It doesn’t matter how perfect your home is—if your listing photos don’t stand out, potential buyers won’t come by to take a look. In our series “Lessons From Listing Photos,” we dissect the smart updates sellers have made to their homes, and how their listing pics highlight the home’s best assets.
This Palm Springs, CA, palace was built in 1998, and it’s spent a fair share of time going on and off the market since then.
The problem: While it has gorgeous bones, it was lacking a design personality to make it really shine. The most recent owner, who purchased the home for $2 million in November 2018, made quick work of upping the midcentury modern aesthetic while cultivating a bohemian vibe. You’ll see this in the eclectic mix of colorful accessories and natural textures.
After the renovation, the home was listed in May 2019 for nearly $1 million more than what the seller paid. And we have a feeling finding a buyer won’t be a problem (you’ll understand why when you see the improvements to the backyard).
To find out how the seller pulled it off—and how you can make that kind of profit on your remodel—we went to the experts. Here are the rooms—and home improvements—where the work paid off the most.
Before: Living room
After: Living room
At first glance, it looks like the changes in the living room were mostly furniture, but the homeowners went way beyond that.
“The removal of the drywall on the farthest section of the ceiling reveals the beautiful original wooden structure and allows for a more organic transition to the outside space,” says Jared Cohen of Trig Builders, in Los Angeles.
In addition, “adding an entrance tucked just off of the living room optimizes the layout and creates a perfect flow between the indoors and out for a great entertaining pad,” explains Levi Austin of Levi Austin Design, in New York City.
Of course, new furniture played a big role: “This is the perfect example of using decor to highlight the amazing features of this great space,” says designer Paul Trudel-Payne. “Multiple conversational seating areas, vibrant pops of color, and the cacti along the entire length of the windows all help to highlight how large and open this space truly is.”
It’s hard to tell this renovated kitchen is the same room shown in the before picture!
“This renovation virtually doubled the size of this kitchen. It’s the perfect nod to the history of the home, with up-to-date finishes this luxurious space deserves,” says Austin. “This kitchen remodel reconfigured the space to add ample counter space, a larger island to allow room for prep and informal dining, and high-end finishes and fixtures.”
Altering the cabinetry also makes the kitchen appear more spacious. “Colorblocking the cabinetry with white panels adds interest and allows them to take up less space visually,” says interior designer Christina Toole of Design Tribe.
You know that extra space in your home you have no idea how to decorate? That was the case with this bedroom before the sellers got hold of it. This bedroom can clearly accommodate more than a bed and dresser, but the round table and chairs weren’t cutting it. So they repurposed it into a junior suite with a sitting area.
“Adding a partition screen breaks up the long, narrow room into more pleasing proportions without blocking light,” says interior designer Janet Lorusso.
Before: Master bedroom
After: Master bedroom
Before the renovations, we wouldn’t have hesitated to grab a good night’s sleep in this modern master bedroom; but after the renovations, it’s a place where you might want to spend your whole day.
Austin is a big fan of the changes, especially the elements you may not notice immediately.
“All new finishes, poured concrete flooring, and updated ventilation systems modernize this home behind the scenes,” he observes. “Clean, open, and natural woods brighten the room, setting the stage for charming, colorful elements.”
Those colorful elements also caught Trudel-Payne’s eye. “You had me at floral wallpaper and hanging rattan chair,” he says. “From the woven pendant lights above the nightstands, to the breakfast/work bar, to the perfectly placed sitting area at the foot of the bed, this room was done so right!”
Finally, we arrive at the pièce de résistance of this renovated home: the backyard. It was a good space to begin with, but the renovations here are most likely to boost the home’s value.
“This backyard was done perfectly, to every last detail,” says Austin. “The minimalist desert landscaping and thoughtful touches of color are perfect surrounding the poured concrete patio, allowing for maximized space around the pool. From the clean lines and modernized landscaping to the infinity hot tub, it’s a perfect backdrop for parties.”
Before: Another view of the backyard
After: Another view of the backyard
Chicago-based interior designer Lauren Visco noted a change to the pool’s shape that made a world of difference.
“Squaring off the rounded pool corners gives this outdoor space a clean look and allows for a gradual transition between the landscape and water,” she says.
Watch: Point, Shoot, Sell? To Show Off Your Home, Avoid These Listing Photo Mistakes