In a competitive selling market, it’s vital to make sure you take advantage of any way to give your home an edge over the competition.
Many sellers make expensive home improvements in the hopes of attracting buyers. But, even if you’re on a budget, there are ways to boost curb appeal and increase the value of your home to make your home competitive in today’s seller’s market.
In today’s post, I’m going to cover eight low-cost upgrades you can make to your home today. We tried to keep all of the upgrades under $100 so that you can stick to your budget while still making a big difference in your home.
1. Paint the front door ($30)
One of the first things a potential buyer will notice about your home is the front door. Putting on a fresh coat of paint, especially one that pops and contrasts with the color of your home, will help to make it stand out on the block.
2. Paint your interior trim and baseboards ($75 - $100)
Baseboards often get dirty or scuffed up over the years. Putting a fresh coat of paint will make the entire room look like new. Stick with white for most rooms--it will brighten them up and make them feel clean.
3. Replace your outlet and light switch plates ($20)
They get dirty, they crack, and they get covered in messy paint every time you repaint your walls. Outlet and switch plates see a lot of wear and tear, and a dirty one can be off-putting for potential buyers.
For just a few dollars each or less, replace them all to give the rooms of your home a facelift.
4. Replace fixtures ($50 - $100)
Whether it’s the knobs of your kitchen cabinets or faucet fixtures, there are a number of small items in the kitchen and bathrooms that can be upgraded.
Stainless steel is now out of style, with homeowners choosing brushed nickel and bronze over the traditional stainless.
5. Choose a new shower head ($30 - $50)
Installing a shower head is a lot easier than it looks. Plus, luxurious looking shower heads can be purchased for less than $50 on Amazon, making them a great choice to add a touch of indulgence to the shower.
6. Add new bright, energy efficient lighting ($30 - $50)
Bright LEDs can make a room feel more spacious and modern, and it can save you a few dollars on the electric bill. Installing new lights throughout the home is a good way to show off what lies within.
7. Paint or replace your mailbox ($20 - $80)
Mailboxes can easily get dirty and dented over the years and most of us pay little mind to them. But prospective buyers likely will be on the lookout for any signs of neglect when they view your home. Having a freshly painted mailbox will leave a good first impression.
8. Rent a pressure washer for a day ($50 - $100)
Pressure washing the exterior of your home can make a huge difference when it comes to upgrading curb appeal. Vinyl siding gets dirty quickly and isn’t all that easy to clean.
You can rent a pressure washer from The Home Depot or your local hardware store for typically less than $100 a day.
If your decor is feeling blah and drab after updating to a new home and bringing all of your old furniture with you don’t start hauling it to the dump just yet! You don’t have to toss everything out and start over to get a fresh new look.
Instead, incorporating a new trend or two can instantly change the look and feel of any room.
Here are the current top trends according to Pinterest:
Spa bathroom - Creating a spa-like atmosphere is at the top of everyone’s wish list, or so it seems. Items like cedarwood bath “mats”, rebottling products into beautiful bottles, and hanging eucalyptus and lavender are being pinned like crazy. Classics like wicker baskets, rolling up towels for display and bathtub caddies are still making their rounds. These are a great way to mix timeless elements with trending ones for a bathroom look that transcends time or at least not for the next year or two.
Sage - The color sage has won its standing in the neutral category. Use this shade to add tints of color to an otherwise neutral to the point of a sterile room. Kitchen cabinets, bathroom walls, living room walls are all popular canvases for this popular shade. Keep the trend modern by pairing it up with light pinks, taupes, creams, and denim blues. If you aren’t ready to commit to a paint color bring it in with accents via throw pillows, jars, and even the plant itself!
Big wall art - Big wall art is in and in a big way. Quickly replacing gallery walls canvases that stretch from floor to ceiling or a good ⅔ of the wall big art is taking over Pinner’s boards by storm. Abstract pieces primarily in black and white seem to be the most popular when placed against a wall painted with a pop of color. However, don’t let this stop you from reach for a piece you love that is full of color! The key to this look is to avoid generic prints. If you’d like to make it personal blow up a more artistic shot from your wedding or have the kiddos make you a custom piece for a craft project.
Patterned plants - Greenery that comes in stripes, spots and varying shades are cropping up on Pinner’s boards everywhere. Plants bring life and freshness to a room so why not also make them pull their weight be adding visual interest to boot? Popular varieties are prayer plants, calathea, snake plants, philodendron, and pothos. Mix and match varieties to make a true statement.
Colorful doors - Goodbye boring white doors! Colors like school bus yellow, blush pink, bright and cobalt blue are popping up on Pinterest boards everywhere. Go bold with yellow. Create a welcoming sanctuary with lavender. Create a home, sweet home with blush pink. And welcome guests with open arms with cobalt blue.
When it comes to the marketability of your house, appearances are everything! If your house is up for sale or you have plans to put it on the market soon, there are a lot of details you need to attend to before prospects stop by.
Although it's difficult to make a lived-in house look immaculate all the time, the closer you can come to that high standard, the better! Whether they're actively looking for signs of cleanliness or just noticing it subconsciously, the overall condition of your home can and does make an indelible impression on prospective buyers.
The reason "curb appeal" is emphasized so strongly by real estate agents is that the initial impression you make on house hunters can impact the amount of time your property stays on the market. That's especially true in "drive by" situations in which prospects quickly check out your house from the street and make a snap judgement about whether or not they like what they see. If your house and yard look appealing to them, then they may follow up with either the listing agent or their buyers' agent. On the other hand, if there's peeling paint visible, an aging roof, or weeds growing out of cracks in the driveway, they'll probably drive on and continue their search elsewhere. As you can imagine, there's a lot riding on curb appeal, so it pays to keep your lawn looking manicured and other landscaping features well maintained.
Once prospects are inside your home, they're going to notice everything from scuffed walls and cluttered furniture to the smell of toast you burned that morning or greasy cooking odors. Pet odors can also be a major turnoff for many prospective buyers, especially if they're not dog or cat fans to begin with! A worst-case-scenario, of course, is to have a last-minute pet accident happen on the floor when prospects are touring the house. That's not just a hypothetical situation; it occurs more often than you might think. To prevent that potential "disaster," some home sellers make arrangements with friends, relatives, or pet daycare services to have their dogs or cats taken care of outside of the house when tours are scheduled. While that's not always practical or even possible, it can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on potential buyers.
The bottom line when it comes to effective home staging is that people are going to notice "the good, the bad, and the ugly." Your objective, of course, is to do everything possible to diminish the negatives and accentuate the positives. Your real estate agent can be an indispensable resource for providing you with the unvarnished truth about what needs to be repaired or cosmetically improved to present the best possible image of your home to the public.
An open house may prove to be exceedingly important, particularly for a buyer who plans ahead and makes the most of this opportunity. Because if a buyer enters an open house with a plan in hand, he or she can gain the necessary insights to determine whether to set up a home showing or consider other residences.
Now, let's take a look at three things that every buyer needs to know about open houses.
1. Open houses generally take place on weekends.
If you plan to pursue a home in the near future, you may want to keep your weekends open. That way, you can attend as many open houses as possible and boost the likelihood of discovering your ideal residence.
Most open houses are held on Saturdays and Sundays, and these events may begin late in the morning and end late in the afternoon. There is no requirement to attend an open house as soon as it begins. However, it is important to remember that the early bird catches the worm. And the sooner you attend an open house, the sooner you can determine whether a residence is right for you.
2. Each open house is designed to provide a stress-free experience.
During an open house, you can walk around a residence and explore all aspects of a home at your own pace. Meanwhile, a seller's real estate agent is present and can respond to your concerns or questions as well.
Oftentimes, it helps to craft a list of questions prior to an open house. This will enable you to receive immediate responses to your queries from a seller's real estate agent.
You also may want to carry a notepad and pencil with you as you walk through an open house. This will allow you to keep track of any notable home features or flaws, and ultimately, weigh the pros and cons of a residence.
3. An open house provides no guarantees.
There is no guarantee that you'll find your dream residence during the first open house you attend. In fact, you may need to attend dozens of open house events before you discover a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.
As a buyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance as you search for your ideal house. And if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can stay up to date about open house events for residences that correspond to your homebuying criteria.
A real estate agent is a property buying expert and will do everything possible to help you discover your dream house. In addition to keeping you informed about open house events, a real estate agent will set up home showings and offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you achieve the best-possible results during the property buying journey.
Hire a local real estate agent today, and you can take the first step to find and buy your dream house.
Buying a house may prove to be a long, complex journey, especially for a first-time homebuyer who decides to pursue a residence on his or her own. Fortunately, many real estate agents are available to help first-time homebuyers make their homeownership dreams come true.
Now, let's take a look at three tips that first-time homebuyers can use to find the right real estate agent in any housing market, at any time.
1. Go Beyond a Web Search
In many instances, it is easy to conduct a web search of real estate agents in a city or town. However, a diligent first-time homebuyer will know to look beyond a simple web search to discover the ideal real estate agent.
Take a look at a real estate agent's website. By doing so, a homebuyer can learn about a real estate agent's industry accomplishments and experience.
Also, don't hesitate to contact a real estate agent's office directly. This enables a homebuyer to have a brief conversation with a real estate agent and find out exactly what this housing market professional is all about.
2. Host a Face-to-Face Meeting
A face-to-face meeting may prove to be exceedingly valuable for both a first-time homebuyer and a real estate agent, and for good reason.
During a face-to-face meeting, a homebuyer can ask questions and learn about a real estate agent's industry expertise. Plus, a homebuyer can receive comprehensive insights into what it will take to acquire a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.
Meanwhile, a face-to-face meeting helps a real estate agent learn about a homebuyer's goals. A homebuyer can provide information about what he or she wants in a dream home, and a real estate agent can offer details about what a homebuyer should expect at each stage of the property buying journey.
3. Receive Client Referrals
Although a first-time homebuyer may feel comfortable with hiring a real estate agent after a face-to-face meeting, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Thus, a homebuyer who requests client referrals from a real estate agent ensures that he or she can make the best possible decision.
A real estate agent should have no trouble providing you with multiple client referrals. Then, you can reach out to this housing professional's past clients to find out how he or she has helped homebuyers achieve their desired results.
Spend some time reaching out to a real estate agent's past clients – you'll be happy you did. With additional client insights at your disposal, you can improve your chances of choosing the perfect real estate agent.
Lastly, it is important to remember that a real estate agent should be available to guide you along the homebuying journey. This housing market professional boasts in-depth industry experience, and as such, can share deep insights to help you make informed decisions as you go from homebuyer to homeowner.
Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can employ a first-rate real estate agent and gain unparalleled support throughout the homebuying cycle.