There are inexpensive ways to add a lot of value to your home and there are are expensive ways that you may think provide a good return on investment but instead they just end up costing more than they are worth. Check out our list of things that you can do to raise the value of your home while keeping more money in your bank account for your new house. Each tip will only cost you a Saturday and $300 or less and will pay you back in shortening the time it takes to sell your home and some will raise the value on your property.
Time to Declutter
Decluttering can mean a lot of different things to different people. At LKR we take decluttering to mean removing anything that may be distracting to the buyer. The less you have in your house when you photograph it and have open houses the more the potential buyers can actually begin to visualize their stuff in the home. If you can have a friend or a family member walk through your house and tell you what they would not want to see if they were attending an open house at your home will make your decision easier in helping to declutter. Then remove these items and pack them away. Put them into boxes and then into storage either in your attic, a friend's basement or in a storage unit in town. Do not put them in closets, your basement or your garage, this gives the illusion that you can't fit everything in your house which will discourage potential buyers from purchasing your house.
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover
Since the kitchen is the most important room in your house it is important to make sure that it is a shining star. An easy way to give your kitchen a makeover is to simply makeover your cabinets. You don't need to completely replace your cabinets you can just give them a new coat of paint and refinish them. We recommend using white and natural neutral colors. If your kitchen has a lot of natural light you may even consider a darker color such as dark brown or black. After you have finished painting, put some new hardware on your cabinets. Buyers are looking for modern pulls that are finished in a brushed nickel or black. Stay away from brass, brightly colored glass or anything that is decorated with flowers or birds. These tips can also be used to help makeover your bathroom cabinets as well and give your bathroom an updated look.
Freshen up Your Paint
Fresh paint can really help to sell a room. There are three rooms that we recommend freshening up if they haven't been painted in a while. Fresh coats of paint should be applied to the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. The best colors to use are neutrals, yellow-based tones including off-white, light brown, taupe, medium brown or ivory. Do not put anything too dark or adventurous on the walls. Don't choose too many colors for the rooms in your house, don't experiment with accent walls and don't re-hang too many of your family portraits or pieces of art.
Give Your Street View a Makeover
Enhancing your curb appeal can help attract more buyers to your property and spark their interest before they even see the inside. If the property looks nice from the outside, it is easier for a buyer to picture themselves living there and they will rest easy knowing they won't have to fix it up. There are several inexpensive ways to improve your curb appeal without doing a huge landscaping project. First clean up or replace your mailbox, put up new street numbers that match the style of your house, clean your windows and storm door and touch up any chipped paint. Next trim, trim, trim. Whether you have overgrown bushes, trees, shrubs or grass it is time to manicure your landscaping. Next remove any lawn ornaments, toys, leaves, twigs, tools, construction materials, or debris. If you have a wooden fence either touch it up, give it a fresh coat of paint or stain it so that it looks fresh. Another good tip is to fill in any bald spots in your landscaping with flowering shrubs and put a pot of flowers by the front door. They are a nice welcoming touch to potential buyers. And finally rent a power-washer to clean off your driveway, house (if you have vinyl siding) and walk way.
Fix Your Lighting
This one is simple, you just need to replace any light fixtures that are broken, dated or distracting. Places to update lighting at the very least are in the bathroom, kitchen, dining room and master bedroom. If you can't afford new light fixtures you may try spray painting old brass chandeliers and fixtures with a brushed nickel finish to give them a more modern look. Don't forget to put new light bulbs in every light fixture in the house so that potential buyers can see your home in full light. High wattage light bulbs in darker rooms can help to really show the rooms off, you will only need to leave these light bulbs in the light fixtures while your home is being shown if you don't want to have that much light in them naturally.
Scrub, Scrub, Scrub
Sparkling clean floors can really make a difference. If you have hardwoods in your home you should polish and buff them. Carpeted floors should be steam cleaned along with any area rugs, you can either have this professionally done or you can rent a steam cleaner. Tile floors should also be professionally clean and make sure that the grout is cleaned as well. If you happen to have vinyl flooring in your home that is not attractive or make loud noises when you walk on it, consider putting down some vinyl stick-on squares. You don't want to make a huge investment here because flooring is a very personal choice for many buyers. You should choose something that is on sale at your local hardware store that also looks updated. In addition to the floors, make sure that your entire house is scrubbed, dusted and vacuumed.
Stage Your Home
Once you have completed everything thus far you need to consider the best way to show off your home.
In the Bathroom
Remodel without the construction. You can replace your old shower curtains with a fresh, more modern model. Replace old bath mats, buy a set of matching towels to display in the bathroom on nice modern towel bars. Clean the counters and make sure that your accessories such as the tooth brush holder and soap dispenser are coordinated to give the effect of elegance. Add a few fresh rolls of toilet paper before you show the house, these will contribute to the feeling of peace you want your bathroom to convey. Think about a luxury hotel bathroom, this is essentially the look you are trying to achieve. A new faucet can make a dramatic difference in your bathroom, but it doesn't need to break the bank. Choose something that is shiny and modern and you will instantly have a new look.
In the Bedroom
Take a look at your comforter. If it is outdated, stained or ripped then you may consider buying a duvet cover or spread to keep potential buyers focused on the space, not your bed. Also examine your window treatments. Light, bright and simple is best for window treatments. Tie back curtains that may be darker or replace them with new panels. Take advantage of the natural light in the room by keeping blinds and shades open.
In the Kitchen
Are your cabinets a mess? Do you have dishes in the sink? How about your countertops, are they clean and cleared off? In your kitchen you want to create the illusion of space. You may consider removing extra dishes from your cabinets to make them appear spacious, cleaning out expired food from your cupboards and organizing all of your silverware, pots and pans and junk drawer. Remove any mail or boxes off of your countertops and put out your standup mixer or blender on the counters pushed back towards the wall. Also put out a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter along with a vase of flowers behind the sink or on the table.
Add Some Extra Space
You don't need to add on to your house to create extra space, you just need to create the illusion of extra space. Many people will pay more for just a little more space. One way that you can make your house feel bigger is to fix up your garage or basement. Organize everything in your garage and basement and make sure that everything appears spick and span for the open house. When your work space is organized and your basement either looks like there is room for a play room, extra family room, office space or additional storage, people are able to visualize their life in your house and see if they like the life they see. Make sure that both spaces are well lit and consider installing shelving or other organizational units to show potential buyers that there is plenty of room. Make sure the path to the basement is well lit and safe. Install a railing if you don't have one already. If your basement is unfinished, consider adding a sealant to the concrete floors, this gives the illusion that the space can be finished easily and made into what ever the buyer wants.
Do the Small Stuff All at Once
Take a day or two and take care of all of the small stuff at one time. You will not only get a lot crossed off your list but you will not forget to do them later. Take care of any minor repairs that need to be made. Do you have a leaky faucet, drain that needs to be fixed, toilet that needs a new flapper, sticky cabinet, broken drawer, squeaky door hinge, moldy caulking around the tub? These little fixes may not seem like much on their own but added all together the potential buyer will only be seeing dollar signs and a home that appears to be riddled with problems.
Last Touch Details
Before you open your house up to buyers it is important to make sure that you have taken care of all the details. It is easy to see the big things that need to be changed but looking over the small things can potentially bring down the price you sell for or turn away potential buyers. Make sure that you have replaced anything that is yellowing or brass including switch plates, door hinges, doorknobs, etc with brushed metal or a more up to date style. Some of these things can be spray painted to save you the cost of buying all new. Anything plastic we recommend replacing with brushed metal. Remove any wall art that might be distracting or deter potential buyers. For instance if you have your prized deer head in your living room this might be okay if you are selling a hunting cabin in the woods but if you are selling a modern home in the suburbs you might want to consider taking it down to make potential buyers feel more at ease.