds massive amounts of curb appeal to a home.

Next, let’s go inside. This home makes me think there’s a bachelor living here, with all the black leather and massive entertainment centers and TVs. But the neighborhood is full of families, so if you want to appeal to those buyers (which is what I recommend) it’s time to blow this all up and start over.

Bachelor pad gone so very wrong. 

Here we have a great focal point, natural light and views coming through the sliding glass doors. Which are completely overwhelmed and obscured by the black leather sofa and monstrosity of a TV and entertainment system. Flanked by two $20 lamps, a bunch of wires and speakers, and a potty pad for the family pet. 

Not exactly our idea of Aspirational Staging™. Not to mention, the walls are painted a bland shade of beige that is neither inspiring nor appealing. 

We do our best to work with the client’s furnishings, but in this case we would recommend taking everything from this room. 
Painting the walls a very pale shade of aqua, such as Sea Foam by Benjamin Moore, would be a great choice for this beach community. 
Adding light, white furniture with pops of color, along with an area rug to add texture, interest and color to the space will appeal to the ideal buyers in this area. 

Here’s a photo of a home for sale up the street. Which would you choose?

Blue is a well loved color by both women and men, making it a no-brainer when staging.

And although a white and blue beachy look is perfect for this neighborhood and buyer, you could go with something slightly more sophisticated as well, since this neighborhood is also full of tech entrepreneurs. Here’s a quick 3D rendering I did to show my point. 
Here we have Sea Foam on the walls, and an area rug with some light pops of color. The ghost chairs add extra seating but light “weight” to the room.

A mid-century lovers dream, this room could easily become more sophisticated with just a few different choices.

Alright! Moving on let’s see what else needs fixing here. How about the kitchen, one of the favorite rooms of the house? Let it be known, kitchens sell houses, so we have a lot of work to do. 
Here we have beige and more beige. The stove is shoved in the corner but not much can be done about that now.
For quick cosmetic fixes, I would recommend painting these cabinets from orange-oak to off white. Specifically, White Dove is a creamy off-white by Benjamin Moore that will blend well with all the yellow in the tile flooring and countertops. I’d also recommend painting the walls in White Dove, as well as updating the cabinets with new knobs, perhaps in a brushed nickel.
Speaking of the yellow floor, let’s add a colorful, modern runner to hide it, shall we?

This kitchen needs a lot of updating, but can be salvaged with some quick costmetic fixes.
Orange oak is never appealing to buyers.

I know, this story keeps going. But if I have to suffer, you have to suffer too. Which brings me to this bedroom.
Here again we have a window, which adds natural light. So let’s cover it with a massive TV. Said no buyers, ever. And let’s have a stuffed animal in the corner. Said only 5 year olds that don’t buy houses.
Meanwhile, over on the bed we can see there are no sheets, wrinkled comforter and zero aesthetic appeal or thought put in to this room. Zeee-roh.
While we’re at it, who wants to live in a beige bedroom? My vote is Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore, which works well with Sea Foam, albeit a darker hue. This new shade would make this bedroom cozy and speak to its coastal roots!

This bedroom makes me want to run out of this house screaming.
No to alllll of this. 

Onward! The bathroom calls us.
As I mentioned, there’s only one bathroom in this house and it’s tiny. So we need to make the most of it. Thankfully this home sits on a large enough lot that the new buyers have plenty of room to add on.
Sadly, we are presented with more ugly tile. And white walls and no charm. So let’s tie this palette together with Sea Foam in the bathroom too.
Add a charming, wispy curtain over the window and a runner to cover this ugly floor. Three small paintings that all tie together in size and aesthetic over the toilet and we’ll be in business.
I can’t see the mirror enough to ascertain if it stays or goes, but if I’m playing my cards on what I’ve seen so far, this will need to be updated as well.

World’s smallest and most unappealing bathroom.
We can’t work miracles but this bathroom can be vastly improved to the tune of $200 or less.

Finally, we near the finish line with the outdoors. There’s no surprise here, it also needs a lot of help.
I see boxes and wires everywhere, and no color. It doesn’t look like anyone lives here, and if they do they’ve never ever had any fun. Not even once.
A plus though, there are pavers, and grass!

Although not as bad as the inside of the home, this backyard needs a lot of help to appeal to buyers.

I would recommend getting rid of as many boxes that are just hanging around, adding some chairs and furniture (in this case on the left, to cover some of the boxes and wires), colorful planters and floral plants. Let’s make it look festive! Hang some white outdoor lights around the outdoor space, if possible. 
Part of the magic of staging is making it look like a house where people entertain and enjoy life!

Now we have ended this particular Case Study, though there are so many more in need of help. 
One quick and final note, in the listing it did say that the sellers are getting organized and getting the home ready for sale. That’s great, and I hope they do some of the things that I’ve pointed out here.
However, let it always be remembered that you get that one chance to make a first impression. Listing your home or allowing any photos before you have everything ready is a HUGE no-no.

Did you hear? We won best of Houzz 2019. We’ve made a lot of sellers and clients very happy, and we’d like to help you too! Call us at 310.903.2321 to discuss your project, or follow this link to set up your complimentary Discovery Call