How to Refresh Your Home Like A Boss
Story by Kimberly Bonéy
The season for spring cleaning seems to have arrived in record time this year. It’s the time when we are all a bit more inspired to refresh our lives in every possible facet, particularly where our humble abodes are concerned. Perhaps it’s the impending summer – often the busiest period for selling a home – that has us oh, so inspired. Whether you are looking for some refreshing upgrades to give your home the upper hand in a competitive selling market or you are looking for some sweet modifications to enjoy with your loved ones in your forever home, we have a few suggestions to help get the ball rolling.
The first thing anyone notices when approaching a home is what is commonly referred to as “curb appeal.” It includes any details that can be noticed from the front of the house, townhouse, duplex or apartment and it’s a crucial point of engagement for potential buyers and visitors alike.
• Give your home’s exterior a fresh coat of paint – and don’t forget the trim. Neutral colors are best here. No one wants to contend with purple trim on a home – including neighbors or potential buyers.
• Be sure all siding is in place and the garage door is level. These tiny details make a huge difference.
• Upgrade the street address numbers on your home. Make sure they are visible from the street.
• Consider painting your front door if it looks aged. Spray-paint the metal fixtures with a matte black paint for a look that is generally more well-received than shiny gold or silver embellishments.
• Make sure your lawn and garden beds are well-manicured. The weed whacker and edger are your friends.
Less is definitely more when trying to woo potential buyers. If you need to, consider renting a storage unit to make sure that your garage isn’t stuffed to the gills. Buyers need to see what they are working with in there, too.
• De-clutter the house. Get rid of any unnecessary items, including storage boxes and furniture items that leave a room feeling too crowded. Aside from giving yourself and potential buyers some mental space (and getting some packing done early for your impending move), your home will actually appear larger with less stuff – and more space is a huge selling point in today’s market.
• Remove as many personal items from the home as possible when trying to sell your home. Box up family photos, personalized artwork, mail, shoes that linger near the door, or anything else that doesn’t leave the home looking like a nearly blank canvas for the buyer to create with. The more the buyer can envision their own stuff in your space, the more likely they are to connect with it.
• Stage your furniture in ways that best showcase the room, keeping in mind where big items like flat-screened televisions and stereo systems fit best with regard to outlets and wiring.
• Bid Fido adieu while potential buyers are taking the grand tour. An allergy-prone buyer may head for the hills at the first sign of a tuft of dog or cat hair in the corner. Have four-legged family members stay with a loved one. Clear away the litter box and food and water dishes.
BIG BANGS FOR YOUR BUCK
There are a few low-cost, high-impact things you can do to make your home more appealing. A little bit of vision and elbow grease goes a long way.
• Clean, neutrally painted walls without wallpaper are a huge selling point. Sure, you may love the idea of covering your walls in every color of the rainbow, but buyers may not be so keen on having to paint the whole house back to a more neutral palate before Moving Day. Keep the color consistent throughout the house. Bonus: Light-colored walls can make a room appear larger.
• It’s a given that hardwood floors are one of the most desirable features when buying (or living in) a home. If you have them in your home, you are already winning. Just make sure they are free from scratches and scuffs and are freshly swept, waxed and buffed.
• Tile flooring is another desirable option. Be sure the grout is cleaned to perfection and that any cracked or broken tiles are replaced before a potential buyer visits.
• No hardwood or tile floors? No problem. A nice wood laminate is a good option for less financial output. Just be sure there are no spaces in between the slats. It’ll instantly cheapen the look if it’s not done properly.
• Got carpet and can’t afford to replace it with wood flooring or laminate? It’s not a deal breaker. Have it professionally cleaned to perfection. If you have major stains that don’t come out with cleaning, you may need to bite the bullet and consider replacing it with new carpet or another flooring option.
• Shed some light on things with a few new lighting fixtures where they count most – over a dining table, in the kitchen or over the vanity. A word to the wise: do not show buyers anything you don’t plan to leave in place once the sale is complete. Your great grandmother’s chandelier may look fabulous over the vanity, but it could be a turnoff to a potential buyer if you pulled the plug on it and took it with you.
SMALL UPGRADES FOR HIGH-INTEREST AREAS
Kitchens and bathrooms are incredibly important to potential buyers. While some upgrading may be necessary, don’t break the bank on a complete kitchen or bathroom remodel. Consider these small but mighty fixes instead.
• Fresh, matching kitchen appliances and coordinating fixtures in a bathroom are a nice way to catch a potential buyer’s eye. If you are not planning to include the appliances or fixtures, make it clear to the potential buyer up front.
• Freshly painted cabinetry is a highly effective way to refresh the look of a kitchen or bathroom without having to install new ones. Neutrality where color is concerned is key. Upgrade knobs and hinges to create uniformity and cohesiveness.
• Install new faucets whenever possible. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to change the look of the kitchen or bathroom without a complete overhaul. Be sure they coordinate with the hardware on the cabinetry or any appliances.
• Caulk the sinks. It’s incredible what a difference this can make in giving a kitchen or bathroom a new lease on life.
• Scrub any grout on counters and backsplashes to ensure all dirt and food remnants haven’t left a trace.
In the day and age where energy costs alone could usurp a large part of a monthly family budget, making sure your home meets the highest efficiency standards is a huge benefit to you or a potential buyer.
• Dual-paned windows keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Invest in the replacement of any single-paned windows. It’ll be worth it whether you stay in your home or sell it.
• Consider replacing any appliances that are not energy efficient. Dishwashers, washers, dryers and water heaters are some of the biggest culprits where energy usage is concerned.
• Clean all air ducts and replace vents to create the most effective usage of the home’s heating and air conditioning systems. This is also the best way to prevent allergens from making their way into the ventilation system.
Eliminate the need for a potential buyer to worry about impending repairs by doing a preemptive strike in those areas of high concern. Nothing kills a buyer’s interest quicker than the thought of having to make repairs as soon as escrow closes.
• Make sure the roof is in good shape. It’s the very first place inspectors look for potential damage. A damaged roof is likely to be a huge deterrent for a potential buyer. At the very least, a roof that isn’t up to snuff may encourage a potential buyer to lowball an offer with the knowledge that a major repair is soon to follow.
• Clean, paint and align the gutters on your home. This is another area of concern for potential buyers because improper drainage can lead to water damage and mold in or around a home.
• Be sure the chimney is properly cleaned and vented, if your home has one. Soot is messy and poor ventilation could create a fire hazard.
• Have a professional check all of the plumbing in the home before putting it on the market. It’s the best way to make sure it’s fair to the potential buyer and protect yourself from any liability at the same time.