The WORST Countertop Choice When Selling Your House

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Now that grays are the new neutral in updating interiors, designers are looking for countertop materials that blend beautifully with these colors. Enter the latest star of the kitchen design world…marble.

Gird your loinsI have to admit, the first words that popped into my head about using marble for kitchen countertops were, “All right everyone, gird your loins!” (The Devil Wears Prada)

Devils…I mean trend-setting designers… are now specifying marble as the latest ‘must have’ countertop material. Check out Pinterest, Houzz, Better Homes. You’ll see what I mean.

But is it the BEST choice if you are preparing your house for sale?

Recently, one of my clients, who was updating her kitchen before listing, left me an excited voicemail saying,

“I’m soooooo lucky! I’ve just put their last two marble slabs on hold. According to the salesperson, they are selling out of it as soon as it arrives!”

Now keep in mind, my client went to this supplier to select granite options, but she got swept up in the current marble frenzy. After all, she loved it and everyone was ordering it. She knew it had to be the right choice!

It’s so easy to be seduced by the beauty of its soft, graceful veining and the fact that it is not seen everywhere, unlike granite. Almost every printed or internet design source indicates marble is the right choice for our on-trend, white kitchens. It is described as NEW and FRESH with a CLASSIC feel. But does classic mean good? Let’s face it. It’s an old material with some distinct maintenance issues.

 

Marble requires frequent sealing. It etches, stains, scratches and chips easily. According to some suppliers, all these traits give it character. Really? Aren’t these characteristics exactly what propelled the countertop industry to develop alternative materials?

 

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m the first to recommend classic choices and love the look of marble. Given the sealers and finishes available today, maintaining marble is a bit more manageable than it was years ago.

But if you are trying to attract BUYERS, your countertop choice also needs to fit the lifestyles of most people. The majority of people say they don’t have enough time as it is. Do you think they’ll want to buy your house if they believe maintaining it will take a lot of time and effort?

So, if you’re a seller getting your property ready to connect with buyers, DO NOT select marble countertops! DO. NOT. SELECT. MARBLE. COUNTERTOPS!

I guarantee that unless your prospective buyers understand and appreciate the inherent ‘character’ of marble created through daily living, the value of your brand new countertop investment will plummet. Buyers will not be willing to pay big dollars for a new countertop that looks worn, particularly if they aren’t the ones doing the wearing.

Instead you want choices that all buyers can identify as having value. Boring choices? Maybe. But choices immediately recognized by buyers as desirable, with little or no maintenance, will automatically create a connection with them.  Marble is not it.

So it comes down to this. How much do you want to gamble with your investment?

Do you want to spend thousands of dollars installing countertops that many buyers will not want once they find out how much maintenance and care they require? That’s strike 1 against the successful sale of your property. Beware…2 more strikes and you’re out!

What alternatives to marble have you used that give the same look? Would love for you to share your suggestions! 250X52 I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC, an Accredited Staging Professional® and Kitchen Specialist in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

The Most Important Measurement in Updating Your Kitchen

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Kitchens. They sell houses. With the flood of HGTV shows, blogs and design magazines showing how ‘easy kitchen improvements are, buyers EXPECT updated kitchens.

When our clients ask us to come in to improve their kitchen, we often are able to make simple changes such as replacing appliances, lighting, countertops, back splashes and cabinet hardware.

However, sometimes the simple changes just don’t get it. If anything, adding updates to existing old, ugly cabinets makes them look worse. That’s just “putting lipstick on a pig!”

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“Lipstick on a pig!” New granite countertops installed on old cabinets.

Many times we are confronted with an older kitchen with classic cabinets that still look nice, but the layout does not make sense or it needs to be larger. Is this your situation?

What are your options? Gut the kitchen? That’s generally not in the budget. Add a few new cabinets and use as many of the old cabinets as possible? Yes!

Okay, now look down at your cabinets. Do you see that gap between the floor and the bottom of your cabinets? That’s the toe kick. The dimension of your toe kick is the most important measurement in your kitchen if you are thinking of incorporating new cabinets. It is the kicker (pun intended) to your successful redesign.

When we update kitchens, we are usually dealing with older cabinets in which the toe kicks are smaller than those on new cabinets produced today. Are you saying, “But what’s the big deal? If the new cabinet is too tall, just trim some off the bottom and if it’s too short, just elevate the cabinet or countertop.” Well, not so fast…

Take a look at the graphic. In either case, the doors and drawers won’t line up with your existing cabinets if you adjust the height up or down. If you elevate the countertop and try to cover the gap with trim, the trim pieces usually interfere with the doors or drawers when you extend the trim onto the cabinets without the gap.

Toe Kicks of Cabinets

Two Different Cabinet Toe Kicks

Instead, you’ll need to redesign the kitchen so the old base cabinets are in one area and new ones in another. You don’t want to have them side by side or the two different toe kick heights will be noticeable and will scream DIY. Not what you want a prospective buyer to think and a good way to have your investment dollars vanish before your eyes.

What has been your kitchen redesign experience? Would love to hear any helpful hints you would like to pass along!

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.
Related Resources:

The Shocking Truth About Granite

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Granite. It’s the word realtors and buyers love to see in the description of any house. It’s the current buzz word in real estate that is immediately associated with quality properties that are updated. It’s the material my design clients ask me to help them select time and again. After all, who wants to invest thousands in a countertop and not get it right?

The shocking truth is that if you choose granite as an upgrade to help sell your home, you might automatically turn off the very people you want to attract; home buyers. Why? Because a granite choice is extremely personal. As a home stager, granite can be an ugly word. No amount of staging can convince a buyer to purchase a home if it has very taste specific granite, unless that one in a million buyer loves it too.

Homeowners continue to install it though, because they’ve been told by professionals, design magazines and TV decorating shows that it is the right choice; the choice that will be a great return on investment. This is exactly why I installed it in my own home years ago. And because of all the hype the last 10-15 years, granite has been elevated to “king of the countertop mountain,” so to speak.

But the reality is, most prospective buyers aren’t aware of the advantages of various countertop materials, so they continue to ask for granite as a safe choice. They can walk into any property and easily identify this upgrade as a good investment. It’s costly and everybody wants it, so it must be good, right?

If we weren’t all drinking the Kool-Aid, would we still select granite if we truly wanted an investment that would attract buyers not only today, but in the future? I don’t think so.

Yes, granite is a natural product that has unique qualities; inherent beauty and depth of color that can only be generated through thousands of years of heat and compression within the earth’s crust. But it has drawbacks that make it less than perfect:

  1. Maintenance – Most granite needs to be periodically sealed due to the porosity of the stone. This porosity can also trap bacteria; not good for kitchens where the bacteria of raw meat can rear its ugly head.
  2. Durability – I’ve heard clients say, “I can cut right on my granite and take hot pots off the stove and put them directly on it.” Well, yes you can if you want to dull your knives and run the risk of having your granite crack. Since granite is a natural, igneous rock, it can have fissures within the slab. These weak areas can cause cracking if the expansion and contraction is too fast due to extreme temperature changes.
  3. Cost – since granite has been around for a while and new alternative materials are becoming available, the cost is starting to go down a bit, but it is still a hefty investment for most homeowners.
  4. Movement – This is the kicker; the characteristic of granite that makes it sooooo taste specific. Either you love all the movement created by the veining of each type of granite or you don’t. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground with most people. And because buyers are either in one camp or the other, home sellers automatically alienate a large group of buyers just by the granite selection they make.

So you can see, granite has issues. If we’re going to invest bookoo bucks in home improvement knowing that we want to attract buyers now or in the future, why aren’t we selecting products that have no maintenance and will appeal to most people?

Times are changing. We are starting to wake up. We are educating ourselves as to the benefits of alternative materials to create interiors that will stand the test of time and give us the biggest bang for our investment dollars.

Let’s make our selections as timeless as possible so a buyer doesn’t walk in a house and immediately know the year the home improvement took place.

Quartz countertops, anyone?

What do you think about granite?

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

 

Related Resources:

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

How To Make Fearless Design Decisions – A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL – 4 Easy Steps to Find the Money Hidden in Your Linen Closet

Home Staging in Geneva, IL – 2 Secrets to Selling Your Home

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Via Flickr Creative Commons, user kaibara87.

Are you thinking that you need to be lucky to sell your home in today’s market?

Believe it or not, luck has nothing to do with it (Well, maybe finding a four-leaf clover in the yard wouldn’t hurt.)

The 2 secrets to selling your home in Geneva, Ilinois are:

  1. finding an Accredited Staging Professional® (ASP®) to make it stand out above all the other properties on the market.
  2. pricing it correctly as a Staged home.

First, there’s finding an Accredited Staging Professional®.

Finding an Accredited Staging Professional® (ASP®) in Geneva, Illinois who you feel comfortable with is critical. After all, this person will be sorting your possessions and looking in your closets and cabinets. They’ll be handling your memories.

Elvis collection

Via Flickr Creative Commons, user State Farm.

As ASPs®, we commonly hear:

“I’ve been collecting Elvis memorabilia since I was in the 4th grade and I love to show it off.”; “My mother gave me this dish and I have to display it.”; “This was my daughter’s favorite toy. It reminds me so much of her and I want to keep it out.”; “My husband can’t part with his trophies.” And the list goes on…

This past week, I was fortunate to stage the home of a woman who is an empty nester. She shared some of her feelings about her upcoming move…

“You know this move is just so much more stressful than any of our others. I think it’s because the kids aren’t here any more. Before we had to consider school districts and accessibility to the kid’s activities when thinking about our move. Now we don’t have anything. This house has all our memories in it.”

Do you think you can be objective about the things in your home that represent your memories? Most people can’t. They’re too caught up in the significance of each item. So you need to find a Home Stager in the Fox Valley Area to help you.

As Accredited Staging Professionals®, we can not only be objective, but we have the knowledge to know what works to highlight the best features of your home. We create spaces that invite buyers in and make them want to linger. The longer they are in your house, the more emotionally connected they become. The more connected they become, the more likely they will make an offer.

Second, there’s pricing it correctly as a Staged home.

Staging your home elevates your property above 80-90% of the listings in Geneva, Illinois. Buyers will be comparing your staged property to all the other unstaged properties they see. The online photos of your staged property will also shine far above those that are not staged.Your staged house will be setting the standard as to how much value buyers feel they are getting for the price.

As a result, buyers will be willing to offer the best possible price for your premier property. This impacts your listing price.

Interviewing three Realtors and asking for a Competitive Marketing Analysis (CMA) is a good step toward listing your staged property for the right price.

Related Resources:

5 Tips to Help You Find a Home Stager in St. Charles, Illinois – “The Box of Chocolates Dilemma”

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL – 4 Easy Steps to Find the Money Hidden in Your Linen Closet

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.