Your house may already be attractive, well-located and in pretty good shape… or then again, maybe it could use a little help. In either case, if you want to increase the chance of your home becoming the center of a bidding war, or selling faster than you may have expected, here are five quick tips for perking up your home — and potential home buyers!
1. Install wooden blinds. There’s nothing that gives a home a finished, put-together look like wooden blinds. It’s the equivalent of a house wearing a well-tailored jacket. Instantly your room looks luxurious and… well, like it’s worth more. I know, you might be thinking, “but those are expensive!” Actually, wooden blinds are now very affordable, because they can be customized and shipped to you directly from online sites. For example, wooden-blinds.com offers assistance every step of the way, helping you select high-quality custom fit blinds in many styles and colors.
Wooden blinds, vertical blinds and roller blinds aren’t just decorative either. They can provide solar protection to keep your room cooler and protect expensive furniture, rugs and artwork from continuous sun exposure. You can also get blinds that roll up or roll down, which will give you greater privacy.
I once had a house with a great view of the mountains — as well as the busy road in front of our property. Using “top down” blinds, I was able to block out the view of the road below, giving the room a sense of privacy, while simultaneously framing the mountains and sky.
2. Paint and finish kitchen cabinets. Cabinets get so much wear and tear from being open and closed for years by wet hands, exploding spaghetti sauce on the range top, and over-enthusiastic blenders. We might not notice how much our cabinets have aged during their years of service, but house hunters will. One quick way of polishing them up is to smooth a coat of paint over them… whether that means a wood stain or an attractive color. Sometimes old banged-up cabinets can get that sought-after “shabby chic” appearance with a simple coat of paint.
I remember going into an old house with a kitchen that hadn’t been remodeled in decades, however the owners had painted the cabinets a sunny yellow color and they’d installed sunflower door pulls… I wanted to buy that kitchen. Unfortunately the real estate agent told me I’d have to buy the rest of the house that came with it.
3. Spiff up your floor. Look down right now. What do you see? Are you looking at a bedraggled carpet, ugly tiles or mismatched vinyl? It may be time for some spiffing up. But this doesn’t have to be expensive. You can rent a steam cleaner at your local market, which will quickly take the bedraggle out of your carpet.
I know this to be true because I walked into an Albertson’s supermarket a few weeks ago, rented a machine for $35, read a couple of lines of instruction before turning on the power, and an hour later the house looked fresh and well-kept. You can also take the ugly out of faded, cracked or headache-inducing patterns on flooring by applying stick-on vinyl squares in light colors, subtle patterns or wood-like finishes.
4. Dress up your yard. A very small investment in landscaping can make a big difference in a home buyer’s ever-important first impression. A freshly mulched yard is much like a newly cleaned carpet — it makes your property look uniformly well-kept. This first impression can translate in a buyer’s mind into confidence that the entire home is equally well-maintained… from the basement to the roof.
Of course you still need disclosures and inspections to provide your house’s full story, but there’s nothing wrong with staritng out on the right foot by showing how well you maintain your yard. A few strategically places bushes or small trees can also do double or triple duty — providing beauty, privacy, and blocking out unsightly views beyond your property lines.
5. Get handy with a toothbrush. Two of my favorite home selling tools are Shop Vacs and toothbrushes. I dedicated an earlier article to my beloved Shop Vac, so it’s the toothbrush’s turn in this post. Save your old toothbrushes because they can become one of the most useful and inexpensive tools in your home selling arsenal.
Their small, slim size and durable bristles make them the perfect tool for scouring scores of tricky places… behind, beneath, and in-between spaces, corners and tight-fitting places where mortal hands don’t fit easily. They’re also great at cleaning grout, ledges, window screens, crown moulding, you name it. And best yet, we have great natural dexterity for using toothbrushes after years of daily practice.