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HomeHomes
Published: Wednesday, 2/20/2008

Giving Your Home Curb Appeal: From The Inside

(ARA) - According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales have fallen to their lowest level in nearly 10 years. In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article reported that some people are so desperate to sell that they're actually burying religious statues in their yards to help generate sales interest.

With more homes on the market, and more sellers having to cut their price, what are some ways to make your home stand out from the ones for sale on your street -- or the many more in your neighborhood -- at similar price ranges?

Well, how about a kitchen makeover?

According to Brad Staggs, a licensed contractor and contributor to HGTVPro.com, with a little elbow grease and the right improvements, you can give your kitchen just enough of an upgrade to make a great first impression on potential home buyers and still get a good return on your investment.

Staggs notes homeowners wanting to sell should first look around at their kitchen -- it's the home's most important room because that's where buyers congregate and envision what it would be like if they lived there. He also says it's possible to add some aesthetic upgrades to an outdated kitchen in just one weekend and for under $10,000, to really increase its sell-ability.

To stay within budget and on schedule, he says you want to avoid making big changes that require moving electrical wires, pipes or walls. He also recommends leaving cabinets, countertops and even flooring as is, unless they are extremely worn or damaged. Some of Staggs' quick kitchen makeover tips include:

Here's cooking at you, kid

Nothing says "tired" more than outdated, mismatched appliances. Fortunately, they're pretty easy to replace. Many freestanding units just slide in and out, so you can change out the refrigerator, dishwasher and range all with the same delivery/installation crew. For a truly upscale look, without the upscale price, look at suites like the GE Cafe series. They feature a modern, restaurant-quality stainless steel look, some of the best appliance innovation and they really appeal to people who love to cook and entertain.

What's also nice is that all three of these appliances are available for less than the cost of one of those status models. Plus, you can even add a matching built-in microwave or range hood to give the kitchen an almost completely remodeled look.

Paint your wagon

Nothing says "fresh" like a new coat of paint. If you're serious about selling your home, you should think about repainting every room in your house -- but the kitchen is an absolute must. Over the years kitchens typically are the home's highest traffic areas, so walls can be marred, get splattered with food or even hold onto old cooking odors you may not notice. Choose a neutral base and stick to using quality paints that cover in one coat, stand up to fingerprints and offer good scrubability.

Cabinet touch ups

Replacing cabinets is an expensive process, so consider one of the many services that can re-face your existing ones. An even less costly option is to sand down cabinet doors and repaint, using a high gloss finish for a sleek, new look. Another recommendation -- simply replace all the existing knobs and drawer pulls with new, matching hardware -- perhaps in a stainless finish to complement the new appliances.

Don't get soaked

Often the centerpiece in the kitchen is the sink area. Another change-out that really makes an impression is the installation of a new sink and faucet. For under $1,000, this can be a do-it-yourself project or a half-day job with your local plumber. An option is to install a new faucet that combines form and function like a model featuring a high-arc spray; it's great for clean-up as well as cooking. New faucets and sinks come in many styles and finishes, and standard-sized sinks simply drop into existing countertop templates, so there's no additional contracting work that needs to be done.

So, if you think you first have to cut your price, think again. The above changes can cost well under $10,000 -- and considerably less if you can do some of the work yourself. And according to the NAR, with the average home now selling almost $18,000 below last year's value, these kitchen makeover ideas might just get you the price you want. And if not, well, who knows? Once you're done, you may decide you don't want to move after all! Courtesy of ARAcontent



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