As a licensed Broker I have shown thousands of homes and apartments over the years for my clients. And over those same years I’ve found some low cost/high yield improvements anyone can do as long as you’ve picked up a screwdriver and a brush. Below are the most popular ones I’ve come up with even if you are on a tight budget:
1) Replace All Broken and Missing Light Bulbs. This might seem like a no brainer but I have shown other properties in the past where a closet light was missing, bathroom light dull or gone, etc. Folks who are looking at your house will mostly likely have some others to view and if they can’t see the home in full lighting – may want to pass simply because of the “feeling” it gives them. For a couple of bucks per bulb replace all light fixtures and make sure to leave them all on when you are showing! Estimated Cost $15-25.
2) Clean or Replace Ceiling Vents. I’ve have found when one thing is nice, the not so nice becomes more glaring. This is true when it comes to ceiling vents. After years of blowing air from your AC/Heater they will accumulate some not so attractive black dust or worse suet and you will want to take them down and soak or replace them. Estimated Cost $60-$80.
3) Replace Cabinet Hardware. This is a clever way to get your cabinets looking new again. Similar to ceiling vents, years of opening and closing those doors will accumulate oils and dirt from your hands and become unattractive. Getting a box of new hardware is cheap and putting them up is easy to do. I would extend the project to include all kitchen and bathroom handles. Estimated Cost $20-$40.
4) Getting New Floor Mats. May not seem like much but getting a new set of floor mats give your home an extra “boost” when showing. I find they are more inviting and are complimentary to everything around it. Make sure to get neutral colors and include ones at every bathroom vanity, kitchen and exterior doors. Estimated Cost $40-$50.
5) Replace Interior Door Hardware. Again, similar to the cabinets, your door knobs get a lot of traffic and I find these are commonly overlooked when getting a home or apartment ready to show. Over time they lose their finish and sometime functionality. For about $8 – $10 each you can purchase new knobs and they are easy to replace. This is also a good opportunity to replace outdated knobs with something more that are “current” and trendy. Make sure to include hall and closet doors. Estimated Cost $60-$80.
6) Replace Mini-Blinds. Now most of you might be thinking this is impossible because if you have purchased blinds before you know they can go for north of $50 a piece. However, since you are selling your home or renting it, it’s ok if you go with inexpensive blinds especially if the ones you have are old, dirty and/or damaged. Better to replace with inexpensive blinds then to hang on to better quality but less attractive ones. I buy Project Source at Lowes for about $6 each. Estimated Cost $70-$100.
7) Painting All Walls, Doors and Trim. This too should come as a no brainer. However, I find that most folks who paint are not sure what exactly to paint or not to paint and how to go about it. I find that most ceilings are fine and you can skip over unless there was a leak of some kind. If you are not an experienced painter feel free to paint the trim and doors the same color especially if you are on a time crunch. Also make sure to replace all electrical cover plates after you paint as the old ones will stand out and take away from the new look of the room. Stick with one color throughout the entire home and make sure it’s neutral. A new home buyer will most likely repaint it themselves soon anyway. Buy the first run of paint in a five gallon bucket and use this to estimate how much more you will need after it’s empty. You will need at least this much for an entire home and it’s cheaper to buy than separate one gallon cans. Estimated Cost $300-$400.
8) Clean Your Entire Home and Make It Smell Good. Common sense is not common and I am always shocked when I’m showing a home for sale and it’s not clean or smells bad. One automatically assumes a dirty home can have other “issues”. Make sure all of your toilets are shining, vanities nice and tidy, ceiling fans free of dirt, etc. Have a pet? Get rid of all dander and hair. You might be used to it but most everyone will not. Another good tip is to make the home smell good throughout. If your AC filter is in a closet, put an air freshener in front of it so that every time the unit kicks on it sucks the good smell and distributes it evenly into the home. Estimated Cost $ 30-$40.
9) Replace Stove Drip Pans. If you are like most cooks you like to use your stove a lot and may cut corners when cleaning it. For about $7 a piece you can change out each of the drip pans. This will give the stove a new look and may even be necessary since they tend to become rusty over time and are impossible to clean. Estimated Cost $30-$40.
-This article was written by C. Gabriel Lewis
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