It’s one of undeniable facts of life that we end up taking care of all those little fix-it and facelift projects right before we put our homes up for sale and with today’s ultra-tight resale market, getting those jobs done is more important than ever.
I don’t know how long your “honey do” list is, but here are 7 inexpensive ways to upgrade your home for resale.
1. First impressions. In the real estate field they call it curb appeal. Stand in front of your home and give it your critical eye. You might even want to take a photograph. Sometimes harsh realities become even more apparent in a photograph—check your driver’s license. Prune bushes. Make sure the lawn is fertilized, weeded, mowed and sharply edged. Add seasonal color spots. Hint: An easy-to-maintain and low cost way to add color is with a hanging basket, if you have a good place for one.
2. Project neutralize. Now we’re talking about interior repainting. Consider repainting your interior in neutral shades. You may like the bold color your painted the guest room a few years back, but you want prospective buyers to notice how clean, airy and open every room seems. Strong colors tend to “close in” on people. Find a nice neutral color palette and carry it throughout your home.
3. The fix(ture) is in. A major bathroom remodel is out of the question, but you can easily go through each bathroom—and your kitchen—and replace all the fixtures with more modern ones. Consider continuity as you do this. Also, this is a way to inject the latest style trends into your home. Upgraded plumbing fixtures, like a kitchen faucet that doubles as a detachable spray nozzle, might make a positive impression on your prospective buyers.
4. Elbow grease. Clean like your in-laws are arriving for a weeklong visit. Make sure every surface is sparkling, the bathrooms would pass hospital inspection and the floors are pristine. Carry this philosophy out to your yard as well. Do you have some mold taking hold on your patio furniture? You know how clean model homes look, right? Get as close to that as you can. If you’re the local animal shelter, you might see if someone can watch your pets for a while. I’m just saying…
5. De-clutter. If you have something on every horizontal surface and tucked away in every corner of your house, get rid of that stuff. Obviously papers and the like need to be dealt with, but if your house has begun to fill up with your Saturday morning garage sale finds, it’s time for you to have your own garage sale and move it out. Again, open space makes your house look larger. You lose perceived square footage with clutter.
6. Re-shutter. A landlord friend of mine had a vacancy in a duplex. He looked at it from the street and there was something odd about it. One of the duplex units had shutters on its outside windows, the other side didn’t. Guess which side looked better and was occupied. Ornamental exterior shutters are inexpensive, easy to install and look great when finished to match doors and other trim elements.
7. Countertops count. Let’s go back into the bathroom. How is your countertop? Often bathroom vanity tops become dull and discolored. You can pick up a shiny new top at the local home improvement store. They are easy to install and are almost in instant bathroom remodel. If you have an ugly countertop in your kitchen, check the papers and see if anyone has a special on granite countertops. If you don’t need too large a countertop, it might be fall in your budget.
These projects should be within reach of virtually every hopeful home seller. Carve out time over a few weekends and start working down your punch list.
Carrie Thompson is a writer for Sullivan Plumbing, a family owned & operated business in Virginia’s breath-taking mountains. Sullivan Plumbing are plumbers Lynchburg VA residents depend on for fixing pipe leaks, drain line repair, installing sinks, toilets, waters softeners and more.