Hire an experienced decorator/designer
Bring an interior designer in to check out your home. They can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home and will be worth every penny spent for their time.
Hire a home inspector
Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, water damage, electrical systems — you can't fix it if you don't know about it. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don't normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home's value. Small problems can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.
One of the easiest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint. Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that equals value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter's tape, drop cloths and brushes.
Reduce energy costs
The amount of money you spend each month on energy costs may seem like a fixed amount, but many local utility companies provide free energy audits of their customers' homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. An energy-efficient home will save you money now, which can be applied to other updates and is a more valuable and marketable asset in the long run.
Upgrade your water
Here's another way to tap into extra savings; install a water filtration system in your kitchen. Not only do these systems purify your water, they will also lower your grocery bills — no more bottled water. A water filtration system is an inexpensive addition, but it can be a small luxury that homebuyers love.
If you aren't planning to sell your house today, plan for the future with a landscaping improvement that will mature over time. Consider planting shade trees — not only will mature trees make your home more desirable but a fully grown, properly placed tree can cut your cooling costs by as much as 40 percent. Mature landscaping is also good for the environment, providing a necessary habitat for wildlife while adding valuable curb appeal to your home.
Improve the air quality within your home
If you have older carpets in your home, they might be hiding contaminants and allergens. The first step to determine if these need replacing is to hire a professional company to test your indoor air quality. If the results prove that your carpets should be replaced, choose environmentally friendly natural products like tile or laminate floors. Hard-surface floors are much easier to keep clean, don't hold odors, give your home an updated look and, in general, are more appealing to buyers.
Improvements under $400
Clean up the lawn
Patchy, unkempt lawns and outsized bushes will cause your home to stand out — in a bad way. The good news is that controlling your jungle is an easy fix. For a few hundred dollars, hire a lawn service company to trim your lawn and shape your hedges. Your curb appeal will go from messy to maintained without blowing your budget.
Tidy up your space
The old adage that you only get one shot at a first impression is true. So, make the interior of you home shine from the moment someone walks through the door. For less than $400, hire a cleaning service for a thorough top-to-bottom scrubbing. Even if you clean your home regularly, there are nooks and crannies that you may miss or overlook. Let a cleaning service do the dirty work to really make your home sparkle.
Create more visual square footage
The size of your home affects the value, but square footage isn't the only space that counts. Visual space or how large a home feels also counts. The key is to make each room in your house feel larger. Replace heavy closed draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in — a sunny room feels larger and more open. Also, try adding a single large mirror to a room to visually double the space. For less than $400, add an attractive shelving unit to an underused space and store your clutter out of sight. Don't forget to clear all of the clutter!
Small bathroom improvements can equal a big return
Even if you can't afford a full remodel, small changes such as replacing dated wallpaper with a faux or textured finish and replacing old lighting will update the room without denting your wallet.
Consider adding new energy-efficient fixtures
A functional, decorative ceiling fan is a beautiful thing. It provides necessary light and, in warm months, creates a soft breeze reducing the need for expensive air conditioning. An outdated, wobbly, loud or broken ceiling fan is a useless eyesore. Replace old fixtures with new ones to make your home more enjoyable for you now and to increase the bottom line should you decide to sell.
Bigger bathroom updates can yield huge returns
A great room to update for less than $800 is the bathroom. The two rooms that benefit most from even small renovations are the kitchen and bathroom. One cost-effective change — like replacing an outdated vanity, old plumbing, and lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor — will guarantee a lot of bang for your buck and give your bath an updated, modern look.
Any kitchen update will increase value immediately
You don't have to start from scratch to create a winning recipe. For maximizing your home's value, kitchen updates are key. Start by swapping out just one item, such as a stained sink or ancient microwave for shiny new stainless models. Even small kitchen updates will add big value to your home.
Replace worn carpets or rugs
Take a look at your home's soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Nothing turns buyers off more than the thought that they will immediately need to replace all of the flooring in a home. Ideally, you may want to replace them all, but if a limited budget puts a snag in that plan, start by replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear and replace the others as your finances allow.
Stay on top of regular upkeep and maintenance
This is such an important piece of advice. Real estate agents will attest that nothing is worse when trying to sell a home than noticing the entire home hasn't been regularly maintained. Walk around your home and make a list of all the little things that are broken or in need of repair. Individually, small repairs might not seem important, but if every room has just one thing wrong, those small things will add up to create the impression that your home has been neglected. Hire a handyman for a day and watch your "to do" list disappear. Staying on top of maintenance today will ensure your home maintains (and eventually increases) its value - instead of the opposite. There are plenty of home maintenance lists on the internet, especially on Pinterest. The experienced real estate professionals at The Mike Brown Group are also happy to assist in suggestions for ways to keep your home updated and how to keep it in the best condition possible. Give us a call today!