If you’re selling your home or considering it, you’ve probably racked your brain thinking of ways to add value. And you’ve probably at least thought about a renovation. But in a down economy, renovations are often too pricey for many sellers.
Fear not, for there’s a more economical, less disruptive way to go. Spending less money on small improvements can save money on the front end, and it can add as much as 20 percent to the sale value. And with a detailed, well-organized plan, many of these improvements can be implemented as simple do-it-yourself (DIY) projects.
To help you get there, here are five simple ideas for each major area of your home.
- Consider hiring a designer to come up with additional ideas to add value to your home, and make sure that person starts with the living room. It helps to have a second set of professional eyes on your home’s appearance, and some designers will throw in the consult for free if you decide to work with them.
- A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to enhance the feeling of space in the living room, especially if you come up with a new, lighter color scheme.
- Make sure there are enough outlets in the room and that the ones you have are in working order.
- New lamps with modern bulbs and sufficient wattage can brighten the room and enhance the effect of a new coat of paint.
- Before the home visits starts hire a professional cleaner to help make a good impression.
- Consider new or replacement windows to increase the brightness of your kitchen. New bulbs are fine, but in this room they typically only go so far.
- Evaluate the condition of your flooring. If you’ve been living with old linoleum that looks cracked or tired, at least price the cost of replacing it with stone or tile.
- Update, update, update! If your appliances are more than ten yours old, chances are they’re out of date, and spending a few hundred bucks for a new dishwasher or a modern fridge will pay off down the line.
- Think about redoing the cabinets to create a more modern impression and reduce counter space clutter.
- Fix the blemishes on your counters and table tops. Scratched or worn counters are a turn off, as are older table tops.
- Would mirrors work in this room? If so, they increase the sense of space and add light.
- Replacing existing surfaces with quality wood, stone or marble. Studies show these additions create a favorable impression when it comes to the cleanliness of the room.
- Similarly, new rugs in the bedroom can add life to a stale or dull bedroom.
- Remove any older furniture, such as chests of drawers, that create an impression of clutter, and put them in storage. Better yet, hold a garage sale.
- Make sure the closets are completely clean, and think about replacing older shelving if appropriate.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent lights to create brighter, quality lighting.
- Evaluate the amenities: towel racks, holders, shower fixtures and shower curtains. Buy quality replacements where necessary.
- Get the faucets replaced. New, modern looking faucets are one of the quickest and cheapest ways to improve the appearance of your bathroom.
- Just as in the kitchen, replacing cabinets can make a world of difference when it comes to space and appearance. And consider adding a vanity if you’ve got the room and you can make it work.
- Replacing an old toilet with a new water-saving model is like cash in the bank.
- Hire a professional landscaper to clean up and enhance the appearance of your yard.
- If you have a quality gardening space in the yard, hire a gardener to evaluate and improve it.
- Consider adding mature trees, which can add approximately a thousand dollars a tree to your home’s value. Get them from a quality nursery, and use a professional tree service.
- If you have an older shed that’s seen better days, find a handyman to remove it. While you’re at it have him take down any decrepit fencing.
- If the paving in your driveway is cracked and in rough shape, get it paved.
Keep in mind that all of these ideas are just starting points. Feel free to mix and match, and discard the ones that aren’t practical, don’t fit your budget or don’t pertain to your home. Finally, be sure to improvise, brainstorm and add new ideas that aren’t on these lists — and let us know what you come up with.