Curb Appeal: Quick Fixes Before Selling Your Home

By Martin Brown

Curb Appeal: Quick Fixes Before Selling Your HomeIt’s still a crazy time in the United States real estate market. There are neighborhoods where two or three houses on the block have been abandoned, and other neighborhoods where anxious buyers are bidding up home sale prices.

What does that mean for the single woman who needs to sell her home?

As I have said frequently when writing about real estate, don’t believe everything you read in the media. If this is a time that you are relocating, trading-up, cashing-in, or just need to sell and get out, here are some quick fixes that, for a relatively modest investment, can enhance the value and marketability of your home. It’s not a must do list; rather it’s a menu of things that you can do. Pick the items that best fit your budget and will give you the biggest bang for the buck.

Start with curb appeal. Curb appeal is to a house what sex appeal is to an entertainer; it can make up for missing qualities by adding a lot of charm for a modest price. For example:

Consider upgrading your mailbox, house numbers, doorbell, and knocker with a copper or bronze set; all of which can be had for as little as $200. For the front yard, edge and mulch the flowerbeds, which should cost approximately $300, but more obviously for a larger than average yard. Nothing says, home sweet home, especially in the warm weather months, than eye catching landscaping. Consider as well, greening the grass with nitrogen-rich fertilizer. This quick fix can be had for $50 to $200 depending again on the size of your yard.

Inside the house remember that kitchens and baths are the areas that people most notice.
There is nothing like a worn out bathroom and a frumpy kitchen to chase a qualified buyer away. The first fast fix for the bathroom is to replace ugly, outdated faucets with more stylish fixtures, which will run anywhere from $200 to $600 installed. You don’t need to know anything about plumbing, to rollup your sleeves and re-grout old tile floors that have blackened out, and say, “don’t buy this house!” That’s a $200 fix. A more daring fix, but one that can certainly return the investment is to install bead board wainscoting over dated tile walls, which should run between $600 and $800.

Finally, moving on to the kitchen, paint dark oak cabinets a happy white and put some life into a dreary kitchen for $150 including paint and supplies. Then, replace old cabinet knobs and pulls with the updated look of stylish brushed nickel for anywhere from $50 to $100.  And, have stone tile installed right over those existing 1970s Formica countertops for $400 to $800.

The bottom line, for the outside, and inside spruce up is as little as $2,200. With a little energy, and creativity you can add thousands of dollars to your home’s selling price. Get out a pad, pencil and a calculator and buy some beauty on the cheap. Before your house sells for a lot less than it should.

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