A 60-year-old Colonial brick home in Ladue is the subject of this year’s ‘real home critique.’ The homeowners, who have a 3-year-old son, have lived in the Ladue Wood home since 2006. They have rehabbed the house extensively, including adding a new kitchen, installing wood floors, converting a sunroom into a play room and finishing the lower level.

    Ladue News brought in three real estate agents to assess the property and share their thoughts on how to make the home ‘market-ready,’ more salable for when the family moves some day. Right off the bat, all three agreed that there needed to be a walkway from the sidewalk to give guests better access to the front door. Once inside, the agents also concurred that if the home were actually up for sale, the toys and personal effects on the mantel and shelves would have to be removed, or at least toned down. Below are some other suggestions they made. 

Jiggs Dunn, Prudential Alliance

• Keep in mind that people are not looking at the furniture; they’re looking at the room. Make rooms bigger and more spacious by using furniture to scale.

• The kitchen has nice appliances, and every ounce of space is utilized well.

• The new kitchen floor (non-scratch, non-stain polished porcelain) is a plus.

• Put a smaller couch in the hearth room or replace the couch with two club chairs and a coffee table to make the space look bigger.

• The fireplace is the focal point of the living room. Rearrange the furniture to maximize enjoyment of the fireplace.

• Six-panel, solid core wood doors (like these) are hard to find. Use oil-based paint on them to make the woodwork pop. 

• The child’s bunk bed is too big for the room. Rearrange the furniture to make better use of the space.

• Because the home has only a one-car garage, remove the clutter and make it look as big as it can.

Anne Ryan, Coldwell Banker Gundaker

• First impressions count: The exterior landscaping and lighting are good, and the freshly painted front door is a plus.

• Install shutters in the opening between the kitchen and the formal dining room to hide activity in the kitchen when it’s needed. 

• Having too many pictures on the mantel is distracting to a potential buyer. Remember, you make it a home when you move in; when you move out, it becomes a house again.

• The toy room and stairs need new carpeting (it’s not good to have worn spots and stains). 

• Invest in a closet organizer in the master bedroom.

• Fix trim in the child’s bedroom.

• Organize the third bedroom: Put toys away, tidy up sewing area.

• The lower level’s full bath and storage area are a plus.

• On the whole, the house is immaculate.

Wayne Norwood, Gladys Manion

• The No. 1 thing this house has going is location: the convenience to Clayton and 170, and that Reed Elementary School is within walking distance.

• Invest in landscaping to create interest on the sides of the house. Add colorful planters to create the illusion of landscaping, even in the winter.

• Many buyers make their decision when they stand in the entryway: Fix the light fixture in the foyer.

• Clean off fingerprints from the walls and appliances.

• Don’t block natural light: Remove lamps or any furniture in front of windows.  

• Remove whimsical frames and accessories—everyone’s taste is different.

• Light candles and blow them out. Unused candles look staged.

• Lit candles may be used as long as the scent is not overpowering.

• Get rid of rugs and anything else on the bathroom floor.

• Keep obstacles out of the way—for example, the ottoman that extends from a chair. If buyers trip or fall on something, they’ll feel uncomfortable the rest of the time they’re in the house. It’s like a kid breaking something in a department store—they’ll have this bad feeling.

• The basement is a huge plus—it’s perfect! 

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