While homeowners are currently enjoying an incredibly strong seller’s market, that doesn’t mean your home is guaranteed to sell. If you’re having trouble moving a listing or need to sell your home fast and you’re tired of all the old advice, don’t fret! We spoke to the experts and did some digging and found a variety of unique and easy upgrades that can give your home a fresh look without breaking the bank.
Step Up Your Curb Appeal
Yeah, yeah – you’ve heard it too many times, but curb appeal is paramount in selling a home. When people walk up to your house, their first impression is often the one that sticks. If you wow them before they enter the door, buyers may be more forgiving about an unfinished basement or a rough backyard. Here are a few upgrades that can be a shot in the arm for your curb appeal:
Spruce up your house number.
House numbers are often one of the very first parts of your home prospective buyers see. “The numbers on your mailbox and front door have more of an impact than you think on the overall visual appeal of your home,” said Laura Simis of Defense Pest Control, one of the best reviewed Pest Control companies in Arizona.
When buyers are driving up and down a street hunting for a house number, a shiny new display is much more appealing than faded digits painted on the curb. The best part is that new numbers are inexpensive and relatively easy to install.
Convert that patch of dead lawn into a garden.
It may be difficult to revive a lawn or do serious landscaping when you’re busy trying to sell your home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t update your yard; it just means you’ll need to get a little creative. If you have a large patch of bare dirt or dead lawn, a garden is a perfect solution.
While resodding a small patch of dirt can be a pain, for less than $100 you can till in some topsoil and plant a few flowers, turning a drab eyesore into a cute flower garden. And because any landscaping improvement increases your curb appeal, a garden is likely to increase your property value.
For larger areas, you can build a few garden boxes and cover the surrounding area with bark dust. With a small amount of lumber, topsoil, and bark, you can quickly add great utility to an ugly part of your yard.10-12 bags of this Miracle Gro would cover a great 6×6’ garden or you check local nurseries for cheaper topsoil.
You can order premade garden boxes online, but you can build your own for just the cost of 8 2x4s and some screws.Bark dust is easy to find, but local nurseries will typically offer the best price.
Update your garage door.
While no one buys a home based on the garage door, as a large part of most home facades it plays a huge role in first impressions. And unlike other parts of your home’s profile (say, walls) that are expensive and difficult to update, a garage door is a relatively easy change.
“A garage door replacement can be a simple project, and it is one of the best ways to improve your home’s resale value,” said Connor Roberson of A Plus Garage Doors, a 30-year veteran in the garage door industry. Indeed, a garage door replacement has one of the highest ROI of any home improvement project and can help set you apart from other homes on the block.
Most new garage doors range anywhere from $500-1,000 and come in just about any variety you can imagine.
Touch up your doors.
If your first impression on buyers is a dirty screen door or a front door with paint flecking off, they’re going to immediately wonder about the rest of the house – if this is how you treat the most visible part of your house, what do the other parts look like?
Your front door and porch/patio should sport a fresh coat of paint or at the very least should be cleaned up – dirt from hoses, wind, or rain can easily accumulate on doors. This goes for screen doors as well; simply detaching and hosing off your screen door can make a big difference.
Refresh and reseal your driveway.
No one will notice a spotless driveway, but a driveway full of holes and cracks sticks out like a sore thumb. Huge cracks may be difficult to replace, but smaller cracks can easily be patched.
What’s more, resealing your driveway is always a fairly cheap and quick option and looks great on a listing. Another great project is simply cleaning up your driveway with a power washer. And if you want to take the DIY option, the only thing more satisfying than power washing a driveway is driving a Zamboni.
You can patch a concrete driveway with regular premixed concrete or opt for a concrete patch – either option is cheap.
Make Your Home More Green Friendly
One of the more appealing details you can add to a listing is energy efficiency. Everyone loves a low power bill and if you can advertise a home designed to save, you can easily add value to your home. But you don’t need to retrofit your windows or buy a new air conditioner in order to increase your home’s energy efficiency.
Update attic insulation to save on heating.
By some measures, upgrading your attic’s insulation has the highest return on investment of any home improvement project – offering a 107% average return on investment.
Homes lose most of their heat through the attic, meaning that a new insulation can greatly improve cost efficiency when heating your home. Being able to advertise newly installed attic insulation is just the cherry on top.
Attic insulation costs around $1,300 to have installed professionally and you can save a few hundred on labor by installing it yourself.
Check your seals for costly leaks.
Properly sealing windows and doors can save you as much as 10-15 percent on your energy bill. And the best part is it only takes a few hours.
Normal caulk only lasts a few years before it starts to crack and peel, so check around the perimeter of your home for any areas that could use a touch-up. White fresh caulk may not wow your buyers, it gives the listing agent a solid talking point when discussing your home’s energy efficiency.
You can pick up both a caulk gun and some caulk for around $10.
Add ceiling fans to reduce energy use.
While a ceiling fan can be a bit of a larger project, they’re always a welcome feature. Just ask anyone who has found sweet relief sleeping underneath one on a hot summer night.
What’s more, ceiling fans circulate and cool air, letting you turn up your thermostat as much as four degrees without noticing. Ceiling fans take a bit of work to install, but they can make rooms comfortable year round.
Lightning Quick Improvements
If these projects are still too daunting and time-consuming, don’t worry. There are still a few extremely quick improvements you can do in an afternoon or the morning before an open house that can help your home sale along.
Update your doorknobs to impress.
This will probably be the first part of your home that buyers touch, so a brand new doorknob is likely to be noticed. And while a front door replacement has a decent ROI, a doorknob is a much cheaper way to give your door a fresh look.
But don’t stop at the front door! Go ahead and replace any flimsy interior knobs as well and make sure they all match. Replacing all the knobs in your home can add up, but they can make the room feel like it’s just been completed renovated.
Here are a variety of knobs – just make sure whatever color you choose matches the paint color throughout your home.
Upgrade your power outlets for convenience.
This one really is as simple as they come – outlets with USB plugins are inexpensive and easy to substitute for your old outlets. A clean faceplate is just an added bonus. Make sure to focus on visible outlets like in the kitchen so that people are sure to notice your fashion-forward update!
Check out these simple offerings on a variety of receptacles.
Add motion sensors for peace of mind.
Motion sensor or motion sensor lights are a great way to quickly add security features to your home. “Motion sensors are one of those things that bring a sense of security just by being there,” said Jonathan Johnson of YourLocalSecurity, an ADT Security provider specializing in home automation.
“A strategically placed sensor at the front and back door reassures buyers that the home will deter burglars.” And the best part is they don’t need to be hooked up to a security system – heck, solar powered motion lights don’t require any wiring at all.
Here are some of the best motion sensor lights currently on the market.
Make sure light bulbs are the proper brightness.
You may not realize it, but you could very well be using the wrong light bulbs throughout your house. Whether they’re too bright or too dim, the wrong bulbs can give the wrong first impression of your home by either lighting it too harshly or making it look drab.
Step up storage with more shelves.
This may seem silly, but shelves can go a long way. Putting additional shelves in a closet can add a great deal of utility and little things like a spice rack in the pantry can help buyers picture themselves filling those shelves with their stuff.
You can find shelving at any home supply store and another great place to start is The Container Store.
It’s Never Too Early to Start
Whether it takes an afternoon or a weekend, these home improvements should help sell your home quickly. Remember, it doesn’t always take a work crew and blueprints to spruce up your home – sometimes it’s as simple as swapping out power outlets or caulking a few windows.