You have no idea how a few simple and affordable do it yourself projects can increase a home’s resale value. There is plenty of research out there proving certain home improvement and staging strategies can really make a major impact on your home selling efforts. I have listed a below our opinion, of a few home improvement projects that will give you the biggest return on investment (ROI). None of these projects are very costly, but can play a huge role on your home’s marketability and in the end your average days on the market. Your home is a product when you list it. Potential buyers need to be able to visual your product as a means to meet their lifestyle needs. Creating a general ambiance and feasibility of space can attract potential buyers who may not have otherwise been able to visualize that space in their minds.
- Cleaning and Decluttering: You will hear this from almost any realtor. Removing any personal items, uncluttering your countertops, organizing your closets and shelves, and make the home sparkling clean. A few personal photographs can be fine, but more than a few can stop the buyer from seeing themselves in the space and cause them to start spending time imagining who is in the space now. As an example, I recently showed a home that obviously belonged to a newly married couple. The wedding dress was still hanging in the closet and there was at least one wedding picture in every room…yes, powder room included. It became a distraction because my recently divorced client started counting the wedding pictures in the house. It’s hard to imagine your countertops clutter free, b/c we have items we use everyday, but storing that coffee pot and toaster under the countertops in a cabinet won’t be the end of the world. Now and days you have no excuse for a messy home. Get that home sparkling clean by purchasing a Groupon for one of those three hour home cleaning jobs. End of discussion.
- Brightening: Clean all the windows inside and out, replace old curtains, updating lighting fixtures, and remove anything that blocks light from the windows. If money is an issue just take down the curtains and clean them. Otherwise replace Grandma’s prized possession with some simple, neutral sheers from TJ Maxx or Marshalls. Definitely get rid of the 80s brass light fixtures and the Hollywood, blind your eyes bathroom lights. Go to your local Habitat for Humanity Builder’s Supply store and pick up some updated light fixtures. I would specifically focus on foyer and dining room lights to replace because these are the two places you are going to see first when you walk in most homes. Natural light is key. It’s interesting in Houston, how most homes close all the blinds throughout the home, and I get it, the sun can be brutal, but for showing purposes, keep those blinds open so potential buyers can see that natural light.
- Smart Staging: Rearrange furniture, bring in new accessories and furnishings to enhance rooms, incorporate artwork, and create focuses of each room. For example it may be a fireplace, or a certain window. Don’t make the focus of the family room, the huge flat screen tv. Remember not all buyers see things the way you do. Rearrange couches to create a conversation atmosphere, facing each other, etc. We also recommend not to leave rooms empty. In order to save money, go to your local home improvement store and ask for the refrigerator boxes. Create beds with boxes by just covering them with a duvet or comforter. Kid’s toys, big no-no. They are big, bright, and take up lots of space find a closet close to the “playroom/game room” that can store all those toys in bins so they can quickly be thrown in there for those spur of the moment showings. If this is an area that professional help is needed, it may not be as expensive as you may think. We have staging people that we can recommend who can come in and assist you with placing the items that you have in a manner that will make the most of your space.
- Landscaping Enhancements: Spruce up your curb appeal in the front and back yards by adding bark mulch, hearty plants or bushes, and seasonal color. This is all great, but make sure you know how to care of those plants, because we all know what happens in the summers here in Houston. Do your research determining placement and feed for those plants, full sun vs. partial sun, lots of watering vs. acidic. Gardening can be a whole new world, but make sure you have the time to put into it. If you don’t, make sure you pick those low maintenance, hearty plants and bushes, that don’t require a lot of attention.
- Repairing Electrical and Plumbing: Fix leaks under the sinks, remove any mildew stains, and ensure all plumbing is in good working condition. Update the home’s electrical with new wiring for modern appliances, fix any lights or outlets that don’t work, and replace old plug points with new safety features, meaning GFCI outlets. The rules have changed for requirements for new construction over the years, so be aware that this will pop up on most home inspections, especially for older homes, so deal with it before it even becomes an issue. When fixing the leaks, once you have fixed the leaks, remember to fix any damaged sheetrock or wood/flooring etc that was damaged from the leak. Otherwise it will become a question to a potential buyer. Moldy showers and baths can be a major turn off. Make sure you find a good cleaning agent to get rid of that mildew in the grout of the tile. If you can’t get it sparkling clean, you may need to re-grout or at least paint the grout line. A bath does not feel like one that a buyer can use without immediate repair or remodeling is often key in receiving an offer.
- Replacing or Shampooing Dirty Carpets: Steam clean carpets, replace worn carpets, and repair any floor creaks. Groupon, Groupon, Groupon. There are tons of Groupons out there for carpet cleaning carpets. You can also rent a steam cleaner from your local home improvement store or even a grocery store. Replacing that worn out carpet is also a good idea, even if it’s just in your main rooms, high traffic areas. Sometimes there are deals out there for multiple room specials, etc.
These are just a few ideas we suggest to our clients. I’m sure there are many more great suggestions. I have just listed a few cost-friendly ideas. I know all of this can seem overwhelming, so please feel free to give us a call. We are happy to meet with you well before the time you are ready to list your home. Part of our job is helping you be prepared so that you can get top dollar for your home. If this is your year to sell, your timing is probably good. It has become a seller’s market here in Houston, so with a positive first impression you have a wonderful opportunity to do well on the sale of your home.
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