There are several things you can do as a homeowner to spruce up your home to help maintain value or even increase your home’s value over time. Sometimes in the busyness of life we forget about home maintenance. If this is the case, when we consider selling our home, we can face a daunting mile-long list of deferred maintenance items.
Increase Your Home Value – Maintain and Repair
Regular home maintenance is the best way to protect you home’s value. If you find yourself in with a list of items longer than you would like, it’s generally best to start with the items that are easiest to tackle. There are many tasks that any handy homeowner can do themselves.
When these easier items are addressed, then it’s a good idea to consider the major systems of your home. Is anything in need of repair? Have your major systems reached the end of their appreciable life span? Are your appliances at the end of their life? This is how we usually explain it:
Every home is in a repair cycle. Every system in the home is somewhere in it’s repair or replacement cycle. If you have too many major things at the end of their life-cycle when you try to sell your home, home buyers will balk at the amount of work and money needed to get all those things fixed and updated.
1. Consider First Impressions
Curb Appeal Matters. When more than 90% of home buyers are shopping on the internet, the first image they usually see online is the front of the home. That first image makes a huge first impression.
The same goes for when they first drive up to your home. First impressions are usually lasting impressions. You’ll want to make the most of that opportunity.
Cleaning up the yard and entrance to your home takes little more than muscle and energy. Cut back overgrown shrubs and plantings. Spray or sprinkle some kind of weed-and-feed product (Scotts has always been my fave.)
Power-wash sidewalks, walkways, decks, and the outside of house, if needed. You can rent a power-washer for a day and it will make a huge difference. There are also power-washing companies that will take the work off your hands.
If you don’t do anything else, paint the front door and replace an old, worn door handle, and the kickplate if it’s dingy. Plant some inexpensive flowers, in pots if you don’t have a suitable garden area.
These curb appeal items can be an easy part of yearly maintenance. Keeping your front entry in good shape can be an easy task throughout the time you own your home, so it can be checked off the list before you even decide to sell.
2. Consider Flooring
Look down. If your carpet is not too worn, a simple cleaning will do wonders. If you need to replace carpets, find a mid-grade, neutral color. We’ve always recommended “Tea Stain”, but with today’s decor trends, a light gray is also a good choice. It will appeal to the most people. If your hardwoods are dingy, first try buffing to renew their gleam. If there are too many scratches and dings, you might need to refinish them.
As with all home maintenance, keeping your carpets and floors in good shape will help you get more longevity out of them. The expense of new flooring can be saved if the floors are already in good shape when it’s time to sell. Covering high traffic areas with throw rugs can help with longevity of your floors.
3. Consider lighting
Look up. If your light fixtures are dated, get some new ones at Home Depot or Lowes, or any other big box store. You can find some very nice fixtures for a reasonable cost. Make sure you use the brightest bulbs possible.
Keeping your lighting updated throughout the time you own your home will not only save you a chunk of money when it’s time to sell…you get to enjoy greater energy savings and more stylish fixtures while you live in the home.
When we sold our last home, (quite a story, btw!) we had lived there for ten years. During that time, we gradually updated fixtures and lighting, until we had a cohesive look throughout the house. When it came time to sell, we were happy that we didn’t have a long list of updates.
Strive for Clean and Neutral
Most buyers need to be able to envision their furniture in your home, and if your colors and style are too much out of their comfort zone, they will usually not stretch their imagination too far. Even if a potential buyer likes bold colors, its still easy for them to “imagine” their favorite colors in your home if you have a palate of neutrals for them to start with.
4. Paint Covers a Multitude of Sins
And it’s not expensive. Again, select neutral colors, as they have the broadest appeal.
Remember, neutrals don’t have to be white and beige. Grey is a very popular neutral shade today.
Most homes take wear and tear with daily living. Decorators recommend painting every 5 to 6 years, just to keep the walls fresh and clean.
5. Get Rid of the Stuff!
Its amazing how much stuff we collect, without even trying. Pare down, thin out, pack away, de-clutter, whatever. Consider renting a storage unit if need-be, people need to see themselves living there, with all of Their Stuff, so give them room to do so.
6. Give Your House a Good Cleaning
…even if it means hiring maid service for a single clean. A dirty house is a turn-off to prospective buyers. When you have it all clean, start making the small repairs that you’ve been avoiding. Replace window seals, fix the leaks, grout, etc.
7. Consider Home Staging
Minimalist home staging is a must, in my opinion. There are many things that a homeowner can do themselves to showcase the best features of their home. Once you understand the principles of staging and avoid common staging mistakes, you can do a lot to get your home ready.
A professional stager will also make a big difference. The psychology of space is an important factor, and the stager will help you present your space in the best possible light. [We know a couple of good local home stagers.]
8. Kitchens and Baths Sell Homes
Pay attention to Bathrooms and Kitchens
Now we’re talking about more expensive fixes, but you can start small and work your way up over time. Start with small tasks, like cleaning or redoing grout, or caulk.
Replace fixtures one at a time. If you need a new appliance, make sure you replace it with an energy star appliance. Check out Lowes or Best Buy for their “Open Box” sales, the demos that they sell for 30 to 40% off. [We got a great dishwasher that way.]
Kitchens and bathrooms are the most expensive to update, so if they require little to no work, buyers tend to be more interested.
Cosmetic updates can go a long way, but keep in mind the comparable homes that are on the market. If the norm for your home is granite counters and stainless-steel appliances, (although there are alternatives to stainless-steel appliances), then you will want to be competitive when your home goes on the market.
Keeping up with repairs and maintenance throughout the time you own your home is the best way to increase your home value and be prepared to sell without a lot of last minute, expensive work.
Quick and Easy Bathroom Updates
Contact us for recommendations for Stagers, Home Repair, Roofing, Handyman services, HVAC… we have a list of trusted services.
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Chris Highland, Broker eXp Realty Maryland
Cell: 301-401-5119 Broker: 888-860-7369