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May 9, 2006   
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Remodeling Tips for Your Clients
by Mark Nash

Pickled oak floor and cabinet finishes, whirlpool bathtubs and indoor-outdoor carpeting were once the rage. Trends come, trends go, but careful planning by home sellers when remodeling today can save them time and frustration when it comes time to market their home. Here are some tips to pass on to your clients if they are thinking about remodeling.

  • Choose light to medium stain colors when refinishing or installing hardwood floors. Black might be in, but is expensive to lighten later.

  • Dated ceramic tile and bathroom fixtures need more than today's paint colors and new bath rugs in buyers eyes.

  • Choose wall colors that let home buyers overlay their style. Strong commitment colors can block buyers from seeing themselves in your space.

  • Parquet and laminate floors might be a quick fix, but you'll pay later with low buyer perceptions of these products.

  • Granite countertops on 1980's oak cabinets with new hardware are a sure sign of a quick but incomplete update to buyers.

  • Remember to size walls before applying wallpaper, so it is easier to remove. Home buyers stay away from homes that have any more than one room of wallpaper. Ditto on wallpaper borders.

  • Think twice before converting third or fourth bedroom to a master bath. The majority of home buyers would rather have the flexibility of an extra room.

  • Install new kitchen cabinets to the ceiling, today's buyers want the utility of the extra storage 42" cabinets provide.

  • Buyers choose homes with first floor family rooms over basement recreation rooms. Compare costs of adding on to the first floor versus building out basement space.

  • Include generous walk-in closets, pantries and laundries near bedrooms. Buyers will walk away from a home that can't handle their belongings.

  • Consider that buyers will see your in-ground swimming pool as a negative in cold climates.

  • Kitchen back splash and wall to wall ceiling mirrors are number one on the buyer hate parade!

  • Keep finishes and proportions of new rooms similar to existing spaces. The huge new living room with crown molding next to the old galley kitchen with metal cabinets screams poor remodeling planning.

  • Spiral staircases might solve space limitations; most buyers will stay away from a home with one, or discount your price to add a full-size staircase.

  • Textured walls and popcorn ceilings are a common turn-off for buyers.

  • Remember to add sufficient heat and air-conditioning when remodeling. After thought baseboard heating and the only window air-conditioner in a centrally air-conditioned home denotes poor planning.

    Published: May 9, 2006

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    Mark Nash's fourth real estate book, "1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home" (2005), and working as a real estate broker in Chicago are the foundation for his consumer-centric real estate perspective which has been featured on CBS The Early Show, Bloomberg TV, Chicago Sun-Times, Fidelity Investor's Weekly, Dow Jones Market Watch,, The New York Times, Realty Times, Universal Press Syndicate and USA Today. You can contact Mark at

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