Before you set off to repair and beautify your entire living space, you need to sit down and strategize for a moment. Your ideal goal is to do as little work, while spending the smallest amount of money, in order to get the biggest improvement in value. Now let’s talk about reality.
In reality, most of the really big home improvement projects aren’t very cost-effective. If the market is really hot and prices are going up every day, then you can drop $20,000 or more on a kitchen and recover your money. In a slow or declining market, you might not get your money back. The slower the housing market in your area, the more you want to focus on small cosmetic repairs.
The first place you need to look is your front yard. If your house doesn’t look good from the street then buyers will just pass you buy. Do not underestimate the value of curb appeal. Curb appeal will raise the value of your property quickly and inexpensively. The good news is that you need is a shrub or two, some flowers, and some mulch. If you can lift a shovel, you can do this work yourself and eliminate any labor costs.
The next area to focus on is paint. Give every painted surface in or on your house a fresh coat of paint. Again, this is an area where you can do the work and eliminate all labor costs. A trip to your local hardware store and $100 can add thousands of dollars of value to your old house.
Carpets are your next target. Many carpets can be saved by hiring a steam cleaning company. Save yourself some hassle and don’t rent a carpet cleaner. The rental steam cleaners are generally not as good as the commercial cleaners. Your goal is to save the carpet and make it look like new. Unless your carpet has holes in it, a few hundred dollars spent on cleaning can be worth thousands of resale dollars.
A note on smells, if your carpet has a dog or cat smell, or God forbid a urine smell, then you need to take care of that. The only people who buy smelly houses are investors. Investors buy smelly houses because they know they can get a lower priced offer accepted on a smelly house. This also applies to homes where one or more people smoke. If you live in a house with pets or smoke just assume your house smells. It doesn’t matter that you can’t smell anything, other people can and that smell will kill your resale value. There are a lot of commercially available products to eliminate or cover these odors. I have had a lot of success with a product called OdorXit, but there are a lot of worthwhile products in this niche. Your local Lowes will have a selection of products for you.
With a little bit of effort and a nominal cost, you can make your house look better than comparable houses. This will increase your value and make your house sell faster.