If you're like most, your home is your biggest investment and you want to get the most money possible when you sell it.
Getting top dollar for your house means it needs to look its best when you put it on the market. It's got to be clean and in good repair both inside and out for good "curb appeal."
Your home needs to be the spiffiest one on the block, but you don't want to break the bank going for the gold.
According to Sid Davis, a real estate expert and author of Home Makeovers That Sell: Quick and Easy Ways to Get the Highest Possible Price, some simple, inexpensive tricks can help you get your home in shape as you begin to look at it through a prospective buyer's eyes.
"For less than $1,000 you can oftentimes move your house to the next level and increase its value significantly," Davis says. "Some improvements will take virtually no money and simply require investing a bit of time and some old-fashioned elbow grease."
Declutter should be first on your list. Getting rid of excess furniture, pictures and knickknacks will make a home look more spacious and livable. Have your home professionally cleaned, too.
If your home is dated and needs upgrading, start with the kitchen. Many times you can keep the cabinets and restain, paint or replace the doors and hardware to cut costs. Replace the countertops with what similar homes have in your area. For example, don't go granite if others have laminate. You won't get the cost back. The same is true for the flooring, appliances and fixtures.
Tiling counters can be a low-cost do-it-yourself project. If you're new to laying tile, many home centers have tiling classes and rent the tools needed. Do-it-yourself kitchen, bath and entry tile floors can add much more than the cost to your home's value. By shopping around you can get great deals on discontinued tile, sales and overstocks.
Upgrading the bathrooms also doesn't have to be costly, says Davis, who stresses concentrating on new lights, mirrors and paint.
Paint is one of the best low-cost ways to dress up your home and add value. Check out model homes and decorator magazines for popular color schemes. Avoid off-beat colors - these can lower a home's value.
Don't forget the outside. Curb appeal is critical. Green and trimmed lawns, attractive flower gardens and fences in good repair add value. Paint or stain wood fences and sheds.
Cracked and deteriorating concrete along with sunken sections can slice thousands off your home's value. Potential buyers see these problems and go into price-cutting mode.
"Once your house is sparkly clean and upgraded, you need to 'stage' it," Davis says.
Staging a home means putting some things in storage, reorganizing what's left, and decorating to make it inviting.
"You should even consider baking cookies or burning scented candles to make it smell like home sweet home," he says.
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