2006-12-28 / News

Increase the value of your home for under $1,000

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 the new book “Home Makeovers That Sell: Quick and Easy Ways to Get the Highest Possible Price” (AMACOM Books), some simple, inexpensive tricks can help you get your home in shape as you begin to look at it through a perspective buyer’s eyes.

“For less than $1,000 you can oftentimes move your house to the next level and increase its value significantly,” says Davis. “Some improvements will take virtually no money and simply require investing a bit of time and some oldfashioned elbow grease.”

De-clutter should be first on your list. Getting rid of excess furniture, pictures and knick-knacks will make a home look more spacious and livable.

Also, have your home professionally cleaned. Along with decluttering, this can give your home a new look. According to Davis, one homeowner he knows did this and was so impressed by the improvement that she decided to stay put and not sell.

If your home is dated and needs upgrading, start with the kitchen. Many times you can keep the cabinets and re-stain, 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 fun, low cost and creative 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 entryway tile floors can create great looking results and add much more than the cost to your home’s value. By shopping around you can get some 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 to give a boring bathroom new life.

Indeed, paint is one of the best low-cost ways to dress up your home and add to its value. Check out model homes and decorator magazines for popular color schemes. Avoid bright and off-beat colors - these can actually lower a home’s value.

Don’t forget the outside. Curb appeal is also critical. De-clutter and make the yard attractive. 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 of dollars off your home’s value. Potential buyers see these problems and go into price cutting mode wondering what other problems lurk that they can’t see.

“Once your house is sparkly clean and uprgaded, you need to ‘stage’ it,” says Davis. Staging a home means putting some things in storage, reorganizing what’s left, and decorating to make it inviting. It’s kind of like designing your home to appeal to buyers.

“You should even consider baking cookies or burning scented candles to make it smell like home sweet home,” he adds.

Additional advice about getting the highest price for your house when you’re ready to sell can be found in “Home Makeovers That Sell,” now available in your local bookstore or online.

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