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SELL YOUR HOUSE: Home Improvement Tips

If you are looking to sell your home, you might be thinking that home improvements need to be done to help increase the sale price. If your house has no major structural problems, like a leaky roof or foundation repairs, then the most important concerns are minor home repairs, such as painting and re-decorating. But before you put up that "For Sale" sign, there are other areas of your home that will need attention. Some of the most important aspects of your home to consider before selling are the condition of your home, replacing worn-out or broken appliances and furniture, getting rid of accumulated junk and improving the appearance of the yard.

Why Do It?
Homeowners spent an estimated $233 billion on remodeling in 2003 in the U.S. Many real estate companies advise home sellers that painting, wallpaper work and modest landscape development are the most profitable investments one can make. Major projects, like a new roof, patio or deck, or other home upgrades are time-consuming and may not increase the market value of your home. Renovating your home need not be overly stressful as long as you make detailed plans and follow through with them.

From the bathroom to the living room to the kitchen, fresh paint on the walls could be just what you need to improve the style and decor of your home. Painting is an easy do-it-yourself project. Depending on how much painting you want to do, painting should only take a few days and will completely change the look of the room. Most interior decorators will tell you that light or neutral hues are the best colors to choose when selling your home as homebuyers can then notice the potential of the space. In addition, lighter shades create the illusion of more space and more light in the room. You can check out our section on house painting for more painting information and techniques.

If you decide you want to wallpaper certain rooms in your house, you will need to measure the length and width of the room, pick out color samples and decide how much wallpaper you will require for the job. And save that left over wallpaper! You can use it again if the wallpaper ever gets damaged for spot repairs. If your wallpaper is already damaged, then you might want to consider covering the damaged area rather than wallpaper the entire wall all over again.

Replacing Worn-out Furniture, Broken Appliances and Useless Junk
If you have lived in your home for a long time or live in an older home, chances are you have a few appliances that are barely functioning or stopped working a long time ago. This is your chance to get rid of them once and for all.

Start by going through all the rooms in your house and making a list of what appliances no longer work and what might be salvaged. Once you have done that, you will need to decide what you are going to do with any broken or worn-out dishwashers, ovens, microwaves, etc. Some may require just a minor repair to get them going again while others you may not want to shell out the cash for. Consider donating any unwanted appliances to your local Goodwill, a Habitat for Humanity Reuse store or find out how your county or township disposes of these appliances.

Old clothes, toys, books and furniture may be holed up in the attic or basement and are probably collecting dust and mildew. As this constitutes another do it yourself project, you might want to enlist a larger group of family and friends to help out with all the heavy lifting that this job will entail. Again, consider donating any unwanted items to a local charity.

Bathroom and Kitchen Remodeling
Often the kitchen and bathroom get the most attention from prospective homebuyers, as these are high-traffic areas especially in larger families. You will need to decide if these rooms are in serious need of an upgrade, if they could use new sinks or faucets or if simple re-decorating is sufficient. If you do decide to go ahead with remodeling, you should keep several factors in mind:


  • Consider whether this is something you are capable of handling yourself or if you should hire a professional in order to get the job done sooner. If you decide to hire a professional, remember to do your research and ask for several references upon meeting with a laborer.
  • If you are remodeling the kitchen, think about setting up a temporary kitchen for your family to minimize stress and allow for family time.
  • Remember that remodeling can take longer than expected; so give yourself plenty of time to finish all projects before the sell date of your house.
  • If you have children you should make sure there are no sharp objects or hazards lying around for them to find during any remodeling projects.


Improving the Appearance of the Yard
The first thing homebuyers will see when they visit your home is the front yard and entrance. Therefore, it is important to make your yard as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Before your house goes on the market, make sure you have mowed the lawn, trimmed the shrubs or bushes, re-painted any old fences and cleaned the gutters. You want people to remember your home and admire your home maintenance, so you may want to consider replacing the front door or re-painting the door. If the paint on your house is peeling away, you may even need to re-paint your house. These are all important aspects to consider when you want to make a lasting favorable impression.

Last but not least, you want your house to be sparkling clean and smelling good when people first enter the door. Hopefully all old junk has been cleared away and any mold or mildew problems eliminated. If you have a pet or are a smoker, you may want to get your carpets deep-cleaned and curtains dry-cleaned. You should have an objective person come in to tell you honestly if there is any bad smells in the house.

If people perceive your home as clean and spacious and in an affordable price range they will definitely consider you in their home-buying decision. Do it yourself home repair, upgrading and remodeling should not be traumatic or the source of a great deal of tension and anger if sufficient plans are made in sufficient time.