Figure 1 - The perfect fixer-upper
If you decide on selling it as a fixer upper, you will get a low price and you need not read any further. If however, you want potential buyers to view it as the charming bungalow and get a higher price – then read on.
There are many small things, some are home improvements that can be accomplished by anyone who can undertake event the smallest diy project that can be done to your property to increase its selling value and determine how potential buyers will perceive it.
Remember, that it is that instantaneous first impression that will determine how your property is viewed!
Outside Your Home:
- The obvious items, with respect to the outside of your home, are to ensure that when the potential buyer first approaches your property it is tidy (lawn mowers and garden tools put away, children’s toys and bicycles not lying on the grass), lawns are neatly manicured, and bushes and shrubs are reasonably trimmed. Windows should be clean and sparkle, brass doorknobs, locks, and handles should glisten. Spider webs should not be attached to outdoor light fixtures or doorframes.
- If the paint is peeling and/or dirty, a fresh coat of paint will go along way to upgrade the image of the home. If you have siding or a garage door and it is dirty, you can rent a power washer and clean the grime off in an afternoon. You can also use the power washer on decks and patios to remove dirt.
- Small items can really standout. Holes in walls where pipes currently or used to enter or exit should be caulked. Window and doorframes where they abut siding or brick should also be caulked. If the home has window wells make sure that any debris, such as leaves and grass cuttings have been removed.
- Stair and deck railings should be tight and not wobble.
- Clean bird droppings from outdoor furniture and air conditioner condensers.
- If you have a pet that uses the outdoors as their washroom, make sure that any and all evidence has been removed.
- All outdoor light fixtures should be complete, replacement globes can be purchased at the big box home improvement centers and ensure that light bulbs are not burnt out. Replace any broken outdoor receptacle covers.
- Besides, the positive visual affect of doing the aforementioned projects you will also leave the prospective buyers with the feeling that the property has been well looked after an important aspect when buyer's start to consider how much to offer for the home.
Inside Your Home:
- The inside of the home should look clean and tidy. A fresh coat of paint in neutral colors is of great value and one of the largest negatives are deep colors especially in bedrooms. Make closets look big by removing any clutter, they should appear as if they have plenty of space available.
- Tip: It may be advantageous to rent a room or bay at a local storage facility to remove excess clutter from your home and hence make the house look bigger.
- A small kitchen looks even smaller if the countertops are cluttered with dishes, small appliances, spice racks and knife blocks.
Figure 2 - Cluttered kitchen
Figure 3 - Uncluttered kitchen
- If the home has carpets, it is worth the rental cost of a steam cleaner to freshen them and remove any stains. If the carpets are worn it might be worth removing them, depending on what type of flooring is being covered or if necessary replacing them. New carpeting, even if it is inexpensive with a relatively short life will enhance the value of the home over excessively dirty and/or worn carpeting.
- No one is prepared to replace kitchen cabinets in an attempt to get more money for their home. However, depending on the type of cabinets, cleaning and adding a coat of polyurethane to wood or wood veneer cabinet doors can make them look like new. Replacing outdated hinges, and doorknobs will enhance the appearance of the cabinets.
- Replacing cracked caulking around countertops in kitchens and countertops and bathtubs in bathrooms will definitely be worth the effort.
- Faucets in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry should not be dripping – replace any washers necessary. Black stains, representing mold, in bathrooms must be removed. There are numerous mold removal chemicals on the market that will remove the mold, although none of them will stop the mold from coming back! That is a completely different problem.
- Make sure that all light fixtures have a working lamp and all globes are intact. Ceiling fans should be cleaned with special attention to the blades. If a ceiling fan wobbles or does not work it is better to remove it and cap off the outlet then to leave it installed. Clean all window coverings including valances.
- Ensure that all door bumpers that prevent doorknobs from hitting walls are functioning.
- If you have litter boxes for pets, they must be clean and their location must smell pleasant. Use deodorizers to remove musty smells from basements, and laundry rooms.
Stand back and look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. Be honest with yourself, it’s your money. If you have concerns, correct them as best you can. The items that I have addressed may be labor intensive, but materials and parts in most cases are inexpensive. A little sweat will yield big dividends in your selling price.