5 quick and easy tricks to modernize your client’s resale

by James McClister


What do home buyers want? This is a question with many answers. But with older generations shifting towards the rental market and Millennials – the biggest generation in history – entering the market, at least one homebuilder feels comfortable generalizing.

Will Holder is the president of Houston-based Trendmaker Homes. Growing his business in one the country’s most active new construction markets has taught him a few things about homeowners: they expect more, and they expect modern.

“There is an expectation of a standard level, similar to cars today,” he said. “If you look at some smaller, economical car, now it’s Bluetooth enabled with a camera in the back – you go down the list and it looks like a Mercedes 10 years ago.”

Buyers want what’s new and modern. But agents aren’t always gifted with a modern home to sale. In 2011, the average age of a home in the U.S. was 35 years old, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey.

So if you’re saddled with an older home, here are a few ways to help your clients modernize it quickly and without breaking the bank:

  1. Add contemporary art – You might not like it or understand it, but that doesn’t matter – a colorful contemporary piece can liven up a room and draw the eye away from a home’s flaws or weaknesses. Of course, contemporary art pieces can run pretty expensive, which is why agents should skip the originals and go straight for the prints. At 1000|Museums or V&A Shop, agents will find a trove of affordable and iconic art pieces.
  2. Uncover the windows – It’s common to associate space and natural light with modern tastes. If your client’s home is blessed with large windows, use them – remove any old or heavy drapes and opt for lighter, sleeker fabrics. Keep them open to create a lighter, more inviting atmosphere in the room.
  3. Opt for solid colors – If your client’s in love with their old floral-patterned sofa, that’s fine. But don’t let buyers see it. Drape outdated upholstery with tasteful throws in solid colors, accessorize with pillows and draw the eye with bold rugs.
  4. Install magic floating shelves – Simple, streamlined furniture and accessories help create a modern feel, and one very easy-to-install and budget-friendly way to upgrade from imposing bookshelves or outdated cabinets is to replace them with floating shelves.
  5. Ignore size standards – If you have a mid-sized lamp, tradition calls for a mid-sized shade. That’s another thing you might want to reconsider, according to Julia Walsh, editorial director for contemporary style site MyDomain. “One of the easiest ways to create a statement is to play with scale,” she wrote. Playing around with traditional fixtures and accessories can help add interest in a room that needs a pop.

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