Home Won’t Sell Without New Carpet? 5 Go-To Selections

When you sell a home with ripped, stained, or smelly carpet, buyers will view your house as a fixer-upper and slash what they’re willing to offer. And while Stanley Steemer certainly works some carpet magic, past a certain point, a deep cleaning of your carpet won’t get you the price you desire.

“A carpet is fairly inexpensive to change, considering the total investment of the property,” says Tammie Bell, a real estate agent who works with 78% more single family homes than the average agent serving Lake Jackson, Texas, and the surrounding area. “You only get that once chance to make that first impression. … You don’t want them to walk in and think ‘OK, this carpet looks like it will hold up for a week.’”

Thankfully, carpeting is less expensive to install than hardwood — about $2,100 to $3,600 for 300 square feet versus about $2,200 to $8,500 — as well as cozier and quieter in certain rooms and climates. That said, you could go overboard installing expensive carpeting when a basic update would do. Before you head to the carpet store, consult our buying guide to the best carpet to install when selling a home so you don’t get lost amid an enormous variety of carpet colors, fibers, and costs.

New carpet that was installed before selling a home.
Source: (Ran Berkovich / Unsplash)

Carpet-buying tips: Fibers, color, and durability

People want to see carpeting that’s comfortable, durable, and attractive. Consider these factors when choosing the best carpet to install when selling a home:

Always go with a neutral (but not pure white)

Light, neutral tones will make your rooms look larger, according to the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) of Dalton, Georgia, a professional association of flooring manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors. Lighter carpeting also makes a home look bright and clean, Bell says. However, stark white carpet is too vulnerable to dirt and stains, which could raise concerns among any buyers who happen to be red wine drinkers or own a pet with the occasional muddy paws. When in doubt, select a beige, taupe, or light gray color.

Prioritize a soft fiber with a short pile

When choosing carpet, you’re considering the style of the carpet as well as its fibers. Textured or twist carpeting is flexible and stylish (and costs less) than more tailored loop carpeting or the upscale look of a pattern. As for fibers, synthetic fibers such as polyester, triexta, nylon, or polypropylene (olefin) comprise more than 90% of carpeting on the market, the WFCA says. Bell recommends a soft fiber with a short pile for easier maintenance, unlike berber, which adds texture but can snag. “When people walk barefoot, they want something that feels soft on their feet,” she says.

Emphasize durability in high-traffic areas

Hallways, family rooms, and other high-traffic areas need carpeting that’s more durable. Dining rooms, bedrooms, and similar areas do not, the Home Depot says. Triexta and nylon are the highest performing and easiest to clean, in part because of their short pile, but wool, polyester, and olefin also are durable. Buyers will notice differences in color and texture within the same field of vision, though, so beware of replacing carpet in piecemeal fashion. “If it doesn’t match or it’s not appealing, it’s dated,” Bell says.

Consider your home’s style and price point

If you’re selling a beach home, such as in Bell’s area, buyers might not want any carpeting whatsoever. “If they do, they typically prefer it only in their bedrooms,” she says. Carpeting that complies with FHA standards based on weight and density should be sufficient to sell your home. However, buyers in a higher price point will expect a higher grade of quality overall, as well as throughout the home. “You want it to be of similar quality, if there’s any other flooring in the house … so it doesn’t stand out,” Bell says.

Look for warranties or protective features

Your total budget for carpet should include installation, the carpeting, and the carpet cushion, or backing, which improves comfort, provides insulation, blocks moisture, and stops stains from reappearing, according to Lowe’s. (Try this Carpet Measurement Calculator to help estimate the costs of materials and labor.)

On average, replacing 2,000 square feet of carpet — which includes removing and disposing of old carpeting — costs about $14,220 to $24,440. If your home’s subflooring is unstable, you may need to hire a carpenter to replace it, which costs an average of $70 an hour.

Those costs aside, different types of carpeting include different warranties. For instance, STAINMASTER Signature and STAINMASTER Essentials carry warranties of 25 years and 10 years, respectively, against abrasive wear, which your agent could use as a selling point.

A bedroom that had new carpet installed.
Source: (NeONBRAND / Unsplash)

5 home store carpet recommendations for people selling a home

Here are our picks of affordable yet durable carpet to install when selling a home based on durability, color variety, stain resistance, and warranty:

1. Home Decorators Collection Trendy Threads II in Chic:

This low-to-medium thick beige polyester carpeting includes SoilShield technology to resist dirt and grime. FHA-approved, it has solution-dyed manufactured filament fibers that also resist shredding and fading. Home Depot says it’s good for family rooms, bedrooms, hallways, dens, basements, and offices.

Cost: $2.84 per square foot, which includes a 15-year limited warranty against stains, soiling, and wear and tear.

2. Home Decorators Collection Brightstone II in Gem:

This FHA-approved dense-pile carpeting in gray with white accents also is stain-resistant and resists shredding. This durable, high-performance carpet for high-traffic and living areas is solution-dyed using PureColor technology, so it’s easier to clean and looks vibrant longer.

Cost: $2.84 per square foot, which includes a 15-year limited warranty against stains, soiling, and wear and tear.

3. STAINMASTER PetProtect Concord Textured Carpet in Mystical Charm:

This FHA-approved tufted nylon carpet in beige tones has a modern look and cleans up easily, thanks to its stain resistance. It’s also designed to release pet hair quickly when vacuuming and is certified under the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Program for having low-VOC emissions.

Cost: $2.35 per square foot, which includes a limited lifetime warranty on food, beverage, soil, and pet urine stains. It also has a 25-year limited warranty against abrasive wear and tear.

4. STAINMASTER Signature Feel-Free Textured Carpet in Cozy Cream:

Also FHA-approved, this easy-to-clean off-white carpet has hypoallergenic nylon fibers that Lowe’s says is perfect for families with active lifestyles and high-traffic areas. It’s designed to reduce dust and allergy-inducing particles, and it resists stains and dirt.

Cost: $2.18 per square foot, which includes a limited lifetime warranty on food, beverage, soil, and pet urine stains. It also has a 25-year limited warranty against abrasive wear and tear.

5. STAINMASTER Essentials Aristocrat II Textured Carpet in Pale Clay:

This durable textured polyester off-white carpet provides a clean, classic look with low pile (.54 inches) for easy maintenance. Lowe’s says it has a soft feel that’s comfortable for living rooms, playrooms, and bedrooms.

Cost: $1.32 per square foot, which includes a limited lifetime warranty on food, beverage, soil, and pet urine stains. It also has a 20-year limited warranty against abrasive wear and tear.

When you shop, be sure to ask for carpet samples, so that you can see how different types will look in your space, as well as discuss your plans with your retailer. You might like the feel or look of a particular carpet, but it might be all wrong for the traffic area. For instance, Bell had her eye on one type of carpeting for her home’s media room until her retailer pointed out that the dry-clean only fibers wouldn’t be feasible for a space serving drinks and snacks.

Replacing the carpet before you sell your home might seem like a hassle at first, but if you consider the improvement in appearance and maintenance, it can take a load off your mind — and leave more money in your pocket at the closing table.

Header Image Source: (Ildar Sagdejev / Flickr via Creative Commons Legal Code)