It doesn’t matter how perfect your home is—if your listing photos don’t stand out, potential buyers won’t come by to take a look. In our series “Lessons From Listing Photos,” we dissect the smart updates sellers have made to their homes, and how their listing pictures highlight the home’s best assets.
Taking a look at nothing but the property description, this four-bedroom, 2.5-bath ranch home in Loomis, CA, sounded like a buyer’s dream when it was previously up for sale in January. It had plenty of space and privacy (thanks to the 3-acre lot) and a great neighborhood.
But a quick flip through the listing photos revealed one big problem with the house. It screamed 1970s both inside and out—an issue that surely would have sent many prospective buyers running. The truth is, many people are looking for a home that’s move-in ready and may be reluctant to buy a home that’s in disrepair, so a major remodel could be a deal breaker.
Thankfully the sellers knew what had to be done. They did a down-to-the-studs renovation before putting it back on the market in August—proving along the way that Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t the only ones who can pull off the modern farmhouse look.
Below, our design experts discuss what parts of the renovation made the biggest impact, and how you can have the same success in your own space.
Paging Marcia Brady! This bathroom looks like something out of a ’70s sitcom.
“Carpet in a bathroom is just disturbing,” says Tiffany Fasone, owner and CEO of Voila Design Home. “The layout was also awkward because of the two separate rooms.”
A much-needed redo brought this bathroom into the current decade.
“These new Moroccan-inspired mirrors make the room look really on-trend,” says Nisha MacNeil, design manager at Kerr Construction & Design. “While the palette of this bathroom is serene and calm with all whites and grays, the hit of black really pulls the space together.”
Our experts agree that knocking down the wall next to the sink made a huge difference to the layout and added major space.
“Removing the separate room for the toilet and shower was a smart move,” says Katie Stix, partner and design director at Anderson Design Studio. “It allows for a larger shower and more open feel.”
Stix also appreciates the pendant lights (that coordinate with the mirrors) and the classic polished-nickel finish on the faucets.
The bedroom went from college dorm to grown-up getaway, and our experts are loving the changes.
“New flooring is a fairly simple update that has really cleaned up the space,” says MacNeil.
Stix was also most impressed by the flooring change.
“The existing carpet looked nasty,” she says. “I’m glad they changed it out for hardwood, and a pretty hardwood with warmth and movement.”
But the floor wasn’t the only big change that caught her eye.
“Removing the popcorn ceiling was well worth it, too, and adding recessed can lighting and a ceiling fan bring light to the space,” she adds.
“This room had the most drastic and necessary changes,” says Fasone. “Removing the old fireplace and adding the hardwood floors and the new color palette make it feel like an entirely new home.”
Stix agrees that removing the fireplace was the right move.
“In a lot of renovations you see people keeping the fireplace. But in this case, I think it was smart to sacrifice the fireplace for the larger, open concept kitchen,” she says. “Plus the stone wasn’t very pretty.”
Staging the dining room also helps sell the space and gives potential buyers an opportunity to imagine themselves living there.
Hello, bigger kitchen! The transformation to an open concept is surely something potential buyers loved.
“By removing the kitchen peninsula and old drywall, the whole space has opened up and become more functional,” says MacNeil. “The new kitchen holds all the key elements to a shabby-chic or farmhouse kitchen: subway tiles, white and gray color palette, dark finished hardware, and rustic wood elements.”
“I’m glad they removed all the cabinets and created a large center island,” adds Stix. “They kept it simple and appealing.”
The exterior color chosen for the renovated house does a great job of capturing the rustic-chic vibe that’s going on throughout the inside of the house.
“Architectural details like the window boxes play a key role here and really complete this look,” says MacNeil. The same can be said for the carriage-style garage doors in that gorgeous honey-brown shade.
Fasone agrees about the new color scheme, saying it feels very clean and neutral.
“Updating the garage is such a smart way to add value and functionality,” she says.