Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wallpaper: It's come a long way

Grey textured wallpaper
If you're trying to update your homes look, especially if you're trying to sell, paint is not the only option for giving your home a nice new update. While you may have been hesitant to use wallpaper in the past or you've heard countless times how it is a turn off to a potential buyer the truth is, wallpaper is coming back in big way. What wallpaper can give you over paint is it can hide a multitude of imperfections in the wall.

Easy installation- For kitchen and bathrooms, there are great neutral choices that are easier to install like this example: Brewster 425-6004 Trends For Kitchen and Bath Paper Crackle Wallpaper. Why is this paper a great choice? Well it is neutral, and so will not offend most buyers since it will go with a wide array of styles and décor. It has a random non repeating pattern which means you won't have to line up patterns. This saves you a lot of money because there are no extra cuts needed. It's scrub able, peel-able and this is something you can pass on to the new buyer or homeowner.

Damaged walls- How about a wallpaper that will really cover damage? Here's a great solution and it's paint-able so you can make it as neutral as you like: Large Tile Flower Heavy Textured Paintable Wallpaper. This wallpaper gives you all the flexibility you need to customize it to your existing décor or make it an easy match for the next family if you're selling. This is an ideal wallpaper for walls that have a lot of minor damage, scrapes, scratches and shallow indentations. Here's another example: Graham and Brown 13194 Cordoury Wallpaper.

Gray is the new beige- Don't forget, gray is the new beige in neutrals and it is extremely popular today. Gray has found a new following in the décor industry. It pairs well with bright white trim, and dark woods that are popular in many furnishings today. Try using updated modern wallpaper to create a focal point or a feature wall in your home, like this style: Brewster 176-65522 Beacon House Dynasty Foils Petals Wallpaper.

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

How to sell your mobile home

Exterior of a modern manufactured homeExterior of a modern manufactured home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dawns Decorating Solutions,
I have a double wide mobile home I am desperately trying to sell. My husband's job is relocating him and we need to sell. Any tips as to how I can get this home sold ie: decorating, staging etc.  It is a late 90's home and is on roughly one acre of land.
Diane Lancaster
(please do not include my email :)

Dear Diane,
Thank you for your letter. You are not alone, it is an uphill challenge today trying to sell any home, but mobile home owners have special challenges over and above the struggles of many. Financing is particularly hard for an interested buyer. Some of the big mistakes mobile home owners make is not updating, and  over pricing their home especially in a down housing market.

Here's my tips and suggestions:

Tip # 1

Price it right. You can usually look up your home and its base value on to give you an idea of what price your home is likely to be in the ball park on. While Zillow doesn't take into account what improvements you have made into their analysis, it's "Zestimate" -(a term they use on the site for the value of your property) is publicly displayed and is usually somewhat lower than what most would expect. Nonetheless, for those looking, this could impact how much they are willing to offer.

Tip # 2

Age isn't just a number. Mobile Homes reflect the current trends in color and design finishes of the decade they were manufactured. Unfortunately this speaks to the buyer in a negative way because not only does these finishes "date" the home, but it also says it won't likely accommodate your current decor and furnishings. This translates into additional money to be spent. Many buyers are going to be put off by the idea of having to neutralize your mobile home, when they can easily buy a home that is move in ready, even another new model mobile home. If you want a buyer to regard your mobile home as a regular home, you have to treat it as you would a regular home as well that means updating every 5 to 10 years.

With that in mind you have to "neutralize" your mobile home to:

a. Disguise the home's age
b. Make it move in ready
c. Accommodate any buyers modern furniture and decor

This may involve spending some money on your part, but in the big scheme of things, it could mean a quicker sale, and getting a better asking price.

Tip # 3 

The 3 R's 
You may need to take a look at  all surfaces that are not neutral. You may need to apply the 3 R's of updating, Replace, Reface, Repaint.

Replace lighting and plumbing fixtures that are bright brass should be changed too. These cheap metallic finishes would be found on older homes in the lighting, the faucets, the door knobs etc. Change out for more updated finishes like Brushed Nickel, or Oil rubbed Bronze. Replace any flooring that isn't neutral.  Go for neutral friendly carpeting and flooring in shades of grays or beige's. You may also, if your budget allows, may want to replace any dated appliances. Ideally your buyer may want stainless steel, however, it would probably be counter productive to put any high end or expensive versions of these in a mobile home. Opt for new appliances that are less expensive, as they will still be an upgrade for any that are as old as the mobile home.

Repaint oak cabinets that have seen better days as well as any wood trim that reflects a dated appearance. Gel stains in darker colors can be applied directly over light colored cabinets to give the feel of a more expensive darker wood which is currently desirable right now. Repaint exterior of the mobile anywhere you can as well as this will give the home a fresh and well maintained look.

Reface your cabinetry is yet another options and you can also reface your dated wallpaper by applying a new wallpaper. Simply prime your mobile homes walls with primer and apply updated neutral wall paper that is paintable or textured over it.

Tip # 4

No home will sell well if it is too packed and cluttered. This screams limited space and a scream like that will definitely send prospective buyers out the door.  If you can, move non essential items into storage, you'll be glad you did when your home sells. You'll be able to move out much faster and know that you can begin moving into your new home much faster as well. This eliminates a lot of last minute packing.

Tip # 5

Be realistic
Your mobile home is not just competing with other mobiles homes for sale in your area, it is also competing with all homes in the area.  This means newly constructed houses as well. With that sort of competition, plus difficulties with financing you're going to be in tough spot to get an offer. Don't be too bull headed with offers that come in. Getting out from under a mobile home that is depreciating by the year may mean taking a short term hit monetarily, but in the long term you'll stop losing money on your investment, which is something that you're already doing every year as it is. Good luck !
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reader Inquiry: How to cover water heaters

Old Water HeaterOld Water Heater (Photo credit: smysnbrg)

Water heaters are unsightly and as such usually are located in a closet or room that is usually utilitarian in nature. However, you may still feel it needs to be covered. My suggestion is to either invest in a Shoji screen/room divider like these:

You can also easily build your own room dividers by using louvered door panels that are attached via piano hinges. Piano hinges run the length of the screen or a good portion of it and are fairly sturdy. See Below examples:

Yet another solution may be to simply use a tension rod and hang an attractive drape in front of the offending water heater. Tension rods are great because they can adjust to the size you need very easily. You can use shower curtains with rings,(clip rings are a great way to convert an ordinary flat sheet into a drape) drapes with large grommets or tabs, or a sheet with clip rings attached. See examples below:

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