Buy Low, Sell High: Simple Renovation To Help You Get The Most For Your Home
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
We all know that real estate is a pretty good and solid investment, but only if it yields us more money than we dished out.
And, most of us, at least when purchasing our first home, opt for something just below what we want, and go for something we can afford, and rely on getting more than what we paid for so that we can “move up” in the (real estate) world.
But, recently, I found out (though “relatives” who got the “unfortunate” news) that sometimes real estate could actually lose value. That’s right, even when the market is good, your home can be appraised at less than what you paid. Part of the problem may be location, location, location. Should a neighborhood or region take a turn “for the worse”, then along with the area, and perhaps other homes (potentially less well maintained than yours) suffer the financial consequences. Another, and more common “problem”, especially if you’re not residing in a real estate “hot bed” of homes, is “neglect” and buyers not perceiving your home to be worth what you are asking and consider it to need more work than it’s worth. Remember, most new buyers are comparing design to those of the mega mansions replete with modern amenities they REALLY want (but can’t afford).
So, does that mean that if you own an older home, you’re doomed? Not necessarily. Remember, older neighborhoods still hold aesthetic appeal. Besides perhaps offering a bit of nostalgia, culture, and history, changes are they are already developed with shopping centers and major roadways close by, and plenty of mature foliage and trees. And, above all, they are likely more affordable than their more “updated” cousins.
The key to getting your money’s worth is investing, whether or not you plan on making this your permanent residence or not. Remember, if you allow your home to “deteriorate” you are also (to some degree) affecting the perception of the neighborhood and the value of other homes especially in the immediate vicinity.
Yet, many would “argue” that home repairs are costly, and they ARE, but experts say, some of the basic income increasing “ventures” don’t have to be. All it takes is a little time, effort, and creativity.
1. Sugar And Spice And Everything Nice: According to experts, the kitchen is still considered the heart of the home, and that’s why many suggest ALWAYS burning a sweetly scented (vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon spice, or fresh baked bread candle) in that room (or area), especially before “showing” your home to prospective buyers.
Experts add that besides appealing aromas wafting from your kitchen, this room should look clean and fairly modern. Make sure it looks “warm”, cozy, and inviting, visible appliances are clean and polished, that it’s pleasantly painted, and that it features fairly recent and updated faucets, modern, yet affordable fixtures.
2. Modern Technology: Make sure your home, even if it offers a nostalgic appeal looks like it belongs in the 21st Century and is suitable for modern living. Even if you have some antique pieces, make sure they look refurbished and restored and can comply with the needs of today.
Also, experts suggest making sure your appliances match and that each room follows a pattern or theme. For example, if you have brown cabinets choose either all white or all black or chrome appliances, not a little of each, and if you do have an assortment, make sure they are not on display. And don’t forget to put away the percolator pot that oozes 1950 and getting a more modern rendition of a grind and brew that holds a more modern popular appeal.
3. Whet Their Appetite By Showing Them With A Sensational Wash Room: Besides the kitchen, the next area of importance seems to be the bathroom. And, other than size, it needs to look relaxing and inviting. Consider replacing an old shower curtain with a new and improved one and steer clear of plastic varieties. Instead opt for durable material and make sure the liner curtain matches as well. Update towels to look opulent and elegant and to match accessories and shower curtain. Get rid of fading or old accessories and replace with new ones.
Other “inexpensive” options include changing towel racks, seats and or seat covers and carpets. An “old” pedestal sink can be spruced up by investing in a country-style curtain to cover its base, and an old cabinet sink can be easily updated by adding a new (inexpensive) basin or cabinet handles.
Can’t afford to update your tiles, consider scrubbing and adding an updated rug or just replacing chipped tiles. In some instances you can apply pretty vinyl tiles or a small piece of sheet vinyl over old tiles.
Also make sure your tub and shower look scrubbed and clean. Consider re-grouting and replaced missing or chipped tiles or if you can, get a complete cover-up, which is a prefabricated tub and shower surround.
4. Space Yourself: Give yourself and your home some extra space. Remember, newer homes likely feature lots of walk in closets and open spaces for storage. Older homes on the other hand are noted for their lack of space and nearly negligible amount of closet space.
Consider paying a visit to a home design or improvement center or a closet specialty site on-line and finding creative ways of increasing the functionality and storage space in your home which will automatically increase the perception of space and boost the value.
5. Extend Yourself (And Your Home): Think of a room or area that simply serves little purpose because of lack of (storage) space. Consider purchasing a kit that will enable you to install a (makeshift) closet making the room suitable as an added bedroom or guest room. This, according to experts, adds a lot of value.
6. Get (Some) Professional Help: Experts suggest investing in the services of professionals such as an electrician, plumber, etc to look over the nitty-gritty stuff and to fix any faulty, loose, or over obvious wires or outlets and to check for leaks or other possible damage, especially the kind that can influence the price of your home.
7. Firm Footing: Besides making sure there are few if any dips in your floor and no soft spots (that may indicate termite damage), you may also want to consider updating your carpet for a fresher, cleaner look. Without going to extremes you can select and inexpensive carpet or simply strategically place area rugs over questionable areas or for carpet that’s in pretty good shape, invest in a good and thorough carpet cleaning or two. Remember, carpets trap lots of unpleasant odors and your house needs to look and smell fresh.
8. Get Some Bright Ideas: Make sure your home has plenty of light and the boring recessed lights (at least some of them) are replaced with something more fun and funky. Maybe keep the recessed lights, but add an inexpensive but aesthetic ceiling fan, and if you already have one (a ceiling fan), make sure it’s in good condition and doesn’t need new blades or to update its look.
9. Show Them The Door: Consider replacing flimsy door handles with more substantial looking ones. Keep in mind that solid (front door) handles convey safety and a solid home.
Steel front doors should either be replaced or repainted. Among the most recent trends in adding wood-grain doors to a home’s entry or garage.
For steel doors, after using a good metal primer, you can give the door a good base coat of (approved for metal) paint. For a cherry wood look use a burgundy base paint, and once it’s dry, brush over it with a cherry wood stain.
10. Don’t Sidestep Your Walkway, Sidewalk Or Curb: Consider adding some curb appeal to your home by making sure your lawn is well manicured and green and by adding a few strategically placed flowers, plants and shrubs. If you can’t do it on your own consider hiring a landscaper to do the “bare minimum”. Remember, what buyers see when they (first) drive by your home has a major impact on their perception, what they think of you, and what they will be willing to spend.
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