Many sellers don’t have the funds or inclination to do major renovations when selling their home. However, there are easy improvements that add value and appeal. These improvements are fairly inexpensive but still make a difference in terms of market value and buyer appeal.
Repairs may only cost you hundreds of dollars to fix but not done cost thousands in terms of an offered price. Simple improvements can move your home from “needs work” to “move-in” ready. Again, these improvements may cost you hundreds (especially if you do the work yourself) but give you thousands more in terms of an offer price. It can also mean that your home moves off the market quicker.
Painting and Wallpaper Removal
A fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference in terms of buyer appeal. This is especially true if it’s been 15 years since your home was last painted or you have a loud color that turns off buyers. I still remember a house that I showed to a buyer that had pink all through the house. Paint, carpet, bathroom fixtures, flowers — pink, pink, pink. It was distracting, dated and just represented a long list of to-dos to the buyer. Not surprising, that home was a pass. Neutral paint does not have to be white – try gray, taupe or sage.
Also, remove the wallpaper. Wallpaper is such a turn off for many buyers. Even wallpaper borders are distracting. They generally are dated and that is how they are perceived by buyers.
Deep Clean Carpet or Replace It
If your carpeting is in decent condition, a commercial cleaning can make a big difference. Consider replacing the carpeting if older. If there are hardwood floors under the carpet, you may do well to pull up the carpet and refinish the floors if needed. Another option may also be to replace the old carpet with one of the nicer wood laminate floors. If your vinyl or linoleum floors are peeling, replacing those is very inexpensive and will make a difference.
The kitchen is one of the biggest draws for a home. If the kitchen is really dated or not in good condition, doing a remodel would be ideal. However, if the cabinets are in decent shape, replacing the counters might make a great improvement. Everyone loves granite, but there are some nice laminate counter tops that are a fraction of the cost. Just like laminate flooring, laminate countertops are so much nicer than previously offered. You can also replace the appliances. You don’t have to break the bank but if your appliances are 20 years old, replacing them with newer (even if lower cost models) will make the kitchen more appealing.
Basement Foundation Cracks or Seepage
Foundation issues can cause a home to linger on the market or worse kill a deal either during home inspection or appraisal. If you have experienced basement seepage or noticed cracks, have a professional inspect the foundation before putting it on the market. You can get it repaired or addressed before putting your home on the market. Best case, the problem is easy to repair. However, if the problem is more extensive, you’ll need to decide whether you fix it now or roll the dice with buyers. If there is a major issue, you are legally required to disclose the problem to buyers.
Popcorn ceilings and old wood paneling are two items that scream dated! Many sellers don’t want to deal with the mess or cost but there are options that may be within your budget. For those popcorn ceilings, rather than scrape off the texture, cover it with drywall. You can also add a coffered ceiling. This takes that ceiling from dated to elegant. While you’re doing this project, you can add can lights or another modern light fixture to really add appeal. For that wood paneling in the basement, prime and paint with a creamy white color to brighten the space.
You may not want to purchase new furniture but how about updating your bedding or adding new pillows to the sofa. Another pop in the bathroom can be fresh new towels and shower curtain. If you have blue bathroom fixtures, bright white towels and a white shower curtain can make the room look fresher. This may also be a good time to replace any personalized or controversial artwork with something more neutral. You are looking to sell your home not necessarily make a statement. I’ve seen some art that has made me blush over the years. You want to appeal to as many buyers as possible.
Fix That Dripping Faucet
Now is a good time to take care of some of those pesky repairs that you keep putting off. You may have gotten used to that dripping faucet or the leaking pipe in the basement. However, buyers will see those things as indication that the home may not be well maintained. Go through your home and make a list of items to be addressed. You will also want to include the exterior. Pulling weeds, painting the window and door frames, cleaning the gutter or power washing the siding and deck are all items you may want to consider. Your home does not have to be perfect, but you want to consider buyer perception.
Simple repairs and updates can make a big difference when selling your home. You can’t easily add additional square footage or a third bathroom, but you can put in a little “sweat equity”. Buyers want a home has been well maintained.