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Will Grandma’s Retro Décor Help the Sale?

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

In 1962, Myrtle’s home was trendy and hip. Her orange kitchen countertops, rooster-patterned kitchen wallpaper, and olive green appliances were all the rage. Myrtle’s guest bathroom had pink shower tiles, a pink carpet, and even a pink toilet. Her living room was brick red and brown shag carpet, with copper wall hangings and tasseled floor lamps.

When I visited Myrtle to plan the sale of her home, it was a like a visit back in time. She had meticulously cared for every room, lamp, sofa, and trinket for over fifty years. The wall in her hallway was tiled with decades of family photos, a tribute to her love for her children and grandchildren.

Now that her home had become too much to care for, Myrtle had chosen an apartment at a local senior community where several of her friends lived. There, they could play bridge mid-day in the activity room together, and enjoy the social events, outings, and simpler lifestyle.

“Will Grandma’s retro décor help the sale?” That was the question her oldest granddaughter asked, as the family sat together in her living room to plan this big step. They knew what the homes looked like on HGTV’s remodel shows, and though Myrtle’s home was nostalgic and sweet, it looked nothing like the modern designs that were showcased.

The good news for Myrtle and her family is that homes with 1960’s and 1970’s décor sell every day across the country. Buyers’ lenders are not as interested in the kitchen wallpaper or the mushroom lamp in the bedroom. Lenders are focused on the structural integrity of the home, the roof and foundation, and the condition of its major systems, including plumbing, heating, and electrical.

As for Myrtle’s orange countertops? Some buyers love these retro colors and designs, and a 1960’s home in good condition carries high appeal to a certain segment of the buyer market. It’s fine to sell the home just as it is, deep cleaned and de-cluttered to maximize market appeal.

Sellers of retro homes should keep in mind that when buyers make their offer, some may factor in the cost of making cosmetic upgrades to the home. Throw-back colors don’t have as broad market appeal as trendy and modern interior finishes, and this may be reflected in the final sales prices of “retro” homes. A wise seller will keep expectations reasonable, and use recent market information from an experienced real estate broker to determine an attractive listing price.

Before a single Hummel figurine or black and white photo is packed, or before any pink bathroom carpet is removed, we recommend that the senior homeowner’s family take a video tour or photo shoot of the home. This way, Myrtle can have a visual memory of the home as she always loved it for years to come.

The finishing touch: When buyers come, have some fresh-baked cookies on the counter to complete the full-sensory experience of purchasing Grandma’s home!


© SASH Senior Home Sale Services, by Rebecca Bomann, CEO / Founder

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