Update Where It Counts

Updating your home to make it more appealing to buyers does not have to mean remodeling your house. There are a few simple, inexpensive things you can do to make any house show better, sell faster, and appear to be worth more. Here are just a few simple ideas:

Whole House: The cheapest thing you can do for a house with the biggest bang for the buck is to paint the walls and replace the flooring. Buyers do not get emotionally attached to a carpet-allowance sign, what they fall in love with is the new flooring already in the house. Soft neutrals are easy on the eyes and have mass appeal. Gouges and holes, stains and discolored walls, out-dated paint colors or a dull, lackluster look make a house seem old, tired and boring. You need buyers to be excited about seeing your house. Fresh paint and new carpet also help to get rid of old, lingering smells that have built up over the years in your home. Fresh carpet and that new-paint smell are the best buyer-bait.

Kitchen: Besides a deep scrubbing and a thorough decluttering, a few simple updates can make almost any kitchen look great. First, as always, is a fresh coat of paint. Choose a neutral color that goes well with the counter tops and flooring. Another fantastic, inexpensive upgrade worth considering is adding a tile backsplash to your kitchen. This is a relatively easy DIY project, but sloppy workmanship will always show poorly. If you are unsure of your skill level, take a class at a local home improvement store or hire someone to do it for you. You might also consider replacing knobs, handles, and drawer pulls with newer, fresher hardware. This can be a lot of fun, but the expense can quickly add up. Know how many pieces you will need before you even walk into the home improvement store so you can do the math before you get to the register.

Bathroom: If your bathroom has an outdated or unattractive vanity, consider replacing it with a new vanity. It does not have to be an expensive vanity and most home improvement stores carry several attractive vanities that can cost less than $200. Vanities are relatively easy to install and there are several great how-to videos available online. Also, take a good look at the caulk around the sink, toilet and tub. Caulk is very inexpensive and easy to replace. A clean, fresh line of caulk is a very minor fix that instantly makes a bathroom looks clean and fresh. Once again, take your time and make sure it is done right. If you have grout between the tiles, look critically at it and see whether or not it is stained, chipped or flat out missing. Grout can be cleaned or scraped out and replaced. This is not difficult, either, but it takes time. And, of course, don’t forget that new coat of paint on the walls and a thorough scrubbing and polishing (everything made of glass or metal should sparkle). Dirty, stained bathrooms are one of the fastest turn-offs to prospective home buyers.

Soft surfaces: Often overlooked in your home, any fabric surface should be cleaned and freshened. Because we look at it every day, we tend to no longer notice the wrinkles, stains and imperfections in the carpet, furniture, bedspreads and drapes. Poorly maintained furniture tends to appear to prospective buyers as an indication that the home has been poorly maintained as well. Having you furniture reupholstered is not a very cost effective solution, but slip covers are rather affordable and widely available. Also, fabrics tend to hold smells that we might not notice because, living in those smells every day, our brains have learned to ignore them. Ask any non-smoker or non-pet owner if they can smell old cigarettes, pet urine, litter boxes, or animal scent in a house and they will most assuredly tell you that not only can they smell it, but that it smells just awful. Whether you smoke or not, whether you own pets or not, we highly recommended that you have the carpets and all upholstery professionally cleaned, launder or dry-clean all drapes and bedding, make sure that dirty laundry is gathered up and washed frequently and that wet items are not allowed to sit around and get sour smelling. Consider cleaning or replacing old area rugs and bath mats. After all of this cleaning, don’t let those smells build up again! Smoke outside, walk the dogs more frequently or consider keeping them in an outdoor pen while your house is on the market (if it will not be too stressful for your pet), keep litter boxes cleaned out and freshened with baking soda. Also, consider purchasing some inexpensive plug-in air fresheners. While they cannot substitute for a deep cleaning, these can help keep your home smelling great for weeks at a time.

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