When you own a home, there are always repairs that need to be made especially if it's an older home. If you're hoping to sell your home, it's worth it to fix the small things to make your home more marketable. Neglected, damaged, cluttered and worn areas will turn off potential buyers. Whether you want to DIY or hire a professional, it's time to take a look around your house and get to fixin' those troubled areas.
The exterior of your home needs to make an impression on buyers and that starts with your front door. If it's old, weathered or just plain boring, consider having a new door installed or DIY. When we moved into our house we liked the red front door but, after living there for a number of years, we realized it wasn't very well insulated. We installed a new one, which not only improved the appearance of our home, but resulting in significant energy savings (selling point!). Even if you aren't planning on moving for awhile, consider replacing the front door for aesthetic and energy saving reasons.
The bathroom can make or break a deal when it comes to selling a house. If a potential buyer sees dirty or moldy grout or the room smells like mildew, they may be turned off instantly. Consider regrouting and replacing any chipped tiles. Instead of losing buyers due to an ugly bathroom, you might hear a lot of compliments as you apply some of the following fixes:
- Fresh coat of neutral paint
- Regrout tile
- Remove old caulking around tub/shower and re-caulk
- Replace chipped tile
- Replace the toilet seat, maybe even the toilet
- Add new linoleum over old linoleum
- Refinish vanity
- Replace vanity countertop
- New, neutral shower curtain
Even if big fixes aren't necessary, small things should be addressed to make your bathroom more attractive to buyers. If you have a colorful toilet (ex. pink), you can replace it by spending around $100 and use it a selling point (conserves water). Even replacing a toilet seat can go a long way in a buyer's eyes and it's an affordable upgrade. A new shower curtain can leave a positive impression as well. Most importantly, your bathroom should be spotless and smell great.
The kitchen is such an important part of the home and what many buyers rush to see when they're looking at a home. As with the bathroom, your kitchen needs to be spotless. You don't have to spend much money to keep your kitchen looking it's best. Start by clearing clutter and small appliances off of the counters. Consider staging the diningroom table with matching dinner settings to create a feeling of togetherness and warmth.
If you want to go for the bigger, more expensive improvements, you might consider some of the following suggestions which could bring a higher sales price:
- New paint
- Matching appliances
- New flooring
- Replace the faucet
- New lighting
- Replace old cabinet hardware
- Painting or refacing cabinets
- Add a modern backsplash
If your appliances don't match (ex. white stove and black dishwasher), consider changing the panels. Talk to the manufacturer to see which colors are available. Replace old faucets, especially if they are showing wear or mineral buildup. New hardware on cabinets can make a favorable impression on buyers too. If you want to go all out, reface the cabinets so the overall feel of the kitchen is more modern. There are many "fixes" you can apply to your kitchen to make it more attractive to potential buyers.
Whether you have an older home with small closets or a newer home with large walk-in closets, they get cluttered. If you want to appeal to the masses, remove the majority of clothing and belongings. You want to leave the impression that there's plenty of room for the buyer's clothing. Add a closet organizer system or use attractive baskets on upper shelves to contain shoes, sweaters, scarves, etc. A simple, non-cluttered, organized closet will bring oohs and aahs from potential buyers.
Carpeting can really drag down the value of your home especially if it's dirty or worn. Hire a professional who can spot clean high traffic areas and then do an overall deep cleaning. Your carpet will look newer and your house will smell better. If you have worn or outdated carpet, you might consider replacing or removing it (hardwood floors may be underneath!). Carpet squares offer a DIY solution to replacing outdated carpet or covering concrete basement floors.
Lighting can make a big difference in the appearance of a room. If you have a space that's a bit dark, consider have a professional install recessed lighting. I was in the basement of a friend's house recently and there was so much lighting, it hardly felt like a basement. Replace burnt out bulbs and consider replacing outdated light fixtures. In addition, a light wall color will reflect light better, adding more appeal to buyers.
Depending on the age of your home, you may have yellowing outlets and covers. As I repaint rooms around my house, I also replace old outlet, covers, light switches and switchplates. Crisp, white outlets and switches leave the room feeling more up-to-date and cleaner.
As you can see, there are many quick fixes around your home that can make a world of difference in the eyes of a potential buyer. Mismatched kitchen appliances, old grout, dingy carpets, or old outlet covers can be remedied and may lead to a greater sales return. Considering hiring a professional for the big repairs but many of these fixes are DIY. Tackle a couple of small fixes this week and the next and by the time you're ready to put your house on the market, potential buyers will be impressed with what they see.