Selling your home in the current market is difficult to say the least. You have to avoid costly blunders, and use every tip possible to so you can sell you home for top dollar. But what if you don’t have the cash you need to “spruce up” your home? What if you need to improve it on the cheap?
Paint The Place!
Paint is the cheapest and easiest way to improve the look of your home. Depending on the quality of paint you choose, you can spend an incredible amount of money on paint. Don’t. You can get a good quality paint for $20 per gallon and each gallon should cover from 300 to 400 square feet of wall. If you have typical eight foot walls, you can cover at least 38 lineal feet of wall space. Here’s a unique idea, don’t paint an entire room. Try painting one wall an accent color.
Cost: easily less than $100
Clear That Clutter!
Obviously you should clean and straighten up your home, but you should also eliminate knick knacks on your bookshelves, end tables and coffee tables. Clear the clutter from your night stand. Clear your kitchen counters. Put up all the makeup, cosmetics, toothbrushes, and bathroom things from the bathroom vanities. Clean out your shower and put up all the shampoo, conditioner, apricot scrub, loofah sponges, back scrubbers, and shower gels. Make a bold move and eliminate some of your furniture if you have some tight space in your home. If you have a small dining room, don’t keep 6 chairs around the table, reduce the number to 4…or even 2 if the table is small. Make sure your walls are cleared of clutter, too. Don’t hang too many pictures, especially personal pictures.
Cost: free, if you store things in your attic, basement, or at a relative’s home.
Wash Those Windows!
All you need is some soap and water. If you have very high windows, you can buy a window washing attachment and an extension pole for less than $50. You won’t regret it, instead you may find that you cannot believe how well you can see through them! While you’re at it, take down the screens and give them a thorough washing with some soap and a gentle scrub brush. Screens can accumulate dust and pollen and inhibit your vision. A good washing will make them look like new.
Cost: $50 or less!
Pamper Your Plants!
It’s easy to spend a LOT of money on landscaping. I could go to a local nursery in the spring and drop a huge amount of money on fertilizers, annuals, new pots, ornamental trees, and perennials. But you don’t need to do that to improve your home’s exterior appearance. A little liquid fertilizer, a few flats of colorful annuals and some ferns around the entry door will make your home appear wonderfully inviting. Sweep the entry and get a nice new “WELCOME” mat and you’ve spent far less than a hundred bucks.
Cost: less than $100
Clean The Carpet!
Renting a carpet cleaner and thoroughly cleaning the carpets once saved me well over $300 by helping me recover a deposit on a condo I was renting. Cleaning the carpet is an easy way to increase your home’s value if the carpets are soiled or dirty. Carpets that are unclean will automatically turn a buyer off.
Cost: less than $100
Fix The Fiascos!
Holes in the drywall should be patched and painted. Loose boards on the deck should be nailed down. Weeds should be pulled. Blinds should be dusted. Anything that screams, “REPAIR ME!” should be taken care of to the best of your ability. If you have zero handy person skills, ask a friend, or a friend’s parent for help. Offer to barter services by babysitting or washing their car! Go to a lumberyard or hardware store and ask for ideas and help with repairing your problem. If you find yourself needing some building materials, virtually every city has a “surplus” or “deeply discounted” building material supplier. These materials are perfect for inexpensive repairs. I have seen paneled doors for as low as $10. All they needed was a little paint. Carpet and sheet vinyl flooring for as low as 39 cents per square foot. Peel and stick vinyl squares for as low as 28 cents per square foot.
Cost: varies depending on what needs to be repaired, but you can drastically reduce the cost by searching for inexpensive materials and seeking help with the labor.
Dress Up The Doors
I have purchased a bright brass entry door handle set for less than $40 at one of the discount building materials dealers. You can also buy a magnetized kick plate for the entry door for less than $50. It is possible to change out your interior door knobs for as little as $10 per door, sometimes even less. The only tool you’ll need is a screwdriver.
Cost: less than $100
Transform The Tap!
You don’t have to have a boring kitchen faucet. A new kitchen tap will improve the look and appearance of your kitchen. Kitchen improvements are always positive.
Cost: less than $100 at many building materials retailers
And while we’re talking about the kitchen…
Hooray For Hardware!
Replacing your kitchen hardware, that is the knobs and pulls is an easy and cost effective way to dress up the kitchen. You have to be careful, though, these little knobs can get expensive so be a careful shopper and a shrewd negotiator. Ask about discontinued, overbought, or returned special order items to see if you can get a better deal.
Cost: it can be done for less than $100!
Caulk Those Cracks!
A couple of tubes of caulk and a caulk gun can go a long way to improving the energy efficiency of your home. Caulk the cracks around windows and doors, around exterior spigots, and other areas, pipes, or wires that come through the walls of your house. If you have a large gap to fill, check into using some expanding foam sealant. This product comes in a spray can with a straw-like nozzle that allows you to put the product right where you want it. There are two types: minimal expansion and maximum expansion. The minimal expansion foam swells just a little, about 1.5 times its size, but the maximum expansion foam can swell well over 4 or 5 times its original size (maybe more). Just a word of caution: be careful with the maximum expanding foam … long story.
Cost: one can of foam, 4 tubes of caulk, and a caulk gun are less than $30
Improving your home doesn’t have to result in a $50,000 home equity line of credit. You can get a lot of mileage from making small changes and doing them yourself.
Go ahead and give it a shot. You CAN do it!