The days of buying a home and living there indefinitely are a thing of the past for many families. Jobs change, people relocate, families grow, families downsize when kids head to college, and sometimes neighborhoods change. Any of these reasons can make you think about home improvement ideas for selling your house.
Question is, what to do to improve its chances of selling at the best price?
There are many things you can to do make a home more appealing. But if your house is in good condition, the major investments such as a new roof or rewiring aren’t a concern.
This post is for people who want a few improvements and minimal investment, all to help make an already good property shine.
Home Improvement Ideas #1: Update the Kitchen
Whether the potential new owners are gourmet chefs or only prepare a meal once in a while, most people head to the kitchen as one of the first rooms to examine when viewing property. If there’s anything you can’t clean up to make it look new, you might want to replace.
New appliances, even lower-end models, look nicer than a kitchen full of mismatched appliances or older ones with dings, scratches, and permanent stains.
Cabinets that are in decent condition can usually be drastically improved with a good cleaning and polish, but countertops might be another story. They take a lot of abuse. New countertops make older cabinets look much newer. You can even get the trendy granite or marble as a cap for existing counters instead of installing a costly full granite slab.
The sink is one area that can surprisingly detract from, or add to, the kitchen’s appeal. You can clean up old stainless, but can you really make it sparkle? Replace the sink and add a spiffy new faucet, and your kitchen will gleam.
Home Improvement Ideas #2: Modernize the Bathroom
After kitchens, bathrooms are the next easiest rooms to look dated. With a few updates, you can change that.
You don’t need a new tub, unless the one you’ve got is permanently damaged or stained. But new shower hardware, including a spout, handle, and shower head, can really dress up the area. Add a curved shower rod, and the shower looks more spacious.
The vanity might need more help. It’s usually a small cabinet, so if it looks tired, you could replace it for a few hundred dollars. While you’re at it, a new basin and faucet might be in order.
A word about vintage bathrooms. Don’t think that because your bath has pastel fixtures and tile from the late 40s or 50s, you need to rip it out and start over. There are many home owners who not only appreciate, but actually fawn over a vintage bath with matching pink, blue, green or peach fixtures.
This is where you’ll get good advice from your Realtor. He or she knows the market and whether buyers in your area want, or loathe, a preserved vintage bathroom.
Home Improvement Ideas #3: Sand, Caulk, and Paint
There’s something about a new coat of paint. But paint alone isn’t always enough. To make a home look nice, a bit of sanding and caulk go a long way.
Drywall can look uneven if layers and layers of old paint are on the walls. A very light sanding can smooth out rough areas and help the paint look nicer.
Caulk goes anywhere you have painted seams with a gap. Painted trim molding is one of the most common areas for caulk, as it can separate over time and leave spaces that detract from the finished look. You might also want to replace the caulk around bath and kitchen fixtures, while you’re at it.
A word about paint. Decorative colors are very trendy right now, but taste is subjective. There's something to the old saying about “for-sale khaki.” When walls are neutral tones of beige, khaki and other off-whites, you improve your chances of appealing to a much wider range of buyers.
Home Improvement Ideas #5: Staging is Everything
Once your house is as improved as it’s going to get, it’s time to put some things away. Staging is the process of setting up a house in a way that appeals to buyers.
You might love all of those family photos on the wall of your staircase. But photos anywhere in the house detract from a prospective buyer’s experience. Take them down, and store them.
Clutter is an obvious no-no, but too many decorative accessories and even too much furniture can have the same negative effect. You want your home to feel as spacious as possible. Clear off tables and dressers, leaving one or two items such as a lamp and decorative piece. Put everything else away.
If you have a lot of furniture, store some of those pieces, too. Set up the room with an attractive arrangement that’s easy to walk around.
There are professional designers who specialize in home staging. Some will even come out to your home and make suggestions about what you should think about replacing, and what to keep. For an hour or two of time, you’ll get a wealth of valuable information.
Selling your home can be a stressful time. What surprises some home owners is that it can also be an expensive venture that doesn’t pay off until the house is sold.
The critical balance is making your home look as good as it can, but without spending so much on improvements that you won’t see any return on the investment.
Have you sold property recently, or are you planning to sell yours soon? We’d love your input on what you feel is the most, and least, important considerations to get real estate ready for the market!