Authored by K. Thor Jensen in Real Estate
Published on 06-13-2009
In the post-mortgage crash market, selling your home can be a dicey proposition. It is by far a buyer’s market, and the competition is fierce, with home prices still dropping even though the worst of the crisis seems to be over. If you are sitting on property that you need to flip for cash, you may want to consider making a few inexpensive alterations to your home that will return on their investment once the offers start to come in.
One of the most visible selling points for a home is, strangely, the kitchen. As the preparation of food has become more of a social affair, kitchens have evolved beyond just the domain of the housewife to a true family room. In addition, kitchen appliances and fixtures have become status symbols, with the current trend towards stainless steel fixtures and sleek cabinets making cooking areas attractive as well as functional. One useful trick is instead of replacing hardware, simply swap out the faceplates on your existing appliances – a unified visual style can be achieved for a few hundred dollars and will make your kitchen far more attractive to a browsing buyer. Changing the faucets and handles in the sink can also make a big difference for a low cost. Finally, brighter lights and more open fixtures can aid your kitchen area in looking more spacious.
Another reasonably inexpensive way to improve the surface appeal of a house is paint. Unlike many other home improvements, a paint job of reasonable quality can be completed with a few hundred dollars and some helpful friends, provided you set aside enough time to get everything done. Painting oddly-colored rooms a more neutral color will help them seem larger and aid prospective buyers in imagining their furniture within them. If you don’t have the time or the tools to paint the outside of the house, take a few hours and put a new coat of paint on the front door – it’ll give a fresh feeling to the exterior without a lot of effort. While you’re at it, replace the lock and doorknob to give visitors a greater sense of security.
Another smart way to make your home seem more valuable than it is will involve the services of a contractor, but it’s a minor addition that can yield major results. Do you have a utility room, office, or den in your house? Did you know that, in most states, the simple addition of a closet to that room will allow you to classify it as a bedroom instead – simply and easily changing your two bedroom house to a three bedroom with a few days labor. Even though you’re not gaining a single square foot, your newly recategorized house will show up in realtor listings with a much more attractive description for new parents and larger families.
Of course, there are dozens if not hundreds of other little things that you can do to raise the selling profile of your house – replace aging flooring, cabinet fixtures, and other surface elements for a noticeable visual improvement. Spend some time landscaping the grounds to look neat and orderly. This time investment greatly increases the visual appeal of the house from the street which is a must for capturing the attention of passers-by. The best general advice I can give is spend the money where it can do the most visual good. This is not necessarily the best overall good for the house, but the most noticeable improvement for a visiting buyer. Good luck, and happy home improvement!