By Tracy Hunt,
ASID with Arkansas Property Brokers

Selling a family home is not only an emotional experience for some families, but also an analytical process of determining what changes should be done to incur minimal costs while selling the home faster.
By determining what needs to be done before listing the property, the homeowner can be assured that the home will show at its best the first time ... and every time!
In some cases, new and current trends in design can be used to "update" the home with minimal costs. In other cases, simply de-cluttering can go a long way.
The first design element to think about that can help update the home is color. Whether used in wall paint or an accent pillow, a good use of color goes a long way. If the home has bold or dark wall colors, it can make the house seem smaller to a potential buyer. A neutral wall color can help make a space look bigger, lighter and a little friendlier to perspective buyers. It's always good to have a "friendly" house!
New color trends show a move from the browns and tans that have been used for the past decade to a more taupe neutral. Gray is the new black! Even using several shades of gray in one room is acceptable. But don't think color is completely out. Saturated colors of blue, yellow, green, red, orange and purple can be used with these shades of gray to give warmth and a fresh, new look to any room just by adding accent pillows, artwork, accessories, or even floral arrangements.
Another design element to consider is the finish of plumbing fixtures and hardware on doors and cabinets. Please, please, please, if brass is still in the home, Take It Out! Most potential buyers will shy away from brass fixtures thinking they are outdated, and some could think it means the home has not been kept up to date in other respects. Cost-effective finishes to consider are brushed stainless or brushed chrome, oil rubbed bronze and wrought iron. Chrome is acceptable for a more contemporary home. Pewter and nickel finishes are beautiful, but have become more dated as some tend to look more pink than others.
Flooring is an integral part of design that can make or break a potential offer on the home. Whatever the type of flooring in the home, make sure it shows well. A buyer will look at flooring and hesitate before making an offer due to flooring replacement costs. Sometimes replacement isn't needed, and a few things can be done with current floors to help them show at their best. Carpets with winkles just need to be re-stretched. Carpets with stains should be cleaned. It isn't as costly as you would think, and a clean carpet goes a long way with potential buyers. Wood floors should be cleaned and maintained, and concrete floors need to be buffed. Also, you don't want to see more than two types of floors in view at once. If a buyer walks into a home and the first thing they see is three different types of flooring, it can appear as if a remodel was not completed or flooring transitions were not considered in the design of the home.
Lighting is a little more invasive to change, but can help immensely in updating a home quickly. Brighter lighting helps a space look bigger, and decorative fixtures can give any room a design element boost. Current trends show more industrial fixtures, but for resale of a home, the best way to go is in a traditional fixture that looks new, bright and updated, but not too trendy.
Finally, when a potential buyer enters a home, the first thing they need to do is see themselves living there - not the current homeowner. If a buyer can't see themselves living in the house, they will not make an offer. Usually, a perspective buyer will determine if they will make an offer in the first five minutes of entering a home. Those first five minutes do not need to be encumbered by seeing the existing family living there. Personal photos, mementos and extra accessory items should be taken down and stored. Removing extra furniture in rooms also helps the space look bigger. A home with minimal, but correctly-placed furniture will normally sell faster than a home that has furniture packed into each room. This also helps with de-cluttering and getting an early start on packing!
Selling a home is a process that requires a lot of thought and consideration. Sometimes small changes can have the biggest impact on a home and help get it sold fast and for the best price!