5 Tips for Marketing Your Capitol Hill Home


Help your Capitol Hill home shine and get top dollar from your sale with these five home marketing tips

Washington, D.C. real estate is a competitive affair. There are many high-end homes available in the area's luxury market, and buyers are more than willing to pay top dollar for the right property.

But how do you get your multimillion-dollar property to stand out amid a sea of equally beautiful and stately homes? Hint: it takes a bit more than a new coat of paint—although that certainly helps, too.

Let's explore five tips for how to market your Capitol Hill home to ensure you generate top dollar from the sale.

The Home is Only One Piece of the Puzzle

Before delving into more common aspects of marketing your luxury residence—improvements, staging, the listing process—your first step is to take stock of what you're really trying to sell—a lifestyle.

Much like the city's political climate, the D.C. real estate market can be fierce. Homes that stand out move quickly and often command offers above asking price. Homes that underwhelm sit on the market for too long, and may even require dreaded price cuts to get the property sold.

To ensure your property is part of the former, identify and target the type of buyer for whom your home will appeal to the most. Take note of the neighborhood your home is in—is it ideal for families seeking outdoor opportunities? Is it set amongst thick foliage, behind limited access gates for those that value seclusion and privacy? Is it close to commercial centers or cultural hotspots or easy highway access for those on the go?

Building a profile of your ideal buyer informs how you’ll market your home—what improvements to make, which elements to highlight, the amenities that will attract (or turn off) motivated buyers. You'll create a broader picture of the lifestyle your home offers. It will also help to overcome any physical shortcomings the home itself may have.

People are willing to sacrifice a few wants and needs if the home they are buying gives them the overall lifestyle they seek.

Create a Blank Slate for Homebuyers

Next, let's take a look at the physical side of marketing your Capitol Hill home, starting with color. Perhaps the simplest way to transform a home's interior and prepare it to sell is by painting it.

A fresh coat of paint brings out the best in a home. In addition to covering up "lived-in" blemishes, the right colors brighten both large and small spaces. They also lend a newness to your floor plan, particularly if you opt to have the ceilings freshened up as well.

Older homes especially will benefit from a new paint job. Although, depending on the location of your Capitol Hill home, don't cover up or alter any historical features that might prove to be significant selling points.

Stick with bright, clean neutrals. These give the home an airy, welcoming palette that invites potential homebuyers to envision putting their mark on the house.

It doesn't all have to be tans and taupes, though.

It's essential to add a little life—a sense of whimsy and fun if you will—in small doses throughout the home. For example:
  • Vivid color on small accent walls
  • Vibrant art on neutral-colored walls
  • Stylish decorative accents such as a table, floor lamps, or small sculptures
  • A bold piece of furniture to offset neutral, traditional furnishings
  • Unexpected touches like powder or utility room wallpaper
  • Conversation worthy touches like an architecturally interesting vanity in a powder room
A little flavor goes a long way in igniting a home buyer's imagination and allows them to see your home as their own.

As for the home's exterior, unless it's completely outdated, a simple power washing will remove years of built-up dust and dirt and liven up the curb appeal. If you do choose to paint it, again, we recommend neutrals that match the overall vibe of the neighborhood.

Improvements That Brighten Your Home and Your ROI

When aiming to sell your luxury home, the last thing you probably feel like doing is pumping money into a property you won't be living in. It's a legitimate concern.

However, when attempting to squeeze every last cent from your sale, a few hundred or even a couple thousand dollars in upgrades is well worth the potential return.

Of course, you don't need to go crazy with bathroom redos and kitchen renovations—leave that to the new owners to do as they wish. What you want to aim for is minor touches with significant returns.

Your main goal should be to make the home as open and welcoming as possible, which you can accomplish in two ways. The first, as we mentioned above, is through color—clean lines and neutral tones that’ll help a homebuyer envision their future in the house. The second is through light.

Lighting your home appropriately is often the difference between feeling warm and welcoming versus dark and foreboding. When accessorizing, invest in floor and table lamps that illuminate dark corners and create a greater sense of livability.

Also, take stock of your overhead lights. Unless the fixtures are central to the home's overall aesthetic, replace them with newer lighting that matches current tastes.

The same goes for ceiling fans, faceplates, and door hardware. Again, unless your home is historical and requires certain elements to be authentic, swapping out the older smaller details in a home will help it shine brighter.

Another aspect of improving your home's lighting is windows. No, we don't mean replacing them, but if it's been a while since you've cleaned them, do so.

Once that's done, you should consider if the window treatments—blinds, curtains, shades, shutters—require updating. A couple of good rules to follow:

  • Lose heavy drapery in favor of lighter, less imposing materials (or nothing at all)
  • Remove old blinds and replace them with current styles, such as two-inch wood blinds
  • Focal point or architecturally significant windows should be left bare to speak for themselves—don't detract from their grandeur
  • If your home has exterior shutters, consider repainting them or removing them altogether as some styles can significantly date a home
  • Replace old or worn screens
Again, your goal is to breathe new life into the home and make it easy for potential buyers to envision themselves living there.

The World’s a Stage, and Your Home Has a Starring Role

The final element of physical home marketing is staging. When staging a home for tours, follow similar rules of clean lines, neutral furnishings, and creating a pleasing aesthetic. Less is always more, so you want your home's marketing path to show well and be simple to navigate.

Successful staging also reveals the home's versatility. For example, if the house is lacking a standalone office or fitness room, consider staging one of the spare bedrooms as such a space.

If the home features a den or additional small living area, stage it as an office, play area, or television room to show off its many uses.

The secondary purpose of staging is to make the home welcoming and photogenic. Modern home marketing is primarily done online. Long before visiting your house, potential buyers will view pictures, take virtual tours, and form opinions based on their online experience.

You want those opinions to be positive. While your real estate agent handles the heavy lifting of advertising your home, what happens inside is primarily up to you, which leads us to our final tip.

Leave Your Emotions at the Door

Okay, we know this might be a tired business cliché, but it’s a common mistake for home sellers, particularly at the luxury level. While talking about living in and improving your home to suit your tastes makes for a good story, it doesn't always help sell it to those with different styles or purposes for the house.

It’s one thing if your ideal buyer is a mirror image of you, but approach your home’s marketing in broader terms. Your goal is to figure out who your ideal buyer is and cast the widest net possible to find them. It's vital to keep this in mind as you make decisions during the marketing process.

For example, even if your home was a great place to raise a family in, that might not appeal to individuals seeking a place for a home business or as an income property.

Of course, many of us develop deep emotional attachments to our homes. Don't hesitate to lean heavily on a trusted realtor to help you make objective decisions about how to market your house. When it comes to prepping your home for sale, your realtor might even recommend experts like professional stagers to assist in presenting your home in the best light.

You should welcome any advice with an open mind. Remember, your goal is to sell your home quickly and for as much money as possible and move on to your next chapter in life.

Interested in selling your Capitol Hill home? Or are you seeking information on houses for sale in Capitol Hill, D.C., Alexandria, Virginia, or Chevy Chase, Maryland? Regardless of where your property journey takes you, contact Katrina Homes today and allow us to be your guide to luxury Washington, D.C. real estate.

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Most important to Katrina is the success of her clients, which she attributes to her organization, honesty, communication, and unflagging commitment. She is a skilled negotiator and an unrelenting advocate for her clients.
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