To help property owners get the best selling price they can — without burying themselves in expenses — U.S. News has created a list of 10 cheap ways to boost your home’s sales price by spring:
1. Retouch the front shell: If your property’s exterior isn’t appealing, no one will want to see your newly remodeled kitchen. Property sellers must first ensure that their home projects a cozy, inviting feeling.
The shell — the outside front — is probably the most important area for improvement, the area where you can make the biggest improvement with the smallest amount of cash.
Touching up the paint on the front-entry portion of the house can be an inexpensive but effective way to make the entire property more inviting. Really focus on that outside, external shell, You would be amazed by the amount of people that drive by a house and say, ‘Ah, that’s not for me.’ And they can tell just by the way the upkeep and the outside looks.”
2. Trim the greenery: Ensuring that the lawn, hedges and flowers are well-maintained helps make your home more alluring to prospective buyers. Property owners can hire professional landscapers or break out the lawn mower and get busy themselves.
Many people have landscaping that is overgrown and too heavy, and it is concealing a lot of the house, Trim the trees, trim the hedges … (and) add a little color to the flower beds.
3. Paint the interior: Putting a fresh coat of paint on the home’s interior is a cost-effective way to make a home more appealing to buyers. When choosing the color, homeowners should be conservative. The caution is that your favorite color may not be the favorite color of the buyer. Instead, homeowners are best off using neutral colors. Go with something that is a very light yellow or a light cream with a contrasting white, so it just looks very fresh and crisp. … Having the paint in good condition is almost more important than the color.
4. Don’t forget the floors: Improving the condition of a home’s flooring is also a smart move for sellers — and you don’t need to refinish wood floors or install new carpets to make them more attractive.
5. Make all major repairs: Because tighter lending standards demand higher down payments, today’s homebuyers won’t have much cash left for improvements once they’ve made their purchase. So it’s imperative for sellers to make all major home repairs — fixing the leaky roof, rebuilding the front stoop — before they put the property on the market.
To determine what needs to be done, property owners can scrutinize their homes themselves or bring in a home inspector to examine the property professionally.
The home inspection piece, is something that is a huge value, particularly if there is something that is a question.
6. Put appliances under warranty: To give buyers more confidence in a home’s appliances, we recommend that sellers put them under warranty. Sellers can buy home warranties, which cover repair and replacement costs for many home appliances, from several different companies.
If I have got a 40- or 50-year-old house, it is going to be harder for me to persuade a first-time home buyer with a limited amount of cash to buy it because they will say, ‘Well, what happens if something breaks down?’ If I have a home warranty … that solves that problem.
7. Make energy-efficient home improvements: Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is another good way to make your property more attractive to buyers. Some improvements, such as adding solar panels, still come with federal tax benefits. In addition, a growing awareness of human impact on the environment means that homes that have these upgrades will stand out from other homes.
If you have some cruddy old windows that are leaky and just not energy efficient, you can put in new replacement windows and take advantage of the tax credit. Those are really practical things that make your house more sellable. Many contractors will conduct a so-called energy audit free of charge to determine where efficiencies can be created. If your house is more energy efficient — you use less energy, it’s better insulated — it is going to be more desirable for a potential buyer.
8. New light fixtures: Replacing old or broken light fixtures with new ones can also be a low-cost way to add value. Installing a new light fixture in the foyer can be a particular benefit, because it can make a strong first impression on would-be buyers. Creating an inviting feeling in the interior entryway helps get home shoppers more interested in checking out the rest of the property. I can update those features so that somebody can walk in and say, ‘You know what? (The homeowners) took care of this.'”
9. New stove: While some homeowners might think the only way to jazz up a dated kitchen is a full-on remodeling job, we recommend a much less costly alternative: buying a new stove. “If there is an updated stove in the kitchen, it is amazing how that draws people in, and people say, ‘Wow, this kitchen is going to be great. While upscale homeowners may have to shell out for top-of-the-line appliances to maintain their kitchen’s décor, others can budget well under $1,000 for the upgrade. You can get a really nice stove for $700 or $800, You can basically have the look of a new kitchen that is going to be really enticing to someone — and what you are really trying to do is differentiate your house from somebody else’s.
Property owners in neighborhoods where most homes have granite counter tops can consider making this upgrade as well. But Lupberger says the project makes sense only for homeowners with extremely dated kitchens that are going to serve as a serious impediment to finding a buyer. A real-estate agent with experience in the local market can help you determine whether the upgrade is essential.
10. Freshen up the bathrooms: Getting rid of mildew stains on the bathroom caulking can boost a home’s appeal as well. Such stains “scream, ‘These people haven’t taken care of this house. It’s going to be a money pit.