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Home | House | Maintenance | 5 Cheap Projects To Improve Your Home's Value
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5 Cheap Projects To Improve Your Home's Value Print E-mail
(8 votes, average 4.50 out of 5)
House - Maintenance
Written by Omie Ismail   
Monday, 10 May 2010 03:19

When I bought our current home, one of the things that stood out was the number of little projects that weren't done. Everything from the hedges not being trimmed to the room with fluorescent green Housepaint. These little things kept the house on the market for a full 4 months before we came along. In our neighborhood, that's a long time.  Even during the bear market in real estate, most houses have sold in under 60 days. We saw passed these little flaws and focused on the big things: the house, its true condition, and the property. But we probably paid $50,000 less than if the house had been tuned up before the sale. These little home improvements don't have to be expensive, in fact these 5 won't cost you more than a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and will likely increase the value of your property.

1. Painting:

Had the fluorescent green room been repainted before our house was put on the market, we wouldn't have had that detraction imprinted into our head. Painting is cheap and it doesn't take long to do a very credible job. A couple cans of paint and some brushes will cost you $50and you can knock out a room in a weekend. Although you might think that a bright purple looks great, if you are getting ready to sell your house, stick with traditional colors that aren't too dark. Above all else avoid fluorescent green!

2. Basic Landscaping:

Landscaping with exotic plants, hedges, or trees can be expensive but for a few hundred bucks you can do a good job adding color and bringing your house to life. Put your money where it will be seen in the front yard and improve your curb appeal. For all the analysis that goes on when buyers choose a home, the most important factor is curb appeal. It's how they remember your home after they left. Get bright colored flowers and two to three foot plants that will double in size over the summer and you'll dramatically improve the way that your home looks. Bark can also be an inexpensive addition that looks far better than bare ground or clumpy grass. Home Depot recently had 2 cubic foot bags of bark for under $4. Grab 20 bags and give the front of your house a professional look.

3. Fixtures:

The right fixtures can give a bathroom or kitchen just the right look that impresses potential buyers. In our house, some bathrooms didn't have towel racks so they looked odd. We kept on wondering, how the heck did they hang their towels. The sink faucet also didn't match the bath fixtures which we thought was odd. Mentally, we budgeted $1,000 to fix the bathrooms and we priced that into our bid. In reality, we did the work for about $200. The towel racks were only $20 each with a coupon from Bed Bath & Beyond (that ubiquitous 20% off coupon). We found matching hardware for our cabinets that cost us next to nothing when we bought our furniture. Even the right kitchen sink faucet can be had for under $100 and give the room a more regal or polished look. Depending on the house, some fixtures can be difficult. We are still looking for 80 year old doorknobs to match the one that were broken when we moved in. Overall though, fixtures can dramatically improve the image of a home.

4. Obvious broken stuff:

Your future buyer is going to have an inspector find out what is working and what is broken. If an electrical outlet doesn't work, a buyer will assume there is a serious problem with the electric which may run thousands of dollars. In our case, we had everything from termite damage in the exterior fencing to cracked concrete and non-functioning electrical outlets. We factored in $25,000 to fix all of the broken items and got another $2,000 in credits at closing for the termites. Had our sellers paid $1,500 and fixed it themselves, we wouldn't have factored any of these things in to our price adjustment. The biggest item was the cracked concrete, but it could have been patched well for little money and we hardly would have noticed.

 

5. Polish, Polish, Polish

This is less of an improvement than a condition that your house will be in when you sell it. Everything should shine from the tiles to the tables. A big negative for our house was that the tiles, which cover more than half of the floors, seemed dull and worn. The tiles themselves are absolutely beautiful but even a Ferrari covered in dust looks terrible. Take the time to polish all the wood and ceramic in your home and if there is noticeable wear and tear, consider refinishing. Another trick, which is often used, is to strategically place furniture where there is minor wear and tear. Personally, if there is a rug covering a floor, I lift it up, but many people don't. If it's a major condition, get it fixed, as anything major will likely be found in the final walk through and may make you buyers angry.

 

These 5 tips won't cost you much, but they'll ensure that when you sell your house it will have the right look to fetch top dollar. If you skip them hoping to save a few bucks, you'll end up with someone like me that will beat you up on your price.

 

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haverwench  - Clean, clean, clean |2010-06-17 10:33:43
In keeping with #5, an even more obvious way to make a decent first impression for almost no money is to CLEAN. When we were house shopping, I was amazed how many sellers overlooked this incredibly basic step. One had left clothes and half-eaten bowls of food strewn all over the living room, and the place smelled terrible. At another house, the dog was shut up in one of the rooms and there were dog droppings all over the floor. That house became permanently fixed in our minds as "the dog poop house." None of this would have stopped us from buying a house that really worked for us, but I couldn't believe it had never occurred to these sellers to make even the most basic effort to clean the place up.
 

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