Low Cost Home Improvements That Add Value and Sell Your House Quicker

Whether you are thinking of selling your home or just wanting to improve it, when money is so tight, it is a good idea to spend wisely to hopefully increase the value of your home. Improving the right areas of your home makes it more attractive to prospective buyers and saves you making costly mistakes. Even though you are on a budget you first need to look at other similar homes in your area to see ‘the competition’. With a critical eye, work out where you house falls short of the competition. If it helps, ask a friend, one who will be honest with you, so they can give an independent opinion.

You should have a list of what your competition has and what areas around the house your home needs to make improvement. Now it’s time to take action.

Before you even get the DIY tools out… declutter. Time spent here can be your biggest and best home improvement investment.

When people buy a house they are wanting to see light and airy properties, they are buying space, so give them space. Tidy up, throw things away you don’t use, and store what’s left properly.

Nothing puts viewers off more, than a mess. Don’t just take my word for it. An ING Direct survey (Aug 2012) found that 41% of prospective buyers would put in a lower offer, if the house they were viewing had untidy kids bedrooms. What you want to do is show off each room to its best and you can’t do this if there’s too much clutter everywhere. They want to see how the property’s space can work for them, with their own stuff. If they see it not working for you, ie not enough living space and not enough storage space, then it will be a turn off.

First Impressions
First impressions count, so you should consider the ‘curb appeal’ of your property. It might seem ‘corny’ but adding hanging baskets or even window boxes improves the appearance of a house and gives the impression of it being cared for.

Hall & Living Room
Consider how people view a property. The Hall and Living room are usually what people see first, so these rooms should be welcoming and create a good impression. Some simple home interior decorating can make the hall feel inviting, light and bright. Add pictures and an interesting mirror to reflect some light.

Worn out seating? You don’t need to buy new ones you just need to recover the old ones, or use throws in neutral colours with colour statemented cushions which all goes to improve the look for a lounge. Check the storage in a living room. If the kids use it as a play room then make sure there’s a storage box to keep everything tidy when they aren’t there. Put some sets of shelves up, perhaps in an alcove area.

Kitchen & Bathroom
The other most looked at rooms are the kitchen and bathroom. In the kitchen food is prepared and perhaps a place for entertaining so it should be giving the impression of being clean. The bathroom should have a relaxing feel and give the impression that you would be happy to unwind there in a relaxing bath.

When viewings take place people want to see at least a standard well maintained bathroom suite, so replace any discoloured bathroom fittings like a toilet bowl.

Where there is a garden but it’s either unkept or paved, consider some landscaping. It doesn’t need to be over the top and you don’t need to spend a fortune at the garden centre, but just bring it up to the standard of what would be considered the norm for the area.

OK so you’ve seen all the property makeover shows where they make neutral coloured interiors. It’s for a reason. Outdated or highly personal décor can put buyers off, so get rid of the purple walls, please. The ING Direct survey found that 1 in 6 buyers would be put off by ‘clashing’ colour schemes.

Standard of maintenance
If there’s something that needs fixing, then get it fixed. You might have lived with it, but what will buyers think? I’ll tell you, they will probably think “Oh look this is broken, cracked or flaky paint, what else is unkept or badly maintained?” If there’s a list of things that need doing and you don’t get them fixed, then at best expect offers to come in lower than you had hoped, or at worst expect far fewer offers and longer for them to be made. People want to move in straight away and perhaps make their own mark by painting a wall purple but at least they know everywhere is clean and well kept and it only needs a lick of paint to make it their home.

Home Improvement New Year’s Resolutions

Every New Year we all make a number of resolutions to improve ourselves. These include the standard “lose weight, get a better job, be a better parent,” character-changing resolutions. Although they often can be life changing, they also very often are left incomplete. This year, why not be a little more pragmatic and make some New Year’s resolutions to better our homes?

Our homes are the places that we spend most our time in; in the end making some big changes within the house could actually lead to some personal life-style alterations. So, without further adieu, here is a list of potential New Year’s home improvement resolutions for you to make:

Make Your Home Eco-Friendly: It’s not just about jumping on the environmental ‘green-craze.’ Making your home more eco-friendly not only helps the environment around us but also can save you a bundle of money. There are a number of ways, small and big, to retro-fit your home to be green. A small and easy change is switching all your standard light bulbs out for longer lasting compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. These bulbs are environmentally friendly and also can save a homeowner around $50 per bulb throughout their lifetime. Another small change that can make big difference is installing a few low cost solar panels for outdoor lighting.

For those with homes in cold weather climates, a big eco-friendly change might involve retrofitting your house for better insulation, which will save you a ton in energy and heating bills in the long run. For those in warmer climates that are constantly maintaining and watering their lawn: an artificial lawn can look just as good but save water and maintenance bills.

Designate an Exercise Room: We all have a room in our house for relaxation – a couch potato heaven that has the big screen TV, plush arm chair, and table to kick your feet up on. That’s all swell, but what about when you need to get some physical activitiy? It’s often difficult to build up the motivation to keep up with a gym membership – we’re always making excuses like ‘the gym is too far,’ and ‘I’m too tired before or after work.’

It’s time to throw out those excuses and designate one room in your house as an ‘exercise room.’ It could be a simple modification to another room by adding just one machines like a treadmill, Stairmaster, or Bowflex. Or maybe it could be an entire retrofit of a room by adding mats for aerobics or yoga as well as a set of weights for strength training. Either way, simply calling a room in your home ‘an exercise room’ can often be enough motivation to get you off the couch and into a physical workout.

Get Rid of Your Junk, Finally: We also all have rooms in our homes that are filled with useless clutter and junk. For many of us this room is the basement or garage, which serves as the graveyards for old boxes of toys, broken down appliances and torn up pieces of furniture. Not only does this junk take up unnecessary room within your home that could be put to better use, but it also takes up room in your head – leading to elevated stress that could be avoided with a thorough hauling project.