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Selling your home? Renovations you should do, and not do

Paint walls neutral colors to make rooms look

Paint walls neutral colors to make rooms look larger and feel more contemporary, say real estate experts. Credit: Getty Images / LuminaStock

If you are a homeowner with a budget for renovations, it makes sense to make changes that reflect your taste. However, if you’re renovating your home with the aim of selling down the line, there are some different things to pay attention to. We asked Long Island agents how to renovate with selling in mind.

Keep it simple

If you are going to renovate the kitchen and bathrooms, white and light grays are always a safe bet, says Laura Zambratto, an agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Cold Spring Harbor.

For the kitchen, think simple white Shaker-style cabinets. “Nobody wants ornate moldings” on the cabinets, Zambratto says. Brushed-nickel knobs, light-colored quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances work well for most people, she says. In the bathroom, you can’t go wrong with white subway tile.

“Make it almost monochromatic,” Zambratto says.

Remove wallpaper

Most agents say that if a home has older wallpaper, it should go.

“When people walk into a home with wallpaper, all they see is dollar bills,” says Mindy Greenberg, an agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Great Neck who runs Encore Decor Interior Design + Renovation and has been a regular on-air designer for HGTV. “How much will it cost to take it off?”

Paint walls neutral colors to make rooms look larger and feel more contemporary.

Zambratto says that before listing a home in Huntington in the fall, the whole house was painted in light grays and whites and staged with furniture. There were nine offers by Sunday after showing it on Friday, and it was on the market for less than two weeks.

“It made a world of difference,” Zambratto says. “The buyers of today, the millennials, they have no time” to plan and undertake renovations.

Remove carpeting

Buyers see carpeting in much the same way they see wallpaper: as something they will have to remove. The longer it stays on, the more damage it can do to your floors, Greenberg warns. “When wall-to-wall carpet is removed in heavily trafficked carpeted areas we see the backing of the carpet and the foam padding sticking to the wood floors,” Greenberg says. After removing carpeting, refinish the floors and stain with a low-gloss finish.

“It will bring a renewed life to your home,” Greenberg says.

Small touches

If kitchen and bathroom renovations aren’t in the budget, pay attention to the small details, such as the condition of your front door, the doorbell and the mailbox, Greenberg says.

Explore new light fixtures and floor-to-ceiling drapery.

“LED lighting is an inexpensive way to brighten up and cheer up any space,” Greenberg says.

If a home has built-in furniture from the 1980s, Greenberg suggests taking it out and getting inexpensive modern pieces from IKEA or West Elm.

Greenberg says regular upkeep goes a long way. “If you invest in it and keep it on trend, your investment will pay off,” Greenberg says.

Or don’t renovate — and price accordingly

Dina Powers, an agent with Coach Realtors in Mount Sinai, says that if a home needs work and the owners need to sell quickly, she will tell the client to set the asking price to reflect the home’s condition.

“A lot of times we just tell them to not do anything,” Powers says. “It’s easier to take the numbers off of the price.”

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