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How to Convince Your Clients They Need New Carpet

So you’re selling a house that your clients have been living in for the last 15 years, and you want to get the best price. Your clients are on board with a fresh coat of paint and new fixtures and appliances in the kitchen, but they’re digging their heels in when it comes to tearing out all the old carpet and putting in new carpet.

The problem is, carpet doesn’t last forever. Even the most durable carpets, diligently vacuumed and cleaned, will probably only last about ten years at most. So how do you convince your clients that they need new carpet? There are a few things you can point to.

Talk About Return on Investment

Old carpet can be a real deterrent for prospective buyers — it detracts from the appearance of the house and gives the impression that the rest of the place hasn’t been maintained very well. The good news is, carpet installation is one of the less expensive ways to dramatically improve the appearance of a house. Dollar-for-dollar, nothing else transforms the look and feel of a home like new carpet. It’s simply the best and least expensive way to transform the look and feel of a home.

Even a nice Berber carpet style can be purchased for less than $2 per foot, which means you can re-do the living room, bedrooms, and the entire upstairs for just a few thousand dollars, fully installed. In the grand scheme of the selling price of a house, that’s a bargain! Tell your clients that they’ll make back the money they spend on carpet with an increased asking price, and they’ll come around.

Point out Carpet Stains

Once all the furniture and rugs are out of a house, the carpet will be the center of attention — for better or for worse. With nothing else in the room to distract from them, old carpet stains will be even more obvious. Steam cleaning will help a little bit, but a stain that hasn’t come out over the last few years is likely to stay there for good.

Look for Signs of Wear and Tear

People don’t move their furniture around much — once they have their living room arranged the way they like it, they tend to leave it that way. As a result, certain areas tend to get more foot traffic than others. The areas in front of the couch, around the coffee table, next to the bed, and along hallways and staircases are the main places to focus on.

When the house is empty, those areas will stick out like a sore thumb. Even if steam cleaning removes the discoloration, there may even be visible signs of wear. There’s nothing you can do to fix that — the carpet fibers are physically worn down and can’t be put back — so if you see signs of obvious wear, the carpet should probably come out. Remember: steam cleaning can temporarily rehabilitate older carpet, but steam cleaning can’t remove wear patterns that make a room feel “old.”

Check for Lingering Odors

After long enough, carpet starts to hang on to bad smells, even if it’s cleaned well. Air freshener can mask some smells and a spray of white vinegar is a passable short term solution, but they’ll never completely go away unless the carpet is removed and replaced.

Carpet fibers and the padding underneath tend to hang on to pet odor (especially from cats), stains, and a general lingering smell of dust and mustiness that can give a bad impression to prospective buyers, even if they don’t consciously notice it. Buyers want to feel like they’re moving into a new house, not one that’s been lived in.

Feel for Worn Out Carpet Padding

It’s not just the carpet itself you need to think about — the padding underneath can show signs of wear as well. If the previous builders skimped on the padding, they might have gone with a cheap foam that degrades over time — especially if it gets wet.

Even the best carpet padding will eventually lose some of its height. Feel around the edges of high traffic areas with your feet to see if the floor feels uneven. If it does, it’s probably time for a new carpet and padding.

Update Your Clients’ Style

Styles change! Most houses don’t have wood paneling or orange shag carpet any more. And while new buyers want to move into a house that, for the most part, is a blank canvas that they can decorate however they want, they’re also going to care about style.

Just as paint colors, fixtures, and cabinets need to be updated to stay modern and new, so does carpet. A sleek, dense Berber carpet in a subtle shade of tan, beige, taupe, or even cool gray can really modernize a home for a new family to build around. If your client’s house has notably out-of-date carpet, it’ll make the house feel old and dated, and that’s not what new clients want. No one dreams of buying a shabby home.

In the end, carpet should be one of the first things that you replace before putting a house on the market. It’s inexpensive, durable, and makes a huge difference in the curb appeal of a house. Stop by Sloane’s today!