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7 Buyer Turnoffs

bad landscape

1. Haunted-House Landscaping

If your yard looks like the set of a Tim Burton film -- before Edward Scissorhands has done his handiwork -- you need to tidy up or face rejection by buyers who will drive by and never get out of their car or come back. Besides mowing the lawn, your to-do list should include trimming scraggly trees and shrubs, and removing anything that's dead or beyond resuscitation. Edge, weed and mulch garden beds. Plant annuals in a plot or pot for color .

room green

2. Your Personal Paint Palette

Paint over colors that reflect your taste but may put off potential buyers, such as a scarlet-red accent wall, a lemon-yellow child’s bedroom or a forest-green den. "Fun colors are for living, but neutral colors are for selling. That being said, you should avoid using stark-white paint. Choose a warm neutral color -- beige, ivory, taupe or light gray -- that makes your rooms look inviting, larger and brighter. Redo painted trim in white.

popcorn ceiling 3. Popcorn-Finished Ceilings

If you've lived with a popcorn ceiling, you know that it accumulates dirt, defies cleaning and is hard to paint. Worse, if your home was built prior to the mid-1980s, it may contain asbestos. (It was banned in ceiling products in 1977, but existing supplies may have been used later.)

You should have the ceiling sampled and tested for asbestos by a licensed inspector and if the test result is positive, hire a certified asbestos abatement contractor to seal it with spray paint if it's in good shape. Preferably, you should remove it or sheetrock over it - people just don't like it.

4. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

Buyers these days expect hardwood floors, even in starter homes. If carpet hides your home's floors, remove it to expose them, even if the wood isn't in the best condition. If you don’t have hardwood, you may want to consider having it installed in a first-floor living area. If you must keep the carpeting, make sure it looks and smells its best by having it professionally cleaned, especially in high-traffic areas or if you have pets. If the carpet is beyond hope, you may have to replace it.

5. Brass Fixtures

From switch plates to chandeliers, builder-grade, shiny yellow brass is out. Replace it with chrome- or satin-nickel-finish fixtures for a contemporary look, or an oil-rubbed bronze or black finish to update a traditional room. This is a pretty straightforward do-it-yourself job.

6. 'Crystal' Faucet Handles

Acrylic knobs in the bathroom look cheap and can be hard to grip by young, aged or soapy hands. Replace them with a faucet-and-handle set that matches the existing fixture's configuration (centerset or widespread) and meets the standard of the Americans with Disabilities Act with flipper- or lever-style handles. A polished-chrome finish will cost you the least and still be durable. Plus, the National Kitchen & Bath Association says that the finish is enjoying a surge in popularity over brushed or satin finishes.

hollywood lights

7. Vanity Strips

Nothing says 1970s like a Hollywood-style strip of bare, round lights over your bathroom mirror. Replace it with a fixture that includes a shade for each bulb in a style and finish that complements your faucet set. If you have a one-person mirror, you could replace the vanity strip with a wall sconce on either side of the mirror to achieve better lighting for shaving or applying make-up.

Give me a call to see if there is anything specific you should be addressing. (203) 536-2232.

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