Whether you want to refinance your mortgage or sell your home; you probably want to make some home improvements first. And like many sellers, you will want to do what you can to make yours stand out.
Various home improvement projects can potentially pay off big. In fact, even small home improvements and upgrades can make a big difference. The trick is to keep costs down by choosing the projects that will give you the biggest bang for your buck while doing most of the work yourself.
Think neutrals. You may love bold colors on the walls but a potential buyer may not. Choose a neutral color pallet for your home that would allow just about any home buyer to be able to visualize living there.
Neutrals go beyond paint. Consider changing the carpet to hardwood floors or ceramic tile (if you live in an older home maybe you will be lucky and find hardwood floors under old carpeting). Of course, if your carpet is in great shape, you may not want to invest in changing it. However, consider changing the flooring in the main living areas.
Pay attention to kitchens and baths. Most home buyers are very picky about their kitchens. Do what you can afford to update the space, such as a fresh coat of paint and making sure cabinets and appliances are clean. If you can afford it, consider installing new appliances, new countertops, ceramic tile and fixtures. However, if your appliances are in good shape and your kitchen doesn't look outdated, you may be able to get away with a coat of paint, new fixtures and some elbow grease.
Ditto for the bathroom. Potential home owners don't want to see outdated bathrooms. A fresh coat of paint, a new vanity, new fixtures and ceramic tile can do wonders.
Add a deck or spruce up the one you have. Adding a new deck is one of the best things you can do to increase the value of your home.
Remember curb appeal. Does the exterior need new siding or a fresh coat of paint? Are the hedges in desperate need of a trim? Maybe the driveway needs to be resealed and the gutters need a cleaning. You may think that potential home buyers will look past these things, but your goal isn't to sell your home to someone who wants a fixer upper. You want to sell your home to someone who wants to move into a nice home in move in condition, and is willing to pay the right price to do it.
Try to improve on your location. Lets face it, there is nothing you can do about your neighbor whose house needs painting and is overgrown with weeds. However, you can do your best to separate your home from your neighbors, even if not physically. One way to do that is with stockade fencing running down the border of your property in the back. For the front, consider planting shrubs to create a border that will make your house visually stand out from the neighbors.
Talk to your real estate agent. He or she should be able to give you some helpful tips on where to put your money to maximize the value of your home.
Do as much work yourself as possible. If you can safely take on some or all home improvement projects you wont have to worry about high labor costs, which could cancel out any profits that you would have made from your home improvement efforts.
Even if you aren't able to do some or all of the work yourself it helps to know people. Often a friend or family member will lend their expertise or you can barter services.
Refinishing a basement can add value to a home. Converting an attached garage to extra living space can actually work against you. Before doing any type of costly remodeling and home improvement make sure that the potential returns will offset the cost. Don't forget details such as replacing outdated ceiling fans, lighting and other fixtures.
Stay safe. Never take on any home improvement projects that should be done by a professional, such as electrical work.
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