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Tips For the Denver Housing Market with Realtor MaryAnne Budden

Tips For the Denver Housing Market

Buying or selling a home is a significant milestone, and making informed decisions can greatly impact your experience and satisfaction. One often overlooked crucial aspect of this process is the role of interior design.

MaryAnne Budden of HomeSmart Realty
MaryAnne Budden, Realtor

To shed light on this, we sat down with Colorado Realtor MaryAnne Budden, who shares her expert advice on what to think about when buying or selling your Denver home from a design point of view. MaryAnne's insights will help you navigate the market with a keen eye for design, ensuring that your home not only meets your needs but also stands out in the competitive real estate landscape. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned seller, this interview is packed with valuable tips and considerations that can make all the difference. Without further adieu, meet MaryAnne.

What to Know When Buying a HomE

Form: What should I look for in terms of layout and structural integrity?

MaryAnne: When it comes to layout, you want to ensure the layout suits your lifestyle (i.e. open floor for entertaining, separate spaces for a more cozy feeling, if you want all the bedrooms on the same floor, room to grow, etc.) You also want to note how much natural light each room receives and how functional each space is. Is the space usable? How will your furniture fit? Are their awkward areas? If you have an interior designer (like Amanda) with you, you can bring them with you on a showing to help you fully visualize your space before you make such a large purchase.

When it comes to structural integrity, you want to look for signs of settling in the foundation. Additionally, check for cracks, especially around windows and doors. Ensure the floors are level and check for squeaks or signs of damage. If the house has a basement, look for moisture, mold, or signs of water damage. Definitely don’t skip the inspection!

Form: I love the idea of bringing a designer with you to a showing before making your final decision. In your opinion, what are the most important interior features to prioritize when buying a home?

MaryAnne: The overall flow is going to be most important as that is going to impact how you are able to use the space and see yourself in it. There is only so much you can do to change the flow when it comes to renovation. However, it is important to note big areas like the kitchen, because kitchen renovations can get costly quickly. Espeicially if you have a lot of square footage.

Form: While I love a good kitchen renovation, you're right, they are one of the more expensive rooms in a home to renovate. And even though my business is called Form, I too think that function is one of the most important parts of the design. So thinking through how you use a home and the flow you want is so important to choosing the right space!

Are there specific signs or indicators that suggest a home is well-suited for remodeling?

MaryAnne: Assuming you don’t have to worry about the structural integrity of a home, I would focus on adaptable layouts that allow for easy modifications such as an open space floor plan that has fewer load-bearing walls or a logical flow that doesn't require major reconfiguration to make the space functional. Be sure to identify the walls that are load-bearing as that will affect how you are able to transform each space.

Generously sized rooms also provide more options for how you can utilize a space. Standardized room shapes also make for easier and more cost-efficient designs. Also, note that bedrooms that are located in close proximity to each other make expansion or rearrangement much easier. 

If you are wanting to take on a kitchen or bathroom renovation, finding a kitchen and bathroom that share a wall or are located close to each other reduces the cost and complexity of rerouting plumbing and electrical systems. 

Additionally, if the timing allows, scheduling renovations before you move into your new house could be ideal.

Form: How important are the home's finishes and fixtures when making a purchase?

MaryAnne: This depends on your budget. If your budget allows you to focus on immediate upgrades then it’s easier to focus more on the potential a home offers than the current finishes. 

If you’re not quite sure, then ask yourself how hard is it to change it? Paint is an easy fix as well as switching out pendant lights (assuming no rewiring has to be done which can be common in older homes). What’s going to be costly and require professionals? Flooring and tile work can be a lot depending on how you plan on redoing it. Hardware is easy to change but can add up quickly depending on how much needs to be switched out and the quality/design of the hardware you want.

Form: What should I pay special attention to in the inspection?

MaryAnne: Getting the sewer line scoped is always recommended, especially if your house is older. If it’s older than 1990 and there are trees within 20 feet of the line it would be especially important.

Be sure the roof is also thoroughly inspected and the basement - any signs of water damage or leakage. It’s especially important to know why there’s damage. Also try to find out how many more years you have before the roof will need to be replaced.

Another great tip is to use your home insurance policy as a rule book for your initial inspection. If it’s not covered, have it fixed before it’s in your name.

Are there different things to consider when buying an older home versus buying a newly built home?

MaryAnne: With older homes, understand that there is more potential for expenses and repairs when it comes to remodeling and updating a home. Additionally, older homes may not be as energy efficient. However, you are most likely getting more mature trees in your neighborhood, larger lots, and more character and charm. You may also be less likely to find yourself in an expensive HOA.

With newer homes, you are more likely to be paying more but you’re also getting more for that price–newer finishes, appliances, and potential transferable warranties. Note that the landscape may not be as mature and newer homes (especially newly built homes) may have minor structural issues as the foundation may settle a bit more in the first few years.

What To Know About Selling a Denver Home

Form: Okay now that we know about what to look for when buying a home, let's talk about what we should be paying attention to when selling a home.

What interior design updates should I prioritize to increase my home's market value?

MaryAnne: Focus on making things more neutral. Paint is an easy way to transform a room. By using neutral colors, you have made your house more adaptable to a larger audience. If you have rooms painted in bold colors then you need to hope you find a buyer who appreciates those colors or can see past them–limiting your potential to sell quickly. Additionally, using touch-up paint on hand railings, baseboards, etc can go a long way! It creates a fresh, clean appearance and helps to not draw attention to where there may be natural wear and tear. Don’t forget to get a Magic Eraser and clean down all those fingerprints and smudges on your doors! It’s crazy how those little things make a huge difference. 

Form: Do I need to Stage my home to sell it?

MaryAnne: If rooms aren't staged, it’s very difficult for buyers to try to get a sense of how much furniture will fit in the space. Oddly enough, empty rooms feel smaller. However, if you have furniture in the room, it allows the buyers to see exactly how well the space can be used and how they might utilize it, themselves.

If you are able to stage it, please do! At minimum, try to have it staged for photos so your buyers have something to reference.

When staging, keep in mind you are wanting to depersonalize your house. Take down all family photos and knick knacks. Less is more. You want counters and shelves cleared off–take a minimalist’s approach. Declutter your bookshelves as well as your fireplace mantle. You want the buyer to focus on the space and not what’s in the space.

Form: How can I use color and decor to enhance the appeal of my home to a broad audience?

MaryAnne: Neutrals are more transferable. It’s easy to look past a beige or white wall and see how you can personalize it. It also doesn’t require immediate attention if the buyer is looking for a move-in ready home. However, bold colors can drastically make a space feel smaller or darker if it’s not done correctly and call for a specific palette. For that reason, I would encourage any seller to try to keep things neutral. This will appeal to a larger audience. It may create more work upfront to paint a room, but it’s likely to pay off a lot more when it comes down to the price your buyer offers. Of course, home should feel like you and have your flair to it which is why it's so fun to work with someone like you, Amanda. But when this is no longer going to be your home, allowing for a blank slate will help you the most!

To create some personality and charm you can use decorative accents like a bowl of lemons in the kitchen or a beautiful vase with fake flowers (so they stay “fresh” for all of the showings). Keep some of your favorite artwork on the walls or include a cute throw blanket on the sofa or your favorite accent pillows. Including a rug in the living space can be helpful in making a space feel larger–Little touches that create a sense that someone lives in the space helps the buyer see the space as a home and not just as another property.

Selling a home can be emotional and it can be hard to undo some of the things you love most about the house. Just remember, you are trying to have buyers see the house as their future home, not yours.


There's a lot to think about when it comes to our homes, whether planning for a new space or trying to let go of an old space. Hopefully these tips from MaryAnne Budden at HomeSmart Realty will help you navigate this process. When you're ready to design your new space, I'm here to help answer any questions, design new spaces, or organize furniture to make it feel like your home.

Ready to update your space? Book a consult and see how good change can be!


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