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How Does Flooring Affect Your Home's Value?

Camoflage carpet anyone? Anyone? Yeah, it's not really our taste either. In fact, unless you spend your working hours making duck calls and your spare time growing massively long beards, camo carpet is probably not high on your "must haves" in a home. Want to guess how this type of flooring affects your home's value? Yeah, it's not good.

Photo courtesy of Ugly House Photos

While some homeowners are reluctant to replace old, worn out flooring, the fact is it's almost always worth the time and money to do so. In case you don't believe me, I spent some time talking with Laura Gilliam, an affilliate broker with Bob Parks Realty here in Nashville, to see what she had to say about flooring when it comes to home value and real estate. Read on, friends.

When selling a home, what are the most important rooms homeowners should focus on renovating or bringing up to date?

Laura: Buyers are primarily interested in the kitchen and the master bedroom and bathroom. Other rooms matter too, but instinctively seem easier and less disruptive to fix up later. Renovations in these main rooms are huge selling points. Following those, the family room or great room is also very important.

How does the flooring of a home impact its sale price and time on the market?

Laura: Flooring can make all the difference in setting your home apart from the rest of the competition. It will put you closer to the top of the "market range" price wise and will help your home sell faster than others that have dated or worn flooring. If flooring is too worn out it could discourage buyers from making an offer even at a low price, because it seems like so much work for them to have to replace it after moving in. They tend to overestimate the time and money that it will take to update it, so it can make a big difference in their decision making.

What advice do you have for homeowners who are unsure of what type of flooring they should install when renovating their home?

Laura: Consulting a real estate agent or flooring specialist is a great idea even if you are not considering selling currently, because they can help you make choices that will be beneficial for resale value later on. If you plan to move within the next 5 years you want to stay with neutral, current colors and styles. Darker hardwoods on the main floor are very popular choices. Tile and real hardwood instead of laminate in higher end homes. Carpet is fine in basements and bedrooms. One important thing to remember is flow. It makes your home look larger and more open if the flooring continues from room to room as much as possible, rather than being chopped up with different types of flooring from room to room. Be careful not to choose finishings that don't match your price point. Putting pricey top of the line materials in an inexpensive home will not likely increase the value to match the expense. Likewise cheap materials in a high end home will turn off buyers who are accustomed to high end finishes.

What type of flooring do you see in most homes in the Nashville and Brentwood markets?

Laura: It depends on the price point of the home. But in homes over $250,000 you see a lot of hardwood. Particularly in the main gathering and formal areas and entry areas. Large tiles (12x12 or larger) are very popular choices for bathrooms, sunrooms and laundry rooms.

In what situations would you advise homeowners not to replace their current flooring?

Laura: If your home is already at a distressed price point appealing to investors, it may not be worth your money to replace the flooring. That is compensated for by price and type of buyer. Or if you anticipate renting the property to people who have pets, you may want to hold off until after the lease. If the flooring is dated but in otherwise good condition it also sometimes makes sense to leave it and offer a credit to your buyer to choose their own. Also in cases where it is a seller's market (time of year and price point) it is not as critical to update the floors. When in competition buyers become far less choosey.

Updating flooring can be expensive investment that many homeowners are reluctant to make. How important of an element is it when putting a home on the market?

Laura: It can make the difference between selling quickly or possibly not selling at all depending on how old or worn your current floors are. All of the reasons you are reluctant to replace it - cost, inconvenience,etc- are things that your buyer would have to assume to update it after the purchase, so they will definitely take that into account when making a decision about your home. And more than likely they will assume it will be worse that it really is, so it's worth the effort to make your home seem as effortless as possible to buy.

Is there any particular type of flooring you'd avoid when trying to sell your home in Nashville or Brentwood?

Laura: I would avoid custom colors and stay with neutrals. In homes over $250,000 I would stay away from laminates.

There you have it. In case you just skipped over the whole Q&A, here's an infographic from Lumber Liquidators for which they surveyed 100 real estate agents. And in case you're too busy to even look at that...they all agree with Laura. Those real estate agents like to stick together, don't they?

If you are preparing to buy or sell a home, or just need some advice about your floors in Brentwood, Nashville, and the surrounding areas, you're welcome to contact us at 615-416-9039 for a free consultation! Read more about what we offer on our services page; you can also email me at

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