(A broker’s perspective)
Preamble Reminder: I do not label myself a creative writer, only an experienced Real Estate Agent. I just wish to convey, in a casual fashion, useful information in a no-nonsense manner with little fluff. Don’t fret if your home does not come close to this fanciful description; I’ll also be crafting articles with suggestions for that no-so-perfect home.
The Perfect Home Chapter 2:
As illustrated in Chapter 1, brightness and cleanliness are essential to the ideal home. These qualities are demonstrated in every room, closet, and crevice. The front door, void of smudged glass and cracked paint, sets the initial impression upon entering. The condition of the flooring throughout the home sets a similar standard. Whether hardwood, tile, or carpet, they are polished, stain-free, and show minimal wear. If visible damage existed, the owners refinished or replaced the floor as needed. Similarly, a home lit with sunlight (and artificial additions if necessary) creates a positive expectation for the rest of the home. All windows, glass doors, and visible light bulbs are wiped clean to achieve maximal brightness. Even the ceiling corners and crown molding are freshly dusted and void of cobwebs. Soft paint tones cover the walls to provide a desirable sense of calm and brightness, instead of bold, dark colors compressing the space. Gathered drapes, opened shades/blinds, and screen-less windows all emphasize the natural light. The theme of this ideal home is neutrally tasteful, which ultimately creates a welcoming atmosphere.
Foyer or Entry Hall
Beginning with the foyer and extending through the home, the owners strategically placed light fixtures in each room. Free of clutter, the foyer feels open and inviting, perhaps with a signature piece of furniture, artwork, or light fixture to create an aesthetically pleasing first impression. A fresh, yet subtle fragrance will waft through the space from a nearby oil diffuser. A decorative rug, freshly cleaned and void of stains, might adorn the floor. If a staircase rests in the foyer, it is completely clear of clutter, stains, or dust — fresh carpet or re-finishing replaced any cat scratches and tread marks on those particularly worn steps. Finally, the railing and banisters are freshly wiped and polished.
Buyers will follow a natural progression from the foyer to the kitchen. As such, no furniture or clutter obstructs the pathway. Upon entering the kitchen, this theme of crisp and clean is crucial. Most small appliances hide away in drawers to emphasize available space on the clean countertops. The sink, stovetop, and cabinets are spotless and dry (no crumbs, handprints, or bacterial residue). No towels hang from the oven door, and no personal items clutter the refrigerator; this maintains neutrality. The homeowners emptied and deodorized the trashcan, and applied baking soda and vinegar to rinse the sink disposal. Finally, a simple centerpiece like a fruit bowl or vase of flowers rests on the island counter. Common areas for hardwood floor wear—around the sink, oven, and refrigerator — are addressed if noticeable. All kitchen lights remain on, including undermount cabinet lights to sustain the bright, inviting atmosphere. The accompanying breakfast room or eat-in area holds a simple arrangement of a table and chairs, with a centerpiece or subdued décor; elaborate place settings are unnecessary.
Excessive furniture, personal photos, and knickknacks will clutter the living room and demolish the perception of space. In the ideal home, a simple furniture set will provide ample area to wander throughout the room, and subdued artwork will color the space. A minimally adorned fireplace mantel sits above the cleaned and deodorized firebox—the residual scent of smoke and burnt wood is replaced with fresh air and subtle fragrances. In addition to overhead lighting, a couple of table/floor lamps brighten the room where needed. For all bookcases/built-ins, books and décor occupy about half of its shelves, leaving adequate space to avoid a cluttered presentation. A large rug will define and unify the furniture grouping, but cords and wires hide securely underneath to prevent a tripping hazard.
To maximize space in the dining room, the chairs are tucked in, and the table leaf is removed. Along the walls, freshly wiped mirrors and light fixtures create a refined ambiance. Any outdated gold or brass-tone light fixtures have been replaced with a more updated design in bronze, satin, or brushed nickel. Much like in the breakfast room, the dining room table might hold a centerpiece and a table runner, but place settings are unnecessary.
Closets and Garage
Buyers will open and investigate every door in the home. Therefore, all pantry, coat, clothes, and linen closets are organized and tidy to maximize the appearance of available space. Floors of all closets are clear of miscellaneous items such as vacuums. Overhead light fixtures evenly brighten each closet. And, while not entirely necessary, the ideal home employs extreme organization to make a profound impression. Particularly in the pantry (and even refrigerator), uniform, labeled containers separate most food products. In the coat and clothing closets, matching hangers hold color-coded items (e.g. all white shirts together), spaced evenly apart to increase the sense of spaciousness and orderliness and truly impress the buyers. The same level of organization exists in the garage. With a two-car garage, any boxes are stacked along the walls to indicate the existence of space for two cars. The ideal home will truly impress buyers by hanging tools along the walls and neatly stacking (labeled) storage bins. An Epoxy-coated floor provides the ultimate finishing touch!
Finally, the master bedroom creates a comforting environment. The bed is made with plush, appropriate bedding and neatly fluffed pillows. Personal items, including valuables and medication, are safely stored away, and secured, if necessary. The adjoined bathroom reflects the same principles of cleanliness as the kitchen: clean glass, dry sinks, fresh caulk, scrubbed grout, and no mildew. Finally, the toilet lids are shut and toiletries neatly hide in drawers. Remember: The value of the ideal home revolves around these two foundations of cleanliness and brightness. Every aspect of the perfecting process aims to 1) create space and 2) emphasize the features of the home, rather than personal belongings — which unfamiliar buyers will characterize as clutter. Proper neutrality, illumination, and tasteful design provide dramatic marketable value. A continuation will follow in my next post (Chapter 3) in a few weeks so stay tuned! Perhaps some of the elements mentioned above can be useful to you as a potential seller – or you as a potential buyer trying to find that ‘close-to-perfect’ home? In any event, I hope this read was just a bit instructive. If you have specific questions on this subjective topic, or any other real estate related topic, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Doyle – Broker