Just like trends in fashion, there are features in home décor that go in and out of favor. Although I have recently read that gold and brass toned fixtures are trying to make a comeback, and have seen some lovely magazine photos featuring the return of warmer toned finishes, it will be a while before the general homeowner or buyer jumps on that bandwagon…. Regardless of how far on the cutting edge one’s style preferences may be, aged brass and gold toned fixtures that have been in place since their original hay-day will NOT show well. For the purposes of this blog, let’s all agree that exactly this, is the situation I’m addressing.
Many times a potential buyer walking into a home won’t be able to see the great bones, excellent maintenance, and every other point on their check list IF they are distracted by brass or gold toned light fixtures, knobs, and handles. Some will just want to move on because they think the whole house is somehow tainted by terms like “dated” or (with cartoon style dollar signs flashing in their eyes…) they will think they are able to offer a greatly reduced price because they suddenly think they are viewing a fixer-upper. There are steps a seller can take relatively inexpensively to overcome these perceptions and sell their home more quickly or at a better price.
The first thing people can do is obvious, replace the fixtures with silver, or oil rubbed bronze or matte black finishes that equate to a more neutral impression to perspective buyers. When selecting the replacements, you can be as frugal or excessive as you want. If replacing the kitchen or bathroom cabinets’ knobs and handles, they can be readily removed with a screwdriver and replaced by even the most inexperienced DIY homeowner. It is smart to take off an “example” of each kind of piece to be replaced so they can be compared in the hardware store and similar sizes can be found. This prevents the need for new holes to be drilled. Door handles are another fixture that can be replaced but it takes a little more skill. The trick to making this an easy transition is to get handles of identical style but in an updated finish. Light fixtures head the list of more advanced projects. Obviously, if you have no experience working with electricity or hooking up light fixtures this may be best hired out or offer to make dinner for a handy friend. At the very least spend some quality time with HGTV shows and YouTube before you start. The same thought goes for sink and tub faucets and fixtures. A professional or extensive research will help avoid turning a simple spruce up into a major repair job!
Another option if replacement doesn’t fit your vision or plan is to simply paint the articles. If this is what you decide to do, then PLEASE, for the love of all Pinterest Fails, I beg you to take the time to do it correctly! No one likes to do the mundane prep-work for such a project but your efforts will certainly be reflected in your results. Take every piece to be changed off or apart. After you have thoroughly cleaned them then you will want to roughen the surface with steel wool or the equivalent. For the best outcome you should use a light coat of a metal primer. When spray painting there is an art to avoiding runs and other mishaps. Short sprays executed during constant even motions will work well. It will be better to apply several coats then trying to get everything thoroughly covered in one thick spray. There are many different brands of these paints and believe me when I say there seems to be an INFINITE selection of Shades of Gray…. OK, silver, but the pun was just too good….. You may want to pick a couple to compare or get the small sample cans before you completely commit to one.
Many times sellers will take these steps and suddenly be amazed at how different and fresh their homes look! I’ve referenced it before, but by taking small steps and making relatively inexpensive investments, sellers will benefit greatly. Changing things like brass or gold toned fixtures is another of these steps that will signal to perspective buyers that they can move right in without “needing” to do anything. Even if the style choices of these updates aren’t exactly what the new owners would choose, they won’t be flashing beacons that scream reminders of something ELSE that demands attention and expense.