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Home Trends by Melissa Birdsong

RISMEDIA, Jan. 1, 2009-Staging has been the buzzword in real estate for the past several years. But taking the next step to refreshing can really set one home apart from the rest.

Buyers look at a lot of homes. So how do you make sure a home is memorable to a buyer? Having a well-staged home is now the rule rather than the exception for a faster sell and a better price. Try to think beyond the obvious for ways to make the entire home feel updated and inspired.

A fresh coat of paint on worn walls provides a “wow” factor without excessive cost or effort. While this isn’t new news, something that tends to get overlooked (and can have just as much impact) is painting the trim and other accents that may have gotten scuffed or dingy over the years. Freshly painted trim work is cleaner and a healthy home environment is very appealing to buyers.

Hardware is a quick fix as well. Switching out knobs and pulls in the kitchen or bath will catch the eye and revive an entire room. Taking it a step further to update faucets, light fixtures and even switch plates can take a space from ordinary to inspiring. Area rugs, lamps and plants are also quick ways to add life and warmth to a room with the convenience of portability. Because they are easily changeable, updating “unattached” items can instantly modernize a space with a fresh style.

And don’t forget first impressions-exactly how fast are prospective buyers driving past the home? No brake lights? A quick tap and then accelerate? Or do they come to a full stop to get a better look? That fresh, new interior will never be revealed if the curb appeal of the exterior is blasé. Everything from container gardening and clean welcome mats to new storm doors and shutters can pull that buyer into your drive.

Artistic staging can showcase the best features in a home. But in today’s market, take a refreshing approach-go that extra mile and look for ways to make the home memorable to a potential buyer.

Melissa Birdsong is vice president for Trend, Design & Brand, Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

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