March 10th, 2012 10:59 AM by Eileen Denhard
If you have the bug to sell your home, you may want to grab a tool belt first. Why? In today's hyper-competitive real estate market, agents often tell their clients that it's a "price war and a beauty contest". So in addition to being the best priced home on the block, you need to be sure that your home also delivers a knock out first impression.
A terrific way to position your home to attract the maximum number of suitors is to provide buyers with a home that is in turn-key condition. A turn-key home is one that a buyer can move into without inheriting a list of unfinished projects. So what are the top 10 ways to increase your home's value? Let's take a look:
One of the fastest ways to make a better first impression with buyers is to paint the exterior of the home and, if needed, to replace the siding. A fresh coat of paint will freshen up the exterior and modernize the appearance. Just be sure to use colors that will appeal to the largest number of buyers (sherbet orange is probably not a good choice). To experiment with different colors and schemes, try using virtual painting programs available at many paint manufacturing websites like Benjamin Moore Paints
By replacing old windows and doors with stylish and efficient alternatives, you may be able to attract buyers who may otherwise pass on your home only because it is a little more mature than its competitors. Although the choices can seem endless, by carefully reviewing the homes that are actually selling, you should be able to narrow down your choices. Also be sure to keep your proof of purchase since the IRS is now providing up to a $1500 tax credit for windows and doors installed before the end of 2010.
Investing in new sod, bark, rock, shrubbery, and trees can turn a tired looking front yard into an inviting space literally overnight. If you don't have a green thumb, check out landscaping.com for ideas. In addition, consider how your home looks after dark when many buyers are still cruising the streets. Installing new lighting fixtures can both enhance the home's ambiance at night and modernize the exterior during the daylight hours. For hundreds of ideas visit LightingDirect.
Your home's floors need to be clean, modern, and stylish. They should tie the home together and flow seamlessly from one room to the next. So how can you be sure you don't pick a carpet or floor covering that buyers will hate? Ask for advice from flooring experts like Shaw and become an open house junkie.
If your kitchen needs a face lift, consider updating the cabinets and countertops as well as the plumbing fixtures. However keep in mind that your home only has to be comparable to your neighbors' homes - it doesn't necessarily have to surpass them. For instance, purchasing granite counters may not impress value shoppers and may turn them off if they believe they will have to pay more for the home because of the higher cost. Want ideas on kitchen designs that will impress a buyer? Check out HGTV for inspiration.
Let's face it, we all spend a lot of time in the bathroom. So it's no wonder buyers want their new bathrooms to be user friendly. New toilets, tubs, and cabinetry can be a big investment, but small projects like cleaning or replacing tile grout, re-caulking, and repainting can make old bathrooms sparkle. Pay special attention to the little things like chipped sinks and tubs, exhaust fans that may need cleaning, and dated light fixtures. For ideas and design tips visit KitchenBathIdeas.
If swag lamps are still hanging in your living room, it may be time to update your home's lighting scheme. A well lit home can accent the best features of each room and provide buyers with a classic case of the warm and fuzzies. For instance, under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen can show off a unique view of the counters, while canned lighting in the living room can be used to highlight décor and design elements that might be missed otherwise.
Look inside almost any model home and you will quickly find that white is out and color is in. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean you can grab the nearest color wheel and paint brush and go to town. Colors still need to match each other and blend in with the décor of the home. Try to use accent walls to punch up the impact of your colors and visit local design centers for more ideas.
To ensure that you receive top dollar for your home and avoid a deal breaking inspection report, now may be the time to get these areas of your home in order. Lenders often want to know that a roof will last at least another 3-5 years and that the foundation is keeping the entire home off the ground without any apparent failures.
The least expensive thing any seller can do before marketing their home is perform a deep cleaning of every surface in the home. A bucket, some soap and water, and a few rags can transform nearly any home into a show-ready model home. But don't skimp. You need to dig in and get dirty, and yes, that means you have to clean under the stove and refrigerator. Not sure how to start? Visit The Housekeeping Channel for guidance.
Overwhelmed? Don't be. Pick one or two items on this list that fits your budget and jump in. Work your way down the list, and you will know that you have made every attempt to put your home in the best position possible to impress a buyer.