When a buyer enters a home there is a first impression snapshot of the interior that will stay with him or her for the duration of viewing. This will be added to the two preceding ones: curb appeal and the entrance area. Because these scenes are the first ones they will weigh heavy on the rest of the showing and may even tip the scales either way. And one of the most important items for portraying the interior in a grand way is the flooring and the type of flooring installation you have chosen.
When a person enters a home it is only human nature to glance down at where the feet are. Like the entranceway it is close to the eyes and imperfections will be picked up immediately. So if there is a dated, gray-edged beige carpet in the line of sight this would not be a good first impression. And neither would a dated tile floor with dirty grout.
Most people who buy homes these days are not like the ones who were on the hunt even 10 years. As much as the internet is filled with do-it-yourself articles the new home buyers tend to want everything done, or almost everything, before they buy. Why? Because “time” is the new currency and this is in short supply. The new buyer knows what he or she likes and wants it in one package with little or no after-market projects left. In order to sell your home this includes the floors.
One of the first things to do when planning to renovate for selling is to go through the home and look at all the floors. Move furniture out of the rooms ands get in every corner. Draw each room on a separate piece of graph paper and name the flooring material in each room. Now mark on the paper where every scrape, blemish and stain is located.
If you have hardwood floors, circle them right on the floor with a water-based pen. Then get down and scrub marks with a mild cleaner and repair the bare spots made by furniture rubbing and other scraping. These can be lightly sanded and then spot painted with a clear urethane. You might have to match the stain beforehand by testing it on a spare piece of wood. If these can't be cleaned, or the cracks or nicks fixed, then call in a professional. This will be well worth the money and effort. Sometimes a pro can take strip of wood from the line of sight and replace it a piece from the back of the closet.
Sometimes a hardwood floor, especially oak flooring, is badly scraped, faded or has water damage. Call in a flooring company and get bids on refinishing. Even badly damaged, old floors can be brought back to life with the right refinishing company.
Tile flooring is difficult and expensive to replace because, unlike hardwood, it can' be refinished. If the tile looks decent you might be able to get away with replacing the grout. Although it requires some labor and can make a mess grinding out grout is easy to do. First choose a color that will set off the room and the tile. This choice should be made in conjunction with picking out the décor for the whole house. If you don't have a grinder inform the tool rental place what you want to do and they will set you up with the proper grinding wheel for the job. You don't have to take out all the grout just take it down 1/4” so that you can re-apply the new grout. Follow the instructions on the package as to how to apply grout or ask the local home store where you bought it. By choosing a different, even vibrant color, for the regrouting job you can make the tile floor look like it is a new one.
Sometimes there will be cracked tile and it is very difficult to find anything that matches. This is a good time to look for a closet or other space where taking up a tile and filling the spot with a different color won't matter. In a closet you can take up a white tile and replace it with a black one and then put a floor mat over it. Grind out the grout to the subfloor and then carefully work a putty knife between the tile and the subfloor. When the new tile goes in the rest of the floor will have to be regrouted.
Laminate flooring can chip and the pattern rub off in spots where traffic is high. If you have left over pieces from the job your job is simple. However, if not find a place where no one will notice a missing piece of laminate, like in a closet. To remove a laminate plank go to the nearest wall and take off the baseboard. This holds the floor in place. Now lift the edge pieces and pull them apart. Do this until you reached the bad one. Replace this with one from around the area (This is for even wear) and then rebuild the floor back to the wall where the new piece will be inserted to make up for the one used to replace the damaged one.
For small repairs like nicks or scratches you can buy a laminate repair kit at the local home store.
Unless the carpets are in pristine condition this would be a good time to rip them out and put in another type of flooring. Even a quality laminate flooring adorned with a classic-style floor rug would set off the place better than a carpet. This is because, unlike 10 years ago, people are realizing that carpets may contribute to their allergies.
However, if you have quality carpets in good shape there would be no need to replace them. Not all buyers hate carpets and they do look great and make a room cozy.