Dress Your House For Success

For a long time it’s appeared to me that large expenditures on renovation or remodeling were kind of unnecessary when getting one’s place ready to sell. It came as no surprise to me then when I saw Forbes Magazine run a segment on the 20 best and worst home improvements for the buck and almost all of the “best” in that story were simple, basic things that make nothing but sense.

Of the 10 best suggestions, according to Forbes, here’s my favorites:

1. Clean up the house.

Give your home a top-to-bottom cleaning or, better yet, hire a pro to do a deep clean. Do it even before you hiring a real estate agent. If you don’t have a regular cleaner, hire one to keep the place tidy until your house is sold.

2. Simple repairs.

It is well worth the modest cost to fix broken outlets, tiles, light switches, door latches, folding doors and ceiling fans. Buyers view such flaws as signs of deeper problems–and may lower their bids accordingly.

3. Eliminate clutter.

A 10-foot-by-10-foot locker at Public Storage or one of its competitors is likely to cost you less than your phone and cable bills. Move out unneeded dishes, linens, personal items and furniture. Try to empty closets. Your house will appear bigger and more valuable.

4. Paint your house.

This can actually be a do it yourself thing to save money. If the paint on the front of your house is peeling, scrape it and repaint. Indoors, cover up any blemishes and repaint any rooms in loud colors that may be off-putting to others.

5. Clean up the yard.

No need to break the bank here. Mow the lawn, weed the flower beds and pull any dying bushes. Plant flowers in bare spots.

6. Replace hardware.

It’s a mistake to replace the kitchen cabinets or closet doors. But you can convince buyers to pay a little more by installing new handles, knobs and drawer pulls where needed.

7. Replace old appliances.

A new stainless steel range will not prompt buyers to pay much more for your home. But a seriously bedraggled stove or refrigerator could scare them off. If you’ve got a junky-looking appliance, swap it out for a budget-minded replacement.

All of this makes total sense to me. Interestingly, Forbes is not gung ho about the idea of large remodeling projects or room additions to maximize value prior to a sale. They think, and I agree, that a wise use of your funds can and will bring you the biggest bang for your buck. I would go slightly further and suggest the use of a good professional stager for preparation of the home as well. Intelligent planning and decorating will really assist you in getting top dollar when the time comes.