Flooring Mistakes that People make when selling their house
Over the last 10 years, I’ve seen tons of houses, and I’ve worked with so many new home buyers who are remodeling their newly purchased homes (after they close, but before they move in). I see some crazy things, and I hear so many buyers criticizing the flooring choices (as well as design choices) the sellers have made.
It seems to me that many sellers are leaving money on the table. Sometimes, they are penny-wise pound foolish, sometimes they just don’t know what will give them the best return on investment, sometimes, they don’t plan ahead/don’t have enough time, and sometimes, the homeowner simply doesn’t have the money to prepare and optimize their house for sale. The result: They are leaving money on the table and often prolonging their time on the market.
Note: I understand that most sellers generally want to spend the lowest amount possible to get the highest return. I also understand that some sellers can not spend ANY money until after the home closes, and I understand that some homeowners may be under water and therefore can’t invest in their home.
This article is not meant to criticize homeowners nor make judgments on their financial situation. Rather, it’s to provide advice to those who are in a position to make minor improvements and to help guide sellers make smart decisions and smart investments.
By the way, this article may come in handy: What types of flooring give you the best return on your investment?
So, I turned to some experts when it comes to selling homes – several top real estate agents from across the country. They shared many mistakes and crazy things they’ve seen in homes that have been on the market. I’m sure you’ll be nodding and realizing that you’ve seen many of this mistakes, and some of these may make you laugh.
There are a common themes you’ll see:
1) Don’t Do-it-yourself. It’s usually obvious. What does it say to the buyer? Simple, they need to pay to redo it (and delay their move in)
2) Consult the experts! Their advice will help you make better selections on type of flooring as well as colors. Those experts could be a flooring contractor, stager, realtor or all of the above. And, you may find these articles helpful to know what’s popular, stylish and practical.
Please note that this article may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
So, let’s get started.
Biggest Flooring Mistakes Realtors have seen from homes on the market
- Shiny/glassy looking floors. Satin is preferred and more upscale. Many are cheapening the look of their floors with the dated semi gloss and glossy finishes. It almost looks like the floors are wet and you’re afraid to step on them.
- Hodgepodge of woods and colors. Sometimes this is a combo of species (e.g. Brazilian Cherry w/ oak), different widths, parquet or pegged floors. If there are too many differences, buyers are just ripping them up and starting from scratch (and yes, they factor that into how much they are willing to offer). Customers want uniformity.
- Parquet flooring
- Reds/cherry floors. Blondes are less popular but not as polarizing as reds. Many are asking how to drown out the red in Brazilian Cherry floors that are occasionally found in kitchens. In our area, dark hardwood is most popular and stylish, especially in higher end homes [side note from author: This may vary by area of country].
- Carpet in the main living areas.
I’ve seen some sellers pick terrible flooring, trying to make it appeal to more people but actually doing the opposite. Usually it’s just a poor color choice, but I have seen a seller tear out ALL carpet in a house and tile the whole damn thing. It was terrible, and very few buyers want tile throughout.
They would do so much better if they consulted a flooring person, stager or realtor to see what’s most popular for the area.
DIY anything! A novice/DIY wood or tile installer almost always produces a sub-par finished product. It’s unfortunate that so many homeowners “practice” on their best asset.
Ugh…mismatched flooring…every room different. U.G.L.Y. I think there are lots of those kinds of mistakes because homeowners don’t consult anyone…they just do what they want.
The worst is when a seller goes out and thinks that installing new cheap laminate floors is like adding hardwood – NOT! It actually makes the home much harder to sell as everyone hates Pergo.
Everyone is looking for hardwood floors…even if they want carpet in some areas.
I’m amazed at how much faster houses sell when their floors are refinished prior to listing. And, they sell for more money. The only issue is that refinishing hardwood floors can be rather invasive if you already live in your home. If a house is vacant and no one is living there, it’s ideal to refinish the floors before the house hits the market.
- Linoleum for sure.
- The old bleached floors – they are so 80’s.
- Parquet (assuming it’s the cheap parquet as opposed to the super chic parquet you find in some super high end and antique floors).
- Inlaid floors with medallions (mixes of wood or tile) as they are too taste specific
How about carpet in the bathroom? That drives buyers nuts here! [Side note: I think it’s a big turn-off everywhere, and I have come across this more often than you would think.]
My pet peeve is the stairs. Very few people actually buy proper stair pieces, in either laminate or hardwood, so they end up using trim pieces to finish the stairs off. That often looks unprofessional, and trim pieces are a trip hazard in many instances.
Oh I have seen a trimmed out room too. A foot of hardwood around the perimeter of the room, with an area rug to cover the sub flooring in the middle.
The best, however, was when the owners moved out and left the big 1.5 foot holes in the bathroom and bedroom floors that went all the way through the floors/ceiling. They used this for a grow-op. [I had to look this one up. Crazy.]
One of the most “off putting” things I’m seeing in homes for sale is a “mish mash” of colors in the home. There will be 3 or more different colors on the floors, so it doesn’t have a continuous flow and makes the house looks smaller. It also signals to the buyer that they will need to spend more money to get the floors corrected. Floors should be consistent in color and sheen.
I just saw this yesterday – The homeowner was going for the floating, soft feeling effect by installing laminate flooring over existing carpet. Or… they were just too lazy to remove the old carpet.
Either way, some people just shouldn’t be allowed to do DIY projects, as often it turns out that they do more harm than good. Unprofessionally completed projects can significantly decrease a home’s value, and it leaves home buyers wondering about “what else is messed up in this house”?
Letting the kids paint the floors in their bedrooms. I have seen this twice and both times it was a disaster. [Say what? I haven’t seen this one yet!]
One thing is for sure…everyone wants hardwood and they are checking underneath the carpet to see if it’s there.
Buyers are less concerned with the color of the wood. Instead, they just want to see that the house has wood. I’m hearing a lot of negatives about carpet.
Working as a real estate agent in Rochester for over 6 years, I’ve seen quite a few flooring mistakes made by home sellers.
The biggest mistake that I see made by sellers is replacing old flooring or carpet with new carpet or flooring just prior to a sale. Unless a home’s flooring or carpet is completely ruined, I always advise sellers to not spend the money on installing new carpeting or flooring because it’s very possible the new owner will not like what you’ve installed.
Instead, I typically recommend to a seller that we price the home accordingly to reflect the need for some new carpeting or flooring!
So there you have it. Straight from the horse’s mouth – some of biggest buyer turn-offs and mistakes home owners make when selling their home. Do you have any interesting stories to share? Leave them in the comments.
Related Flooring Articles:
- 2017 flooring trends (covers all flooring surfaces
- 2017 hardwood flooring trends
- 2017 Carpet trends
- What types of flooring give you the best return on your investment?
If you live in Westchester County NY, I offer color consultations to advise customers on paint colors and stain choices. My designer discount at the paint stores usually more than offsets the cost for the hour consultation. Read more here.
Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors
For more info, check out my Ebook – Discover the 6 Secrets to Refinishing Hardwood floors.