The new “Top Ten” that might turn off a home buyer!

1. Boldly Painted Walls

Decorators often tout black or another bold paint color as the perfect backdrop to metallic accessories or appliances in modern home design.

The reality is that people prefer the exterior and interior walls of a home to be neutral. Even though repainting is cheap and relatively easy to do, it’s still a pain and buyers might not want to bother.

When decorating, your best bet is to stick to an appeasing hue for the walls and use accessories to provide pops of color.

2. Wallpaper

Bold, graphic patterns increasingly are being incorporated into interior design, often in the form of wallpaper.

But wallpaper—even if it’s only on one wall—is an extremely personal choice and time-consuming to remove if it doesn’t appeal to the buyer

Consider replacing wallpaper with a neutral paint for broader appeal.

3. Lavish Light Fixtures

While potential buyers want rooms that seem airy and bright, beware of installing a showpiece light fixture that is too modern or ornate.

Fixtures should enhance your home—not steal the spotlight.

4. Gleaming Gold

Designers may be mixing silver and gold to give homes star quality, but it might be wise to change out fixtures if they have the wrong metallic sheen.

Gold can give a home an outdated, ’80s feel. Switching out the faucet and door handles with a more appealing finish—such as brushed nickel—is relatively inexpensive and can help make your home appear sleek rather than out of style.

5. Converted Garages

People want a covered parking space so that they have a safe place for their car—especially in areas where street parking is at a premium. Additionally, people often use their garage as storage space.

If you convert your garage into a space tailored your specific needs, such as a music practice room, it may not suit your potential buyers.

6. Converted Bedrooms

Like with the garage, people want rooms built for their original purpose.

If you’ve converted an unused bedroom to an office, walk-in closet, or a game room, make sure you can easily convert it back to a bedroom when you’re ready to sell.

7. Carpets

While designers love to play with the texture of shag carpeting as it feels soft underfoot, the majority of home buyers prefer hardwood floors.

People assume carpets trap dirt, germs and odors, and they don’t want to go through the hassle of steam cleaning their home before they can move in. Potential buyers also don’t want to spend time removing carpet to expose hardwood floors.

If someone really loves carpet, it’s much easier for them to add it themselves—after the purchase.

8. Too-Lush Landscaping

The “outdoor living room” is all the rage, and you may be tempted to build out your backyard into a lavish wilderness of flowers.

But potential buyers may be hesitant to buy a home with an overly landscaped property requiring a lot of maintenance.

Focus on creating or maintaining a nice and neat outdoor space that people can enjoy without too much fuss.

9. Pools and Hot Tubs

A pool may seem like a luxurious feature, but it can be a big turnoff for buyers.

Pools are perceived to be expensive to maintain and potential safety hazards, especially for families with children. Above-ground pools are eyesores and can leave a dead spot in the backyard.

These sentiments extend to hot tubs, too. Many people see hot tubs as breeding grounds for bacteria, and they are not a feature easily removed from the deck or back yard.

10. Fancy (or Not) Pet Products

Sales of pet products are expected to increase nearly $3 billion from last year, and there’s an increasing market for luxury pet items.

But even animal lovers don’t want to see another family’s pet paraphernalia in a potential home. Even if your home is immaculate, the presence of pet-related items will give the impression that it’s dirty.

Be sure to remove all traces of your pet—including toys, food dishes and photos—before listing your home for sale.

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Ten Commandments for arranging your furniture!

Choose a Focal Point

Never underestimate the power of a focal point. Sometimes they appear naturally as windows or built-in mantels, while other times you create them yourself, as with media units and televisions. Whatever your focal point is, make a decision and stick with it. You’ll want to arrange furniture around it as much as possible.

Don’t Push Furniture Against the Walls

The size of the room will dictate how far you can pull your furniture away from the walls, but even in a small space you’ll want to give pieces a little breathing room by allowing a few inches between the backs of furniture pieces and the walls. Despite popular belief, this little bit of space can actually make rooms feel bigger.

Of course if you have a larger space feel free to arrange furniture in such a way that conversation areas are created in the middle of the room, leaving several feet between the walls and the furniture.

Create Conversation Areas

People should naturally be able to talk to each other without having to crane their necks or shout across the room. You want the sofas and chairs to face each other (not necessarily straight on, but close), and they should be close enough that you can have a natural conversation with the person seated across from you without having to raise your voice. If the room is too large, create multiple conversation areas.

Find Balance When Arranging Furniture

Balance is always important in decorating, and when it comes to arranging furniture and determining where to put items in your living room you’ll want to consider both size and placement of the various pieces. Don’t group all the large or small pieces in one area, or to one side of the room. This will make the space feel uneven. Also make sure there’s variety in the shapes. If you’ve got straight-lined seating consider a round coffee table – or vice versa.

Consider Traffic Flow

One of the most important things to consider when arranging furniture in any room is traffic flow. People should not be tripping over furniture, or each other, to pass through the room. Make sure there are a couple feet (give or take a few inches) between the coffee table and sofa, and between chairs. Create a clear path so people can walk from one end of the room to the other without difficulty.

Use the Right Size Rug

Area rugs belong under the furniture – all the furniture if you can manage it. Exposing some flooring around the edges of the room is fine, but when using an area rug you want to make sure it’s big enough that all the furniture in a seating arrangement can sit on it. At the very least you want the front legs of large pieces to sit on the rug (the backs can be on the floor if necessary).

Get a Big Coffee Table

When it comes to coffee tables, more often than not, bigger is better. A large coffee table in the middle of a seating area is great for both aesthetics and function. It acts like an anchor for the room and it leaves plenty of space for people to put down drinks or to display favored accessories. It’s also easier to access from all the seats around it.  That said, make sure to leave enough room between seating and the coffee table for people to pass through (about 18″).  And if you can’t find a suitable large coffee table, two smaller tables or other coffee table alternative can be a good substitute.

Put Tables at Arm’s Length

Every seat should have easy access to either a side table or coffee table. People shouldn’t have to get up out of their seats to put their drink down.  When it comes to table height, side tables should be approximately the same height as the chair arms they’re next to (if that’s not possible, lower is better). When it comes to coffee tables, the height should be the same height as chair/sofa seats or lower.

Let There Be Light

Lighting is one of the most important elements of any room and it’s often not properly thought out. Always use a mix of overhead lighting, floor lamps and table lamps (and sconces if you can). A floor lamp looks great at the end of a sofa or behind an accent chair. Table lamps look lovely on side tables, shelves, and even mantels. Lighting needs to be placed at different levels in order to be properly balanced so use it liberally throughout your room.

Use the Right Size Artwork

Things that are hung on the wall, whether it’s art, mirrors, or sculptural objects, need to be placed in relation to the furniture. Don’t hang a tiny photo over the back of your sofa. Use either a large piece that is approximately two thirds the length of the sofa, or use a grouping of pieces. If you’re absolutely determined to use a particular piece of art and it’s too small, put it in a larger frame with a large matte around it. (For every problem there is a solution!).

House hunting? Here are some tips from the tube!

1. Be optimistic

Two things that contestants on The Bachelorette have in common, besides an obsession with roses? They’re usually true romantics and eternal optimists, with a little bit of crazy risk-taker thrown in.

When you’re house hunting, make like Kaitlyn Bristowe. You’ve got to truly believe your happily ever after is out there — but not be afraid to test drive all the homes available to make sure you’re choosing the best fit for you.

2. Make it work

Those designers on Project Runway work it. They scour stores for the perrrrrrrfect materials and don’t settle until they find exactly what they’re looking for. (The ones who do settle for “good enough” are usually the ones who get booted off the show early, amirite?)

If you’re searching for a new home, take this tip to heart: Don’t settle. Remember that the right house for you is out there somewhere, even if you’ll have to tackle some DIY projects to make it work.

3. Be a survivor

The flashiest, priciest offer doesn’t always win the house. Sometimes, just like the underdog competitor in Survivor or The Amazing Race, it’s the offer waiting in the wings that proves patience and diligence can win out.

When you’re house hunting, remember that sometimes houses don’t appraise for the astronomical price resulting from a bidding war. Sometimes a buyer can’t secure a loan after all. With a little patience (and maybe a little luck), you’ll be waiting in the wings to collect your winnings.

4. Appearance isn’t everything

When a contestant walks onto the stage of America’s Got Talent, the judges have to be prepared for anything — because talent comes in all shapes and sizes.

Same goes for house hunting. It’s easy to be swayed by a pretty facade and fancy fixtures, but if the floor plan doesn’t work for you, or the yard is just too big for you to manage, you probably won’t be happy there. Keep your eyes and mind open so that you can make clear decisions based on the features that are right for you and not be swept away by the flashy features.

5. Remember that you’re “not here to make friends”

Hopefully, you’ve found a group of professionals you trust to help lead you through the home-buying process. But if, for example, your real estate agent consistently shows you properties that don’t meet your very clearly outlined criteria, or your home inspector isn’t able to answer all of your questions (or seems to be skimming over details), it might be time to start from scratch with someone new.

It’s understandable if you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (and unlike in reality TV, there’s absolutely no need to be mean or rude), but ultimately you’re the one who will be making the mortgage payments or dealing with the problems your inspector didn’t turn up on that fixer upper.

Never feel guilty about asking for a second opinion, parting ways with an agent who doesn’t meet your needs, or requesting more time to discuss financing options with your mortgage broker. You’re not here to make friends … you’re here to find a house.

6. Keep your eye on the prize

Buying a home can be an emotional experience — after all, you’re making a huge investment, and that can bring anxiety and worries along for the ride. And when emotions are running high, there’s a much bigger opportunity for miscommunication or snarkiness to turn an already challenging situation into an impossible one.

But you’re also hopefully buying a home that you love, or that you want to turn into something wonderful, or that you might want to raise your kids in someday. And in any reality show competition — from Top Chef to So You Think You Can Dance — the people who come out on top are almost always the ones who can keep their cool under the most challenging circumstances.

So the next time your significant other gives you grief about spending a Saturday cozying up to a Project Runway marathon instead of hitting the open-house circuit, just let them know you’re learning how to “make it work” by studying the tactics of your favorite designers.