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“Look over the past 50 or 100 years and see what people are trying to undo that was done because something was trendy for a while,” he said. “Today, I see architects and designers editing down some of the features that were installed because something was trendy in the ‘90s but perhaps isn’t what they want now. Be careful about being trendy. For example, at one time, barn doors and shiplap were trendy but they’ve outlived their usefulness.”
Areas you should certainly look at updating, he said, are kitchens and bathrooms.
“In most cases, these are the best rooms on which to spend money,” Bedgood said. “Kitchens and bathrooms have gotten bigger. That may be a direction you’d like to go. But always remember to design thoughtfully. Think about a five-, 10- or 15-year plan. What will your needs be for this home in a few years?
While trends come and go, he emphasized, classic design never goes out of style.
Lighter colors, durable flooring and flex rooms
When buying and selling homes in and around metro Atlanta, Patches Dabbs, a real estate agent with Patches Dabbs Realtor and Associates, said there are a few updates she’s seeing pay off for homeowners. She agrees with Bedgood that updated bathrooms and kitchens are a big seller and included a few other suggestions.
“Since COVID, flex rooms are a big thing,” she said, referring to the space in a home that could be used for a variety of different purposes. “Think about converting a room to a space that can change according to your needs. Home offices are also very popular now, even more so than before.”
One of the first things to consider even before taking out a wall or adding a new decorative feature is how the home will be used in the future.
Painting individual rooms can be an inexpensive upgrade as well. Dabbs said many home buyers are looking for lighter colors in homes as opposed to darker ones. While some homeowners enjoy the moody atmosphere darker colors can lend to a space, many prefer a more airy, cooler vibe that light colors bring.
Dabbs also suggests updating flooring away from carpet and toward more durable flooring, such as vinyl, tile or hardwood.
Crawl spaces and HVAC
Rob Smith, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Intown Atlanta, specializes in older homes. He said we’re now at a point where homeowners must look at those older homes built on brick piers to check for stability and to see if those need to be updated or upgraded.
Another area Smith emphasized was crawl spaces.
“Abandoned crawl spaces kill deals,” he said. “Neglected crawl spaces are no longer accepted by buyers. If your crawl space hasn’t been kept in pristine condition, I’d strongly recommend having it evaluated by a water-mitigation specialist.”
He also suggested having a trusted heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician service your HVAC system at least twice a year in the spring and fall.
“But be aware of unnecessary updates and upgrades,” he said. “Do your research. It’s easy to fall prey to being sold a bill of goods. Always get two quotes. When you call company A, tell them you’re also talking to company B and name that company. Chances are they’ll get straight to the matter.”
“So many people don’t keep their systems up,” he added. “As an older historic homes specialist, these are the things I see hanging up my contracts.”