“If they don’t like my style, then they don’t have to buy the house!” my 85-year old mother says to me when we talk about what she needs to do to get her house market ready. Truthfully, this a fake scenario since I would never let my parents sell my childhood home; they know I would buy it from them first. But every time I go visit, my mom asks me what I would do if she did sell it, and every time she belligerently quotes the above.
My mom has style and a great sense of interior design, but it isn’t what would sell a house quickly. When I was an infant, pictures show a checkerboard linoleum floor, dark paneling, and an orange leather couch, so VERY 1969. The 1965 Mad Men-like kitchen cabinets are solid wood and have served well for the 53 years she has inhabited the home. I don’t even notice the pastel pink cabinets in my childhood bathroom with flower wallpaper, but my husband did the first time he went in wide-eyed. The formal dining room and living rooms, which we were never allowed in except for special occasions, used to be covered in chintz, but now it and much of the main areas display a Southwest style, which I actually like.
And wallpaper. Wallpaper everywhere, even on ceilings. My mom has jokingly said that if she and my dad were ever going to divorce, it would be over wallpaper installations.
Today I went into a beautiful home in a gorgeous Eastside Seattle suburb (click to see here), but it was hard to see past the wallpaper (and the hundred rooster representations) throughout the house. Laura Ashley would have been proud of these interior decorating decisions. A lot of knick knacks, wall paper, and fabric designs in every room. I can see the love and careful choices the owner made years ago to make her house a showcase, but now the style is a bit much for today’s buyer.
So I have some suggestions for both Sellers and Buyers.
Buyers: See past the wallpaper and thingamajigs. Wallpaper, curtains, and brass fixtures can be removed easily. You will make the house your own and it will be so cool for you and your collection of bobble heads can be displayed prominently until you move on to a new life adventure years down the road.
Sellers: Declutter, declutter, declutter. I know you raised your three, beautiful children there and have amazing memories when your daughter wore the biggest bow in her hair for pictures in front of the Christmas tree. It is time to let your home bring joy to other people who see the home through a different lens and can’t see themselves in the home with all of your many possessions filling the space.
These out-of-style homes are well-loved, and that’s the kind of energy you should want in a new home. It is ready to be updated and welcomed into a new era by your family now. Except my parents’ house…no one is buying that house but me!