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Low-Cost Home Improvements

Little changes make a big difference when selling your home. Before renovating,≠ read some of these tips.

How to give your home a makeover without spending a lot of money

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the improvements that make the most difference are those that require the least time and expense. A small investment in sweat equity can have a big impact on how quickly your property sells and at what price.

In fact, one of the most basic ways to show off your home’s best assets is to make sure it's spotless. That means cleaning your house, trimming the lawn and creating the atmosphere that will give your home “sales appeal.” Sparkling clean houses sell faster than those that look too lived-in or show too much of the owner’s personality.

There are several cost-effective improvements that you can do yourself that will make a huge difference in terms of getting the highest price for your home.

Create Curb Appeal

First on the list is to increase your home's curb appeal. Make sure your house looks great from the moment your potential buyer first sees your home.

Remember: Buyers often make up their minds about a property within minutes. That’s why first impressions are so important. So, you'll want to make sure that the outside of your house is looking its best. 

Mow and edge the lawn, cut back or remove overgrown shrubs, and add plants or flowers to your front entrance to give the home a more inviting feel. Paint or pressure-wash the exterior, and replace missing or torn screens. Pretend you're the buyer: Take a good look at your home. What is your general impression? Clean? Neat? Well kept? If not, keep working!

De-personalize Your Home

Next, de-personalize the inside of your home by removing family photos and knick-knacks. This can be a difficult process for some homeowners; but, remember that you will need to pack up your belongings anyway when you move. Most people will see your home online first, so having excellent photos of your home is imperative to attract in-person buyers.

Since purchasing a property is largely an emotional decision, you want to make sure that you help the potential buyer feel at home. The idea here is to help the potential buyer visualize themselves living there.

Clean, Clean, Clean

In the kitchen, clear off the countertops. In the closets, thin out clothes and shoes to make it look airy and spacious. In the bathroom, put away toothbrushes and personal items. Everything should be cleaned thoroughly. There is no bigger turnoff than a messy home. Along with vacuuming and mopping, remove stains and odors from surfaces, floors, carpets and drapes. 

Washing all the windows and screens is another no-cost improvement that tends to be overlooked but can make a huge impression.

Prior to any showing, put any dishes away, make the beds, pick up any toys, clean out the closets and hide all personal items. Remember: Buyers will be comparing your property to others they see.

Top buyer turn-offs include pet odors, stained and soiled carpets, dark lighting, brightly colored walls, cluttered rooms and walkways, visible leaks, stained ceilings, and dirty bathrooms and kitchens.

Finally, keep in mind that the living room is usually the first room people see when they enter the home, so make sure it is inviting. Open the windows and blinds, turn on the lights and add some fresh flowers.

Update Fixtures and Decor

Often the smallest things make the biggest difference! Consider replacing door knobs and pulls for a do-it-yourself, low-cost update.

Don't forget the floors! A new rug in the kitchen, bath or living room can do wonders. 

Windows can look entirely fresh with a new window covering. Neutral colors work best.

Set the Mood

Finally, Locations REALTORS® recommend baking cookies or brownies, or brewing a fresh pot of coffee before showings to give your home a cozy, inviting feel.

It’s all part of setting the stage, creating a nice ambiance and increasing a home’s sales potential without spending too much.