Hook ’em before the front door

Often times I am amazed when I walk up to a listing appointment, ready for pictures, and contracts, and the lawn is a out of control and full of weeds, the could be beautiful mulch beds on the walk up are full of weeds and the front door needs a good paint job, and the “sellers” say, “so you think I can get top dollar for my home?”

Sellers just spent money to have the inside of the house painted, new carpet or at least they were cleaned, and everything else professionally cleaned, and possibly staged. Here’s what they’re missing: the piece de resistance, the curb appeal, the “welcome home and forget about the rest of world” place gets neglected. Potential buyers have turned themselves off, crossed your house off the list, and all because you haven’t treated your lawn, weeded your beds, or hired someone to professionally maintain your landscaping and make this a “To Die For” home. Take the time, or invest the money to make sure that if your great grandmother came to see your beautiful house for the first time, you could and would be proud to say this is “my Home” and “welcome.”

Here are some other tips to help you sell your home quicker and for more money on the interior:

  1. Coral shades. A blast of a new color is often the easiest change for sellers to make, offering the biggest bang for their buck.  Pair it with crisp white, gray, or similar saturations of lilac, green, and violet, and you are sure to create the wow factor.
  2. Open spaces go mainstream. An open floor plan may feel like old hat, but it’s becoming a wish beyond the young hipster demographic, so you’ll increasingly see this layout in traditional condo buildings and single-family suburban homes in 2016. The reason? After the kitchen became the home’s hub, the next step was to remove all walls for greater togetherness.
  3. Freestanding tubs. Freestanding tubs may conjure images of Victorian-era opulence, but the newest iteration from companies like Kohler shows a cool sculptural hand. One caveat: Some may find it hard to climb in and out. These tubs complement other bathroom trends: open wall niches and single wash basins, since two people rarely use the room simultaneously.
  4. Quartzite. While granite still appeals, quartzite is becoming the new hot contender, thanks to its reputation as a natural stone that’s virtually indestructible. It also more closely resembles the most luxe classic—marble—without the drawbacks of staining easily. Quartzite is moving ahead of last year’s favorite, quartz, which is also tough but is manmade.
  5. Porcelain floors. If you’re going to go with imitation wood, porcelain will be your 2016 go-to. It’s less expensive and wears as well as or better than the real thing. Porcelain can be found in traditional small tiles or long, linear planks. It’s also available in numerous colors and textures, including popular one-color combos with slight variations for a hint of differentiation. Good places to use this material are high-traffic rooms, hallways, and areas exposed to moisture.
  6. Almost Jetson-ready. Prices have come down for technologies such as web-controlled security cameras and motion sensors for pets. Newer models are also easier to install and operate since many are powered by batteries, rather than requiring an electrician to rewire an entire house. The Nest home Thermometer, Ipad or Smartphone controlled lights, fans, and wired sound are great options to make your home feel like it’s futuristic.
  7. Charging stations. With the size of electronic devices shrinking and the proliferation of Wi-Fi, demand for large desks and separate home office is waning. However, home owners still need a dedicated space for charging devices, and the most popular locations are a corner of a kitchen, entrance from the garage, and the mud room.
  8. Multiple master suites. Having two master bedroom suites, each with its own adjoining bathroom, makes a house work better for multiple generations. Such an arrangement allows grown children and aging parents to move in for long- or short-term stays, but the arrangement also welcomes out-of-town guests. When both suites are located on the main level, you hit the jackpot.
  9. Fireplaces and fire pits. The sight of a flame—real or faux—has universal appeal as a signal of warmth, romance, and togetherness. New versions on the market make this amenity more accessible with more compact design and fewer venting concerns. This year, be on the lookout for the latest iteration on this classic: chic, modern takes on the humble wood stove.
  10. Wellness systems. Builders are now addressing environmental and health concerns with holistic solutions, such as heat recovery ventilation systems that filter air continuously and use little energy. Other new ways to improve healthfulness include lighting systems that utilize sunshine, swimming pools that eschew chlorine and salt by featuring a second adjacent pool with plants and gravel that cleanse water, and edible gardens starring ingredients such as curly blue kale.
  11. Storage. The new buzzword is “specialized storage,” placed right where it’s needed. Home owners want everything to have its place.  More home owners are increasingly willing to pare the dimensions of a second or third bedroom in order to gain a suitably sized walk-in closet in their master bedroom,  In a kitchen, it may mean a “super pantry”—a butler’s pantry on steroids with prep space, open storage, secondary appliances, and even a room for wrapping gifts.
  12. Keyless entry. Forget your key (again)? No big deal as builders start to switch to biometric fingerprint door locks with numerical algorithms entered in a database. Some systems permit home owners to track who entered and when.  The “wring” is a really cool video enabled option, and it actually saves you money on your home owners insurance, off setting the cost of purchase
  13. Salon-style walls. Instead of displaying a few distinct pieces on a wall, the “salon style” trend features works from floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall. Think Parisian salon at the turn of the century.  then brass made a comeback. The 2016 “it” metal is copper, which can exude industrial warmth in large swaths or judiciously in a few backsplash tiles, hanging fixture, or pots dangling from a rack. The appeal comes from the popularity of industrial chic, which Restoration Hardware’s iconic style has helped promote.
  14. Shades of white kitchens. Despite all the variations in colors and textures for kitchen counters, backsplashes, cabinets, and flooring, the all-white kitchen still gets the brass ring. What’s different now is that all-white does not mean the same white, since variations add depth and visual appeal. When cabinets are white, home owners can choose bigger, bolder hardware.
  15. Outdoor living. Think “outdoor living room” and you will hit the mark.  Nice outdoor space has solidified more deals for buyers in the last year than ever. Outdoor spaces can be covered or not, but the trend to have a covered spot where you can put your 52′ flat screen and keep it out of the elements.  That way dad can catch that favorite sports game while still playing catch with his kids in the back yard.

While it’s fun to be ahead of the curve with the latest trends, I also try to put my clients budget into perspective and get them the most bang for their buck.