Added by on September 1, 2010

Making Your Home Appealing On A Budget

With the uncertainty of the economy, many people are looking for ways to cut back. When it comes to selling their home, homeowners often don’t want to put much money into getting it ready for the sale. While that’s certainly understandable, properly preparing a home before listing it goes a long way to helping attract serious buyers and offers.

It’s not that you have to upgrade or completely renovate a room in order to make your home more marketable. Polishing up and tiding up a few key areas can have a remarkable impact. With that in mind, you don’t have to spend a fortune to do this. In fact, you can make your home appealing even on a budget. Here’s a few ways.

Whether or not your buyers cook, all seem to be interested in the kitchen. So this is where we begin. Chipped cabinets with peeling paint are unsightly. I’ve seen kitchens where the countertops are nice—maybe granite—but the cabinets are a shocking mess. It’s a simple solution to reface them. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. A new paint job for the kitchen walls and cabinets can give the whole area an updated look and make the kitchen area inviting even to those who rarely use it! You might also consider replacing the cabinet handles—you’d be amazed how much difference that makes. One last thing, don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Remember the adage: the way you live in a home is not the way you stage it.

This next tip refers not to one particular area but instead to highly trafficked areas. Doorways, hallways, the lower part of walls, and baseboard trim—anywhere else where those nasty scuff marks, fingerprints, and dust settle in. Put a little elbow grease into washing and/or repainting those areas and notice what a difference it makes. I remember when I used to list real estate I went into a home and saw tons of pictures taped to a teenager’s door. It was a nightmare. The homeowner eventually peeled off the pictures and repainted the door, so much more attractive.

If you’re dealing with a small space, you might try something that may seem counter-intuitive. The Star Tribune reported that moving furniture 1 ½ to 2 feet away from the walls can help to make a room look larger. Pressing furniture up against the wall gives it a crammed look.

Mow your lawn and water the plants. It sounds so basic but really this is often overlooked. In the hurry, to pack boxes, shove items in closets, and get the pets out of the house before an open house, homeowners sometimes neglect to take care of the landscape. Thus flowers start to wilt, the grass browns and the overall yard has an everyone-forgot-about-me look. For more tips read my column, Simple Way to Grow Healthy Lawn.

Grout your way into buyers’ hearts. Yes, the fine lines do matter. Walk into your bathroom after reading this article and look carefully at your tub and tile on the floor. Does it look grubby? Need a good scrubbing? Or does it really need to be re-grouted? That soap scum build-up and mold will really stand out to buyers. And while fixing it doesn’t take much, sometimes homeowners simple opt not to take care of this before listing. Maybe they presume that it’s not that big of a deal and that it’s an easy fix. The first part is incorrect and the latter is absolutely correct—so roll up your sleeves and fill in the lines. It could just lead to the signing on the line on sales contract.

Best advice is to see your own home the way you survey a home that you’d like to buy—that’s typically with a very critical eye. Then fix it up. The changes could result in a faster sale at a higher price.

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