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6 worth-the-price fix-ups

 

Simple and affordable do-it-yourself projects can greatly increase a home's resale value, according to HomeGain's annual home improvement and staging survey.

The marketing company surveyed nearly 600 real estate professionals to discover which DIY home improvement projects give sellers the biggest return for their buck. Here are six projects under $1,000 (amounts are estimated) that made the list.



1. Cleaning and decluttering. Remove any personal items, unclutter countertops, organize closets and shelves, and make the home sparkling clean.

$290 Cost

$1,990 Return



2. Brightening. Clean all windows inside and out, replace old curtains, update lighting fixtures, and remove anything that blocks light from the windows.

$375 Cost

$1,550 Return



3. Smart staging. Rearrange furniture, bring in new accessories and furnishings to enhance rooms, incorporate artwork, and play soft music in the background.

$550 Cost

$2,194 Return



4. Landscaping enhancements. Punch up the home’s curb appeal in the front and back yards by adding bark mulch, bushes, and flowers and ensuring current plants and grass are well-cared for and manicured.

$540 Cost

$1,932 return



5. Repairing electrical or plumbing. Fix leaks under the sinks, remove any mildew stains, and ensure all plumbing is in good working condition. Update the home’s electrical with new wiring for modern appliances, fix any lights or outlets that don’t work, and replace old plug points with new safety fixtures.

$535 Cost

$1,505 Return



6. Replacing or shampooing dirty carpets. Steam-clean carpets, replace any worn carpets, and repair any floor creaks.

$647 Cost

$1,739 Return



 

 






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Low-cost ways to spruce up your home's exterior

 

Make your home more appealing for yourself and potential buyers with these quick and easy tips:

1. Trim bushes so they don’t block windows or architectural details.

2.
Mow your lawn, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before the showing to make the lawn sparkle.

3.
Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.

4. Install new doorknobs on your front door.

5.
Repair any cracks in the driveway.

6.
Edge the grass around walkways and trees.

7.
Keep your garden tools and hoses out of sight.

8. Clear toys from the lawn.

9.
Buy a new mailbox.

10.
Upgrade your outside lighting.

11. Buy a new doormat for the outside of your front door.

12.
Clean your windows, inside and outside.

13.
Polish or replace your house numbers.

14.
Place a seasonal wreath on your door.

 

 

Beautiful house

 


House

8 Quick Fixes to Increase Value

 

To attract buyers, sellers must up the ante to convince them that their property offers what many want most — top value for dollar expended. Here are eight fast fixes:

1. Buff up curb appeal. You’ve heard it before, but it’s critical to get buyers to want to look on the inside. Be objective. View listings from the street. Check the condition of the landscaping, paint, roof, shutters, front door, knocker, windows, house number, and even how window treatments look from the outside. Add something special — such as big flower pots or an antique bench — to help viewers remember house A from B.

2. Enrich with color. Paint’s cheap, but forget the adage that it must be white or neutral. Just don’t let sellers get too avant-garde with jarring pinks, oranges, and purples. Recommend soft colors that say “welcome,” lead the eye from room to room, and flatter skin tones. Think soft yellows and pale greens. Tint ceilings a lighter shade.

3. Upgrade the kitchen and bathroom. These make-or-break rooms can spur a sale. But besides making each squeaky clean and clutter-free, update the pulls, sinks, and faucets. In a kitchen, add one cool appliance, such as an espresso maker. In the bathroom, hang a flat-screen TV to mimic a hotel. Room service, anyone?

4. Add old-world patina. Make Andrea Palladio proud. Install crown molding at least six to nine inches in depth, proportional to the room’s size, and architecturally compatible. For ceilings nine feet high or higher, add dentil detailing, small tooth-shaped blocks used as a repeating ornament. It’s all in the details, after all.

5. Screen hardwood floors. Buyers favor wood over carpet, but refinishing is costly and time-consuming. Screening cuts dust, time, and expense. What it entails: a light sanding, not a full stripping of color or polyurethane, then a coat of finish.

6. Clean out, organize closets. Get sorting — organize your piles into “don’t need,” “haven’t worn,” and “keep.” Closets must be only half-full so buyers can visualize fitting their stuff in.

7. Update window treatments. Buyers want light and views, not dated, fancy-schmancy drapes that darken. To diffuse light and add privacy, consider energy-efficient shades and blinds.

8. Hire a home inspector. Do a preemptive strike, since busy home owners seek maintenance-free living. Fix problems before you list the home and then display receipts and wait for buyers to offer kudos to sellers for being so responsible.

 


Cost vs. Value:  How to stretch your remodeling dollars

Creating a memorable first impression with home improvements pays off, according to Remodeling magazine's 2010-11 Cost vs. Value Report. And most of the top projects don't require a major investment.

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