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Keeping Your Home Current

Provided by Kim Kraemer and Kristan Northington

Design styles come and go and personal preferences simply change, so after living in your home for many years, updates are desired and often required due to natural aging and wear. A reliable timeline for improving and updating the most lived-in rooms of your home can help keep your home current, comfortable and beautiful. Cordillera Ranch residents and interior designers Kim Kraemer and Kristan Northington provided tips for when and where to update your home, along with staging advice should you decide to sell.

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, kitchens should be updated every 20-25 years and bathrooms every 15-20 years. With that in mind, below are current recommendations from Kim Kraemer if you are considering a kitchen or bathroom remodel.

Paint. Repaint interior walls every five to seven years, with yearly touch ups as needed. Watch for trending colors — you might get an updated look just by changing paint colors.

Cabinets. If cabinets are outdated (think the golden oak look of the 1980’s-1990’s), you can always paint them for an updated look. Leave this one to the professionals because a lot of prep work is needed for the grain to not show through.

Cabinet Hardware. New finishes and materials with multiple metals, leather and acrylic provide a great update.

Countertops. Quartz has become a leader over granite for countertop finishes in both kitchens and bathrooms. The many beautiful finishes mimic stone such as marble and higher-end granite products without the maintenance requirements. Kitchen backsplashes are also an easy update.

Flooring. A major trend is to remove carpeting in rooms such as bedrooms and replacing it with wood floors. Additionally, tile sizes have gotten much larger over the years, sometimes as large as 36 x 48 inches, meaning fewer visible grout lines and less grout to keep clean.  

Lighting. Although gold finishes are back, they are much softer in color. Consider updating chandeliers in all areas of your home. Adding undercabinet lighting and recessed ceiling lights help to brighten spaces and provide much-needed task lighting.

Appliances. Smart appliances are the future, such as ovens that you can turn on from your smart phone.

Plumbing. Low divide kitchen sinks are a great addition, as well as faucets that you can turn on and off with motion or a tap.

Walls. Consider removing walls that block site lines from the kitchen to other areas in the home.

Interior/Exterior Door Hardware. Replace all brass handles and door hinges.

Mirrors. Replacing bathroom mirrors is a small update that can make a big difference.

For exterior improvements that maintain the integrity of your home and provide updated curb appeal:

Paint. Repaint exteriors every seven to ten years.

Doors. Front and exterior doors need to be repainted/restained more often, depending on which direction they face. West-facing doors will need to be refreshed more often.

Landscaping. Keep immediate plantings manicured regularly and include deer-resistant plants. Mulch should be refreshed one to two times per year.

Driveways. If black top, refresh every several years.

Tips For Staging

Although the purchase of a home is typically a person’s most expensive financial investment, it’s most often an emotionally driven decision. When staging your home to sell, realtors and staging experts will often provide advice that sellers should not take personally. Kristan Northington explains, “It’s not to offend anyone’s personal style — it’s to maximize the selling price and minimize the time on the market.” She adds that the primary objective is to “neutralize,” “depersonalize” and “declutter” the home so buyers can envision themselves living in the space.

To that end, scents in a home draw an instinctive attraction or repulsion. Remove candles and plug-ins which can be off putting or cause headaches. Move animals and related items out of the house — especially cats and their litter boxes. Northington says, “Be very aware of any odors caused by animals. We love our animals but not everyone else will!” Additionally, bake cookies before showings and place them on the kitchen counter with bottled waters displayed along with a small sign to “please help yourself.” 

Kim Kraemer provides the following checklist:

• Freshly paint the house to a neutral color. No dark or primary colors, please.
• Keep traffic patterns open. Declutter rooms of furniture to keep things open and flowing.
• Declutter everything: Clear off office desk tops. Take down accessories on cabinet tops — that trend has gone out of style. Organize and downsize items in the pantry. Closets that are organized and not completely filled give the impression of spacious storage/closet areas.
• Remove all accessories from bathroom countertops. Too many accessories distract the buyer from seeing the bones of the house.
• Remove all personal photos. Potential buyers want to envision themselves in the home, not the current owners.
• Make sure there is enough light in each room. Turn on lamps and overhead lights during showings. Open window coverings.  
• Remove small throw rugs throughout the home such as in bathrooms, entry ways and kitchen. Not only are they a tripping hazard, they prevent potential buyers from seeing the floor below.
• Purchase new towels that you put out during showings.
• If your bedding is worn, purchase new bedding for showings.
• Move expensive items such as guns, jewelry, wine, etc., to a safe location.
• Consider moving off-season clothing to a storage facility, along with other items you will be moving.

Last but not least, Kraemer’s favorite tip is to purchase a small bag of spa stones to place in the bottom of the Powder Room sink or in another bathroom. Clients often look at five or more homes in one day and can’t remember details of each house they have seen. However, they can remember the house with the spa stones in a sink and the rest of the home’s details will come to them quicker.

Hiring real estate professionals like CR Realty who offer these hands on concierge showing services ensures your home will be properly presented to buyers.

Kim Kraemer, Allied ASID, NKBA  ::  K. Rue Designs, LLC. 
210.274.3637  ::  kim@kruedesigns.com 

Kristan Northington  ::  Northington Design
210.414.1976  ::  northingtondesign@yahoo.com