10 Best “Bangs for the Buck” in Home Remodeling/Staging

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10 Best “Bangs for the Buck” in Home Remodeling/Staging

Boosting a home’s value is easier–and cheaper–than you might think. To get the most bang for your home improvement buck, consider these 10 best home improvements:

1. Landscaping:
Flowers along the sidewalk, in front of the house, inside flower boxes, pouring out of hanging baskets, or even in berms and raised garden beds provide a giant boost to your curb appeal. Planting flowers is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to make a big impact. Get recommendations from your local nursery on what plants and flowers thrive in your area. Spending money on plantings that won’t survive through the seasons. Flowerbeds filled with dead annuals don’t say much to buyers during the fall and winter months.

2. Exterior Lighting:
Walkways, sidewalks, perimeter of your house, and the front entry should be lit with ambient lighting. Too dim of lighting on the exterior is a welcome sign for intruders. While too bright of exterior lighting is costly and disturbing to neighbors. Install large-scale exterior lighting to dress up the front of your house. Lighting needs to reflect the scale of the front of your house and not just the wall space next to the front door. It is worth a few extra dollars.

3. Kitchen Appliances:
Invest in matching kitchen appliances. All black, white or stainless steel will give a kitchen a current look. Be ready to haggle: many dealers will match the lowest price offered by the competition. If the price still seems high, see if you can negotiate a deal by buying more than one appliance at a time. When all else fails, ask for free delivery and installation or a free extended warranty.

4. Kitchen Cabinets:
Reface or replace worn kitchen cabinets. Replacing cabinets is typically the priciest part of a kitchen remodel. If your old cabinets are plumb, square, and sturdy, consider refinishing them with some simple sanding, painting or staining, and drilling. You can even dress them up with custom-built doors, possibly with glass panes, and still save a bundle over all-new cabinets. Even having a cabinetmaker reface old cabinets with veneer costs less than replacing them.

5. Bathroom Fixtures:
Get rid of outdated bathroom fixtures like pink toilets and seashell sinks. Buyers love white toilets, tubs and sinks. Focus on the visuals: nice tile, nice colors, nice fixtures… and don’t spend a lot on the high-end utilities because most people can’t tell the difference.

6. Flooring:
Refinish worn hardwood floors. If you have older carpets over hardwood floors, pull it up. Hardwood is always a plus. Many people prefer it for its “warm” look and its ability to blend rooms — ideal in houses that boast open-floor plans. No hardwoods? The alternative and cheaper option to hardwood flooring is engineered flooring. Rather than comprising of one sole plank, an engineered floor is manufactured using multiple layers of chip composite, with a layer of chosen wood on the surface. For those that are actually worried about the quality of engineered flooring, you may be happy to know that between engineered and solid flooring, there is actually no visual difference; much of it falls solely on the price.

7. Clean & Declutter:
If it is dirty clean it, and if it’s broken fix it. Leaving a to-do list for the buyer could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollar, whereas paying a handyman might cost you only a couple of thousand. Remember that the less stuff there is in your home when you start painting and staging it, the less hassle there will be and the cleaner and more spacious your home will appear. As sentimental as your things might seem to you, buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in your space; seeing clothes in the closet, family photos, and random tchotchkes prevents them from doing so.

8. Coordinating Hardware:
You must try to match the hardware throughout each room of the home. Mixing brass, chrome, and brushed nickel on your doors, hinges and faucets are downright ugly. Go for something moderately priced because these items can add up. Also matching faucets with cabinet hardware creates a unified look that’s appropriate for small spaces such as a powder room.

9. Carpeting:
Install inexpensive, low-pile neutral carpeting when a good cleaning won’t suffice. Carpet is a popular choice for bedrooms and playrooms. It’s soft, reduces noise, provides safety from slips and falls, stabilizes temperature, and is never cold on your feet.

10. Neutral Colors:
The colors potential buyers see when they enter your home should be neutral so that the buyers will not be distracted by someone else’s style. They should see the walls of your home as a blank canvas on which to project their own preferences and style. And why is painting your house in order to sell your home so important? How about a major return on investment! The average price to paint interior walls is $500 to $750, but that increases a home price by an average of $1,500 to $2,000 — which can be a 250 percent return on investment.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when considering any home improvement project is to not go overboard. The value of your home is partially determined by the value of your neighbor’s homes, so don’t make improvements that bring your home’s value significantly over the general value of other homes in your neighborhood. Although making home improvements is not a sure-fire way to increase the value, it will at the very least make you more competitive against your competition.


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