Getting Your House Ready to Sell Series: The Surprising thing I tell My Sellers

If you have read any of my blogs, you are aware of how much I emphasize home preparation to my sellers.  This runs the gamut from the usual: landscaping, painting, clutter control, to the upgrades: counter top replacements, floor updates and new carpet. 

For some reason, of all the things I ask of my sellers, the one that they have the most trouble understanding is my request that they upgrade from their builder light fixtures.  Now, before you object, let me clarify what I mean by upgrade.  Let's face it, we are a Pottery Barn/Restoration Hardware society!
I find that if you hit the big-box hardware stores, you will find REALLY inexpensive light fixtures that look just like what you saw the previous season in the catalog.  For the low cost of the light fixture (and an electrician) you can quickly update the look of your house and make the buyer feel like they are getting
a 'decorator' home. When I say low prices, I mean $50-$100.

I know that the chandelier in the Dining Room was a big upgrade from the one in your previous townhouse/condo/apt., but face it, it is really just a builder fixture. If you go price it, you will find out that it cost somewhere between $25 and $55!  Particularly if your home fits in the upper 50% price point of your market, the buyers will expect more (And the 'bubble' lights in the bathrooms--you know the ones, 3 or 4 round bulbs mounted on a metal strip--honestly, buyers hate them and often make fun of them!).

Please don't take offense; sometimes it is hard for the owner/decorator to see past the great color or good furniture placement. But let me assure you, the buyers notice and then ask me whey the original light fixtures weren't updated.

I can't promise you more money for your investment, but I will tell you that between 2 houses with all else equal, a buyer will choose the one that has already been upgraded...shouldn't it be yours?

And on a 'green' note, recycle your used light fixtures by donating them or by posting them on or  After all, your discard may be someone else's upgrade!


If you like what you've read, please consider subscribing to my blog by clicking on the Orange RSS button and following the instructions. Thanks!

 Momentum Realty

A GREAT Real Estate  experience.

If I can help you, your friends or family buy or sell their next home in Northern Virginia, please let me know!

If you need help with a home outside of Northern Virginia, I have an extensive network of referral agents and will make sure you are working with the best!

The contents of this blog may not be copied or reproduced without the permission of Holly Weatherwax.




Comment balloon 2 commentsHolly Weatherwax • May 14 2008 01:24PM


Holly, one of the first things I usually comment on is the light fixture in the entry of the home.   My number one upgrade is light fixtures.  You can make an upgrade for under $50 that looks like hundreds of dollars.  I've done it many times. 

ceiling fanThis ceiling fan cost $12, on clearance, at Home Depot.  It is very expensive looking and added so much value to this room.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) almost 11 years ago

You are very right. Light fixtures play a major role in the appeal of a home. In a home that hasn't been upgraded, buyers walk room to room with their mental tally of replacement costs soaring. That's a turnoff! I definitely suggest sellers find good looking light fixtures first--it's and instant upgrade to any room. NO BRASS!!! Such a small detail can take a room that looks stuck in the '80s and bring it right into this century.

Posted by Morgan Schott, Staging Atlanta's West Side (Sweetwater Staging & Redesign) almost 11 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments