The year was 1985. Married just a year, my husband and I decided to buy our first home. We were DINKs (double income, no kids), so even though the $130K price tag for our four-bedroom, two and one-half bath ranch seemed steep, we could manage. Smart move. Today our home is worth over half a million.
You may not be a twenty-year homeowner, but even in a short period of time your property has probably appreciated, and it is important that you protect the value of your home through proper maintenance inside and out. Whether you sell today or sometime in the future, real estate, building, home staging and design experts generally agree there are some very specific things you can do – for minimal monetary investment – to get your home looking its best. Here are thirty ways to make your home marketable from front to back.
How many times have you heard these words? There is even a television program by the same name. But this isn’t just a catch phrase created by the real estate industry. It conveys the fact that buyers will form their first opinion by what they see first. So you better make it look good.
Start by standing in front of your home and really looking at it. Does the trim need paint? Is the landscaping neat? What condition is the driveway in? These are very simple things to correct. To help you out, here are some ideas.
? Replace or repaint mailbox;
? Varnish or repaint front door;
? Update light fixtures;
? Trim hedges, bushes and trees;
? Remove dead or old landscaping;
? Add flowers and colorful plants;
? Fix lawn with new sod or seed;
? Remove oil from driveway or have it resurfaced;
? Repair or replace concrete;
? Ensure roof is in good condition.
As for the landscaping, make it easy to maintain. Perennials are easiest to care for, though adding a few annuals is always fun. Colorful potted plants and a bench on the front porch can make visitors feel welcome.
Once you have finished the front yard, it’s time to start on the inside. Doing minor repairs and upgrades throughout will go a long way in communicating that your home has been well cared for. However, experts agree that the two rooms that go the furthest in giving you the most “bang for your buck” are the kitchen and bathrooms. Here are some easy updates for these as well as other rooms in your home.
? Add new fixtures (lighting and faucets);
? Update floors (peel and stick vinyl works great in small spaces like bathrooms);
? Repair and repaint walls;
? Replace trim and molding;
? Ensure plumbing works (no drips);
? Replace or re-enameling tub;
? Refinish or paint cabinets (inside and out, buyers peek);
? Replace countertops;
? Update drawer and cabinet pulls (try spray painting the current ones);
? Keep spaces (especially counter tops) clutter free.
When considering wall colors, many experts would have your think neutral. Now while neon pink and bright lime green would not be a wise choice, neutral doesn’t need to be white and boring. Using soft gold, pale green or light camel can bring a lot of life and warmth to a room without turning off buyers.
While wallpaper tends to be a very personal choice, wood paneling can make a home feel dated. If possible, remove both. At the very least paint over the paneling.
Bringing Up the Rear
The last place a buyer stops is generally the backyard. So whatever space you have, use it to it’s fullest. Making a colorful living space that feels like an extension of your home will do a lot to increasing your home’s buy-ability.
? Clean and update landscaping;
? Clean and maintain hot tubs, swimming pools and ponds;
? Refinish decks;
? Repair or replace concrete;
? Refurbish or update patio furniture.
Not all buyers will want a pool or hot tub; however, if your property has these extras, be sure they are safety-proofed for small children.
Into the Home Stretch
Now that you’re on your way to improving the appearance of your home, there are five final things to consider.
? Whatever projects you choose to do on your own, make sure you have the ability to do a quality job and finish what you start;
? Don’t over improve or it might push your home price outside the neighborhood average asking price making your property more difficult to sell;
? Consider how soon you plan to sell and if the cost will be returned in the asking price;
? Keep your floor plan flexible. Avoid remodeling that limits the use of rooms or inhibits space flow;
? Finish what you start before putting your home on the market.