Guest blog by Kiersten Minnick of MJ Peterson Real Estate
The stress, chaos and clutter of the holidays are long over. The decorations are packed and stacked away, and spring is (hopefully) right around the corner. Whether or not you are considering putting your house up for sale when the weather warms up, it’s time to work off some of that Valentine’s sponge candy and get some of those home improvements done that have been knocking around in your head. The frigid temps and endless snow aren’t leaving just yet; so let’s cure cabin fever with some indoor home improvement projects!
Here is a short list of projects you can do around the house to increase the value, enjoyment and beauty of you home! These are great tasks to tackle if you want to prep your home for sale, but they are just as beneficial if you are keeping your castle.
The last projects you want to take on are things that require you to be exposed to the polar vortex outside.
Therefore, we’re going to stay away from activities like replacing windows or doors, and hold off on painting the walls. Those are great ideas for improvements after it warms up outside, but right now we do not want to crack open any windows or doors. Let’s wait until the temps are at least higher than the number of flats and drums your cousin Dave consumed at the last competitive chicken wing eating contest.
A great and inexpensive way to add a little instant appeal to your home is to upgrade small touches in your kitchen and bath. These are the two rooms in your house that are the most expensive to overhaul, so to avoid massive renovation bills you can implement these small changes.
Examine your shower head. When was the last time it was replaced? Chances are you have been using the same boring one that has accumulated a nice coating of calcium build up from our water supply. Consider replacing it with a newer model, with multiple shower pulses and/or a separate detachable head. Choose one that has a finish similar to other hardware in your bathroom, which brings me to my next suggestion.
Replacing an entire kitchen sink may be completely unnecessary, time consuming and expensive, but replacing the faucets are easy to do and can freshen up the look of your sinks. Similarly, change the hardware on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. This is much cheaper than replacing the cabinets, and so much easier and less messy than painting them!
Additionally, swap out items such as bathroom towel and toilet paper racks and shower curtain rods. Styles change over time, and you can find many contemporary handles, pulls and racks that will change the look of your kitchen and bath. Is your bathroom in a time warp? This is your opportunity to replace that pink plastic poodle towel holder with a shiny new chrome one.
A slightly pricier project you may want to consider is replacing the carpet in your home. This one may be a job best left to professionals but it’s an excellent way to update and upgrade your home’s value, especially if listing your home in the spring is a priority.
Carpets are a major magnet for allergens and odors in the home, particularly if your household contains some furry family members. Funky smells and embedded pet dander can turn off potential buyers who may have allergies or sensitive sniffers. If you are replacing your carpet, select a neutral color such as beige or light gray. Colors that are too bold can be limiting for interior design. You may love a particular color and want to surround yourself with it, but a potential buyer may decide that their favorite red leather sectional and Buffalo Bills throw blanket looks terrible in a room with gold carpets, and so they may pass up the chance to put an offer on your home.
If you do replace your carpets, ask your carpet retailer to air the new carpet out for a few days before they install it. New carpets contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), air pollutants that are part of the manufacturing process. The carpets could release these compounds into your home. If you ask for them to be aired out in advance, you will have less off gassing to deal with. You don’t want to have to open the windows for very long and turn your home into an igloo while you wait for new carpet fumes to dissipate!
An excellent way to take advantage of the cooler temps is to use this time to add insulation to your attic. If you’ve been in your un-insulated attic or crawl space in the middle of July, you know that it’s only one shade less hotter than Hades. It’s exactly the place you do not want to be when it’s warm out. Just make sure you wear adequate protection if you are going to be using fiberglass insulation.
An air filtration mask, long sleeves, pants, gloves, hat or hoodie, etc. Unless you are trying to make weight for a mixed martial arts fighting bout, replace or add insulation in your attic now, to avoid sweating it out in the spring or summer. Adding insulation will help regulate the temperature in your home, as well as save on heating and cooling costs.
Once you have decided to take the next steps, and list your home for sale with a capable real estate professional, it’s a good idea to invest in several rubber or plastic storage totes.
While not necessarily a “project,” (although it could be, especially if you’re fond of binging on clearance priced household objects or have an obsession with antiques and junk picking) this is just a bit of advice to help you organize and de-clutter your home, whether temporarily for showings, or simply to improve your living space. Make sure you get the kind of totes that are not see-through.
Buyers like to imagine what your home would look like if they owned it, and clutter can distract from the elemental features of your home. Everyone in your life may be well aware of your love for owls. But, that assortment of owl figurines on your computer desk that seems to multiply every birthday and Christmas, is drawing a potential buyer’s eye away from the fact that you may have just put in a new ceiling fan and windows in your home office.
Similarly, the collection of framed family photos you have displayed on your entertainment center may show how important family is to you, but a buyer wants to imagine their own mementos there. Leave one or two and place the rest temporarily in a tote. That way, if grandma stops over, her favorite photo with grandbaby Austin is easily accessible and can be put back in its place on the shelf in little time.
Totes work great to hide things in a flash, especially those things you don’t want to put away completely. Kids toys and books; that mountain of slippers, sneakers and work boots by the front door; the dog’s gross chew toys. Be sure to keep a few smaller storage containers on hand, as these work well for smaller clutter, like the pile of mail on your kitchen table that you haven’t quite had a chance to sort through yet. When it does come time to move, these totes will really come in handy when you have to pack.
While all of these suggestions may seem simple enough, they can make a big difference in your home’s impression to a potential homebuyer, as well as increasing the value and benefits you derive from your home. Overall, keep in mind that buyers like a clean, un-cluttered home that is not overly trendy or dated. Small design changes, cosmetic updates, basic upkeep, cleanliness and maintenance. All of these will ensure that your home will present well to a potential buyer and lead to a quicker sale!
Kiersten Minnick is a New York State Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, and Realtor® at MJ Peterson Real Estate in Buffalo, NY. If you’re ready to sell your home, or have questions about purchasing your first palace, she can be found on Zillow, or LinkedIn.comments powered by Disqus