Ready for Resale: Tips on Getting Ready to Sell Your Home

Ready to renovate for resale? It’s that time of year: you’re already done with your spring-cleaning, and the weather is warming up for summer. If you’re putting your house on the market, check out what local DC metro area real estate and home staging professionals have to say about getting ready to sell.

The DC metro area is the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the country, centered on our nation’s capital and reaching out to areas of Maryland, northern Virginia, and a small portion of West Virginia. Nicknamed the DMV, residents here are one of the most educated and affluent groups of people in the country. So it’s no surprise we’ve created a nickname to save time, and folks here are clearly savvy with their money. Now, how do we save time and money with smart home renovations for resale? Here’s how to get the biggest bang for your buck, or that higher asking price:

Keep It Neutral

Interior design trends change over time, just like any other industry like fashion. In the words of Heidi Klum from the Lifetime series Project Runway, “one day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.” Keeping interior finishes neutral is a way to keep your home looking timeless.

Local real estate agent, Maria Fernandez with Keller Williams Realty, Inc., has seen a range of homes from clients wanting to buy or sell. “There has been a shift in the preferred finishes,” Fernandez says, “The hot look right now is light or grey cabinets, with light marble or quarts countertops, and dark flooring.”

Photo Credit: Katarina Price Photography for MK Staging & Design, LLC.

When selling, homeowners want their property to stand out from the rest. In a market like DC, the options can be overwhelming. So how do sellers make their home neutral but still memorable?

Owner and certified home stager, Malena Kaplan, of the Bethesda-based company MK Staging & Design, LLC., advises, “While interior design trends have changed drastically over the last ten years, the foundations of staging design will never change. Neutralize a space enough to attract the highest number of potential buyers, but not so much that the space is boring and passed over.”

Photo Credit: Katarina Price Photography for MK Staging & Design, LLC.

Kaplan agrees that design trends are much lighter now. Another way she likes to neutralize a space is with natural finishes. Here, for her client’s home in Maryland, Kaplan pairs a light sand-colored backsplash with a medium-tone gray countertop. The natural veining in the 3×6 marble backsplash, purchased at AC, provides a simple accent. The natural color variation in the stone compliments the warm gray quartz counters. Gone are the days of speckled granite. Because the backsplash has movement in the veining, the counters act as a quiet, solid backdrop.

“Neutralize a space enough to attract the highest number of potential buyers, but not so much that the space is boring and passed over.”        – Malena Kaplan, professional home stager

Know When to Splurge and When to Save

Everyone knows kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. We already know to keep finishes neutral, but where should sellers put their renovation budget?

“Kitchens, bathrooms, and flooring are all areas that sellers see a return on their investment,” Fernandez says, “You want to be mindful, however, of not overspending for your neighborhood or community. Don’t spend 60K on a kitchen when the highest price in your neighborhood is 400K – you can price yourself out of the market.”

In Kaplan’s experience, kitchen design can be very personal. She suggests saving on a kitchen remodel because future buyers may rip it out and customize it to their own taste anyway. “Most clients don’t want to invest the time or money into a full kitchen remodel,” Kaplan says, “Kitchens are more personal than baths and can be spruced up by adding a backsplash or fresh coat of paint to the cabinets without spending a lot of money. Instead, splurge on the bathrooms.”

Photo Credit: MK Staging & Design, LLC.

Here, Kaplan’s client did just that. The simple and light design is in keeping with a neutral and natural aesthetic. AC’s tile was used throughout the bathroom, from the shower walls and accent, to the wood-look tile on the floor. The shower accent makes a statement without being too bold, and is from our Lunada Bay product line, Sumi-e glass series, in a natural or matte finish. The painterly colors tie together the wall color and dark vanity. “The wood-look floor tile is a great alternative to real hardwood in the bath,” Kaplan says, “because it’s not at risk of being damaged from water.” For more wood-look porcelain options, visit our website.

Learn About the Process

Whether prepping to sell or touring open houses to make a purchase, it’s important to know the process. On the one hand, if a seller leaves projects unfinished, it can turn off buyers. And on the other hand, a buyer may not pull the trigger and make a purchase because they don’t understand the scope of work needed in a renovation project.

Architectural Ceramic’s Lead Designer and Alexandria Showroom Manager, Jan Scalia, wants to help clients and the community to better understand the real estate and renovation process. “Our thought is to pull together trades who work together on renovations, to provide a ‘safe’ place to learn more about the process.” Along with her design and sales associates Caroline and Tia, Scalia has teamed up with a local real estate firm to develop seminars that guide clients through a renovation before or after a home sale.

AC’s Alexandria Team: Caroline, Tia and Jan

“Our thought is to pull together trades who work together on renovations, to provide a ‘safe’ place to learn more about the process.” – Jan Scalia, Alexandria showroom manager

Not sure how much it will cost to take out that outdated tile floor and install new porcelain? Our Alexandria showroom will continually provide updates on our product costs and selection. The seminars will be held in conjunction with high buying and selling seasons.

Hunt on Houzz

Buyers and sellers have great options for websites like Redfin and Zillow that help with finding comps to set your sale price, or finding open houses to plan your Sunday tours.  Houzz offers a one-stop-shop for renovation inspiration and local contractors to complete the job.  Stop by Architectural Ceramic’s own Houzz page for more ideas on how to get your home ready to sell.


Curious about any of the products you’ve seen? For further questions about placing a tile order, please contact or join our newsletter here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *