No matter how much you love your family home, at some point you may outgrow it, decide you want to upgrade, or move away. These things happen. However, it’s all too easy to overlook certain flaws when you live in a house day in and day out.
Unfortunately, buyers are bound to notice every crack, chip, and outdated finish. Although you probably aren’t keen on undertaking massive renovations before you sell, you should think about implementing a few cheap and easy fixes first to get the most value. Here are a few changes that could increase the value of your home with little time and expense.
1. Knock Out a Wall
Open floor plans aren’t exactly a new idea at this point, but that doesn’t mean buyers aren’t still enamored of the entertaining opportunities presented by open space between the kitchen, dining room, and living room areas. Plus, parents love open sight lines that allow them to watch tykes playing in the living room while adults cook.
If your home is older and it has yet to undergo significant renovations, there’s a chance the kitchen is closed off from other family areas or entertaining space. This is a problem that can be rectified with surprising ease.
Of course, most homeowners aren’t terribly comfortable with the idea of putting a sledgehammer through a wall. If you’re not familiar with construction, you should probably hire some professional help to ensure that you don’t attack a load-bearing wall (compromising the structural integrity of your house) or hit an electrical junction box by accident.
The good news is that a contractor shouldn’t charge too much to remove a wall and patch up the remaining framework, provided you don’t encounter any problems along the way and you don’t plan to take out a load-bearing wall.
2. Kitchen Updates
Okay, so a kitchen renovation is neither cheap nor easy, but we’re not talking about a wholesale gutting here. If your cabinets and countertops are in good shape and relatively modern, you can leave the most expensive parts of kitchen renovation exactly as they are, or think about slapping a coat of paint or some new veneers on cabinets for less expense.
What you should focus on is the accents. A few strategic fixture replacements could make a slightly outdated kitchen look like brand new. Look at replacing faucets, for example, to update metal finishes that have gone out of style.
You could also put in a new backsplash with trending (or neutral) colors, or you could think about upgrading lighting fixtures, especially if all you’ve got is one of those horrific, fluorescent boxes. New recessed cans on a dimmer switch and a few artsy pendants over the bar could change the atmosphere of your kitchen to make it a lot more modern, attractive, and inviting.
3. Bathroom Cosmetics
No, we’re not talking about the creams and powders you put on your face – we’re talking about giving your bathrooms a little facelift. After the kitchen, your bathrooms, and especially the master bath, tend to show the greatest return on investment.
While you might not have the budget for full upgrades, you can definitely do a lot with just a few minor fixes. You can get a ton of bang for your buck by updating tile flooring and wall areas, and there are so many good faux stone products nowadays that you can engineer a rich look without spending a ton of money. If it’s still too expensive, consider just re-grouting and replacing cracked or chipped tiles.
You might also paint or reface cabinets, update fixtures and hardware, steam clean the tub and tiles, or even install a new tub liner to cover an unsightly tub at little cost.
4. Add a Bedroom
The technical specs on what is considered a bedroom and what is not can foul up your listing. If you have a “bonus” room that isn’t considered a bedroom because it lacks a closet, for goodness sake, hire a contractor to install a closet!
For $1,000-$2,000 you could bump your asking price by ten times as much (depending on the value per square foot of space). It’s worth the small investment to ensure you’re not penalized for lack of a closet.
5. Curb Appeal
Attending to curb appeal won’t necessarily add monetary value to your property, but making a good first impression can set the tone for interested buyers viewing your home for the first time. Think about painting the façade, updating hardware (house numbers, mail box, light fixture), adding some potted flowers, greening up the lawn, and keeping your yard neat.
With minimal expense you can make your home attractive and inviting from the moment prospective buyers first see it, potentially speeding the sale process. This is a value you shouldn’t underestimate, even if it doesn’t necessarily net you more money.