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Ask McEnearney: To Sell My House Do I Have to Neutralize Everything?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Lisa Groover of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Lisa at 703-919-4426 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: I am getting my house ready to put on the market and wanted to ask if everything really needs to be all beige or gray?

Answer: The best way to answer this question is…it depends upon the type of property, the target buyer pool, if you are using your furniture and accessories, or if it will be staged.

When I am working with a seller, my first step is to have them give me a tour of their home to discuss what they are planning to keep, move, give away or sell. We also review the paint colors, artwork, accessories and bedding. I then come back on my own and walk through the house making a list of suggested repairs, painting, modifications, items to keep in the same room, items to move elsewhere, items to put into storage, and options for staging. Then we get together to review and make decisions on how to move forward.

I generally suggest a neutral wall color throughout the house. It does not have to be the same color in every room, but a pallet that keeps the home light and bright and flows nicely from room to room. In cases where each room is a different bold color, it can be a distraction to the potential buyer and an expense that they prefer not to incur before moving into their new home.

I personally have a lime green kitchen and a hot pink master bathroom and would definitely need to make some changes before putting my own house on the market.

With neutral paint, bedding, shower curtains and towels, carpet, or in most cases furniture, you can always add color and personality with your artwork and accessories. I just sold a home in Old Town Alexandria with creamy white walls, light hardwood and tile floors, and white blinds. We used grey and white linens and white towels, and brought in large colorful contemporary art and fun accessories to make it pop! The photos and feedback were fabulous and it sold in a few days.

In another listing, the contemporary townhome had dark hardwoods, white cabinets and countertops, light grey walls and beautiful neutral tile. The furniture, artwork, and accessories were bright greens and oranges. It was gorgeous!

In other situations, however, I have worked with sellers that, like me, love colorful walls and bold artwork and accessories, and were not open to making changes. The feedback I received from potential buyers was that they could not picture themselves or their furniture in the house, and the listing lingered on the market until the price or condition was modified.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most buyers keep up with TV shows, social media, and magazines about flipping houses, before and after makeovers, and how to decorate a new home. They will feel a neutral background offers them more options.

Whether you decided to go with a completely neutral look, or one with colorful accents, keep in mind that in order to get top dollar, your home should be move-in ready.

If you would like a professional, confidential evaluation of your home, please give me a call. I am happy to meet with you, tour your home, and offer suggestions for updates, repairs, or staging prior to listing your home.

Good luck!

Lisa Groover is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Old Town Alexandria, VA. Having had seven golden retrievers since moving to Alexandria in 1989, she is dedicated to helping other dog owners through the challenges of renting, buying and selling their home.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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