Sellers Finishing Touches
The reality is that sellers do not want to spend big to get their house in tip-top shape for buyers. The good news is that there is plenty you can do for free or at a very low cost to prepare your home to sell.
As long as the cabinets are in good condition, you can update their look for under $250. New cabinet knobs or handles are an easy do-it-yourself project that can instantly upgrade a kitchen. You can get hardware for as little as $2 to $3 a piece. It’s amazing how you can transform decent cabinets by just swapping out the hardware and bringing it up to date. Avoid dated brass knobs.
For outdated cabinets get out the paintbrush. Painting cabinets a neutral or light color or refinishing with a clear coat can greatly enhance the appearance and brighten the kitchen.
Granite is still king when it comes to countertops with quartz a close second. The price of granite has dropped considerably in recent years, which makes it not much more expensive than laminate, if granite doesn’t fit your budget look for less with updated laminates that resemble granite. Some companies offer kits to help make countertops resemble granite styles.
Old tile countertops can be saved by hiring a professional to clean or paint the grout. Tip: Cleaning and refinishing stained or dirty grout on floors and bathtubs will make a big difference, too.
A dated bathroom can instantly feel more modern with just a few enhancements to the fixtures. For example, removing that large plated glass mirror or old medicine cabinet and replacing it with a framed can make a big change at a small cost. It helps make the bathroom look more sophisticated and typically bigger.
If your faucets have lost their shine, you might consider replacing those too, for as low as $20. You’ll want to make sure your lighting and faucet finishes all coordinates.
It’s not easy to sell a pea-green tub, and it’s pricey to replace it, so consider refinishing with porcelain, fiberglass, or acrylic, and repair cracks to make the material look new. A more neutral bathroom is always more attractive to buyers.
Create That Hotel Feeling
Luxurious bathrooms do more than help homeowners unwind-they also help attract buyers. For a spa-like ambiance, bring in fluffy towels, attractive wall decor, dimmable lighting, soothing sounds, fragrant scents, and accessories in cool and calming colors.
Kitchen appliances that are mismatched or dated can be difficult for buyers to look past. As long as the appliances still work, an increasingly popular option is painting them. Of course, you’ll want to disclose such updates to buyers and make them aware of any upkeep issues.
Box it up. Most people pack up after they sell the house, but why wait? Sellers should start packing as early as possible. Ideally, before they put the home on the market and consider moving clutter to offsite storage.
Show off the laundry space. Buyers will be impressed if the laundry room is fresh, inviting, and organized. Make sure light bulbs are working, and hide soaps in a cupboard or line them neatly on a shelf.
Focus their attention. Pick a focal point for each room. For example, the focal point of a bedroom is usually the bed, and for a music room, it’s the piano. If a room is somewhat empty, you can help draw attention to a corner with a plant or mirror.
Hardwoods are on most buyers’ wish lists. To imitate the look for less, try vinyl or Bamboo flooring, a sustainable resource that resembles wood.
Call the experts. Dirty, worn carpet may benefit from professional cleaning.
Refinish it for cheap. Practically any beaten-up or worn hardwood can be salvaged with refinishing or ceramic tile freshened up. Call a professional or, for do-it-yourselfers, hardware stores sell grout paint.
Add a layer on top or bottom. One other option for lackluster flooring: Use an area rug, even over carpets. It’ll add a splash of color, and bring definition to living areas.
New light fixtures are a quick way to create ambiance. Avoid brass fixtures, which had their heyday in the 1980’s. Use lighting to highlight special features in your home. Pendant lights can show off that kitchen island or sconces to illuminate a foyer. Under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen is affordable and makes countertops sparkle.
Go natural. Open those blinds and wipe down the windows. You would be surprised at how much a simple window cleaning can instantly improve natural light.
Save on energy costs. Compact fluorescent bulbs remain the go-to choice for energy efficiency. CFLs deliver on light quality or convenience, but they come in warm, neutral, and cool colors.
A few gallons of paint can go a long way in making a home more chic-and the cost can’t be beat. Reserve darker or trendier colors for accent walls or to highlight details such as a fireplace or an arched doorway. Or instead of introducing a new color, use the paint in the rest of the room as a guide, choosing a color that’s three shades darker. To bring depth to a long hallway, paint the wall at the end of a long hallway a different shade than the others.
Shine with sheen. Flat or matte finish is difficult to clean and shows scuffs. Increasing the sheen can brighten rooms. Eggshell or satin bounces light off the walls to make spaces seem larger. Semi-gloss, higher on the sheen level, is a good option for kitchens and bathrooms since it’s easy to clean. Gloss accentuates flaws, so use it sparingly.
Create monochromatic harmony. Use different variations of the same color throughout the home. Choose a color palette, which usually has about three or four similar hues, and use two or more colors from the single card.
Paint the baseboards white. But don’t use stark white, which can take on gray tones against some wall colors. If the home has dated stained-wood trim, simply painting it off-white can bring it up-to-date. But don’t forget to use a primer first.
7 Ways to create a Cohesive Style
Small updates will have a more dramatic impact if you are careful to keep the styles consistent and find ways to draw out your home’s best features. Here are some tips from experts on how to make small improvements that pay off.
1. Concentrate on big impact rooms. Be selective about what you do. Kitchens and bathrooms still usually offer the most bang for your buck so focus on those.
2. Go neutral. Don’t introduce too much color to the “bones” of the home. You don’t want buyers to see too much bold color on cabinets and walls and think that their existing furniture will not mesh. Stay neutral with walls, cabinets, and fixtures. Bring in pops of colors through accessories.
3. Consult an expert. A professional stager or remodeler can work within your budget and pinpoint where best to spend your dollars. Your Cove Realty realtor can point you in the right direction of a professional stager.
4. Know when inexpensive won’t work. Certain projects simply can’t be done cheaply, especially in a high-end home. If you have a luxury home, replacing the vanity with an off-the-shelf product from a big-box store isn’t going to cut it, so you’re better off cleaning what’s there and having it appear its best.
5. Find inspiration. For design guidance, grab a catalog from Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Williams Sonoma or surf on over to their websites.
6. Plan your budget. Even small projects can carry a premium if a contractor is needed for installation. For labor savings, bulk your work and group several projects in a full day’s work rather than hiring a handyman or contractor for separate hourly jobs.
7. Complement the architecture. If you have a two-story colonial home, avoid overly contemporary updates. Likewise, if the exterior is modern or contemporary, stay away from traditional styles.