There are certain trends in decorating that are more in demand than others. This is what will make the difference in selling at a reasonable price, getting showings or not selling at all. For one thing Oak cabinets are out! You can dress them up with granite but most of the buyers out there in today's market only want to see Oak on the floors. Another huge decorating mistake is laminate floors. I would say 9 out of 10 people do not like laminate floors! Everyday I see more and more laminate floors. It is like putting counter-tops on your floors. The funny thing is the price for laminate is really not different in price from ceramic tile or hardwood!
Today I went through 290 listings for a buyer of mine. I was looking for the things they are looking for in a home. Their goal price is around $250k and they want what is considered current trends in decor. The old brick fireplace is out. Gold plumbing and door hardware is out. That old Williamsburg style wood framed fireplace mantel is out. Contemporary is in.
The photos that the Realtor put on the MLS are so important to the sale of the home. I will go out to a house and re shot photos over and over and update for each season. So many times I see toilet shots and fuzzy shots that do nothing to sell the home. The worst marketing attempt is no pictures at all!
Landscaping is really important to seal the deal. I showed a home that must of spent 50k on landscaping alone. It was magnificent to look at but it wasn't practical for most of the buyers for that home because it is in a development which attracts families with children. There wasn't a play space for kids because of the elaborate landscape. Also my buyer said if the kids were grown they would love this, but upon reflection realized the maintenance of it would be more work than they were willing to do. The point is don't overdo it, but do spend some money to create a nice environment. Patios,Koi ponds and decks are big. Old wood decks are not as desirable as the new deck product that doesn't rot. A pool and hot tub do not sell houses. Having a Pool will limit the the number of potential buyers for your home.
I have had people call me and ask if putting a slate or tin roof would be a good idea. My answer is always do it if you want it but don't expect to get your money back. These are quality items that actually over improve your home because a buyer will not pay more money for your home if you have this improvement. Heated driveways are also a great little extravagance but don't expect to get your money back. It only makes the home more desirable. As always it is kitchens and baths that sell. Keep the house clean of lots of clutter and overdecorating. My favorite saying is "If you can smell it you can't sell it"!