According to the United States Census Bureau, the average retirement-age American couple has more than two-thirds – 67.6% to be exact – of their total savings locked away in their home’s equity. That means, for most people, that their primary residence makes up the majority of their wealth and nest egg. So it’s vital that they get as much money out of their home as possible when they decide to sell it.
But not everyone can afford to invest in big renovations before listing their home on the market. In fact, high cost fix-ups typically are not a very cost-effective way to drive up value. Luckily however, there are a number of small improvements, each of which can create a surprisingly big impact on your home’s overall worth.
- Think small
If you’d like to start – and probably finish – this easy project today, with minimal effort, try this idea. Change the doorknobs, outlet covers, and other hardware scattered throughout your home. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s very inexpensive. But you’d be amazed how much appeal you’ll add to your home.
Doorknobs and cabinet handles
Here’s why it makes a difference. Both doorknobs and cabinet handles take a lot of abuse – especially those which are used every single day. Over time, the oils from our hands can wear down on their polish or paint, making them appear worn-out and dull. Luckily, these pieces are pretty reasonably priced and can be installed with only the most basic of tools. If you’d don’t own a flat head and a Phillips head screwdriver set, get one today.
Outlet covers and switch plates
Replacing outlet covers, switch plates, and other similar hardware which is showing the signs of its age is another way to revive the look of tired walls. Those plastic plates and covers can become brittle and stained after a few years. As someone who spends every day in your home, you probably won’t notice the subtle chance, but bring in some replacements and you’ll notice the difference in no time. Best yet, these covers are super cheap – save for some custom pieces – and take just seconds to install with the help of nothing but a screwdriver. Want to really “wow” prospective buyers? Use stainless steel covers or make the sure the plastic covers closely match the colors of the walls.
- Focus on the Kitchen
Making improvements to your kitchen can play a significant part in increasing your home’s value. But you want to be careful not to get caught up in the excitement and go overboard in this room. That’s because, in most cases, you probably won’t able to recoup your money on major expenditures such as new countertops, cabinets, or entire appliance sets.
Think small to medium
Instead, look for affordable improvements rather than all-out replacements. Add a tile backsplash to your existing counter to give it new life. Repaint or stain your aging cabinet doors and drawers. Search for good deals on individual appliances to replace any pieces which are in poor repair or sharply contrast with the rest of the room.
Finally, think about this: if you’re going to redo or replace your kitchen, try to do it well in advance of your move. That way, especially if you spend lots of money, you’ll have had a chance to enjoy the improvements.
- Paint & Flooring
Very few things can have a bigger impact on the appearance of your home than a fresh coat of paint. That suggestion is even more important if you plan to move out before you list your property on the market. Why? Because without furniture or other décor in the home, there will be little else for prospective buyers to focus their on.
So help them out by making your walls a clean and neat surface on which they can imagine their paintings and family photos hanging. Also, you’re always best off painting in a neutral hue. That way, the color does not become a topic of conversation, because it’s comfortable for almost everyone.
Because a couple of new coats paint often override odors that were embedded in in the walls, that paint job makes the house look – and smell – like an entirely new home.
Painting Tip: Take the time to put down a layer of primer first. This will help your paint cover the surface more evenly. It will also reduce the number of coats you’ll need to put on the wall.
Beyond vacuuming. Steam-clean your carpets.
While you’re prepping your rooms for painting, you may also want to take a careful look at the condition of your flooring. Oftentimes, carpet can be thoroughly cleaned by renting a high-end home steamer or simply hiring a professional to bring in commercial-grade chemicals and equipment. A professional floor cleaning company can also freshen up aging tile by removing the deep-down dirt that is otherwise impossible to get up with a Swiffer or a mop.
Try a wood finish before you start a new floor
Wood flooring can be a little more tricky and expensive, although some buyers actually preferred the distressed look that comes with natural aging and wear. When it comes to revitalizing beat up wood floors, rolling on a fresh coat of finish can go a long way, especially if you don’t have too many deep or prominent scuffs and scratches.
- Hire a Staging Company
Bringing in a professional to stage your home – in other words, make use of stylish furniture and intriguing décor in order to make the space more attractive to buyers – is often thought of as something only done in high-end homes and estates. But in today’s market, this couldn’t be any further from the truth.
An empty house is not inviting
Staging companies can offer real value to many sellers. Their subtle changes, using your own or rented furniture and decor items, are a great way to help home shoppers to more comfortably picture themselves living in your home. When your property is empty because you’ve moved everything out, a stager has the skill to fill it just enough to make it look enticing.
Neither is an overflowing house
Conversely, your home suffers from TMS (too much stuff) is and just overflowing with everything you own, the stager understands what must be removed to make the house look homey for someone who doesn’t yet live there.
Staging may pay off in two ways
By the way, as the stager is instructing you about what to remove, you may come to understand that much of what you’re putting into temporary storage should be permanently removed. That way, you will take less of what you don’t need with you into your new home. (Think of how much you’ll save on moving costs, because moving companies charge by distance and by weight).
The most important aspect of staging – especially in neighborhoods with very similar homes or in buildings with limited floor plans – is that it helps to set your property apart from comparable listings nearby.
In short, if you’re ready to move, think about what improvements you can make on a relatively low budget. You’ll be amazed how much higher your offers will be.
New Harbor Realty