(ARA) - If you plan to sell your home this summer, or if it has been on the market for some time, invest in a few key updates to improve your odds of attracting a buyer. Don't sink a load of cash into a place you aren't going to stay in, but a few influential fixes can drastically improve the home's overall appearance -- and your chances of selling.
Potential buyers often look for obvious signs of neglect, such as leaky roofs, water damage or crumbling foundations. Even without these problems, making your home look like new again can be as simple as a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Cooking, smoking and everyday living can discolor and fade your ceilings and walls. It's amazing what a fresh coat of color can do to improve a home's appearance. You want potential buyers to see your home as updated yet comfortable. And don't forget to touch up your white baseboards, trim and ceilings to make each room look its best.
As much time as they spend looking up, potential buyers also spend time looking down. Flooring has a drastic effect on a home's selling power, and an outdated or poorly maintained floor can ruin a room's appeal. Old, dingy carpets can overshadow any other improvements and give the home an unkempt feel. If your home has hardwood floors, remove old carpeting and refinish the wood beneath it. This is a great selling feature. If you do not have hardwood floors, update your old carpeting with a neutral shade. Replace any cracked or chipped ceramic tiles in kitchens and bathrooms, and thoroughly clean or replace the grout on all tiled surfaces as well.
You may have heard that bathroom updates have some of the biggest returns when it comes time to sell a home, and it's true. According to CBS MoneyWatch.com, homeowners can expect to recover about 75 percent of minor bathroom remodel costs. So invest in a faucet, showerhead, cabinetry and a new light fixture to add to your "new" bathroom's appeal. Have a half-bath? Consider adding a shower to make it a full; this will make your home much more marketable.
First impressions can have a huge impact on buyers' decisions. If your cement sidewalk or patio areas have cracks, patch them with a kit from your local hardware store. Resurface an asphalt driveway and make certain your garage doors and exterior are freshly painted.
Remember, your front door is the first thing a buyer will see. Consider repainting it a bold color that invites them in, and replace your doorknob if it is in poor shape. Summer means color, and adding bright flowers to your front entry or garden will make any visitors feel welcome.
With a few updates, you can greatly increase your home’s perceived value and appeal to buyers. Put some time and resources into these key areas and you'll soon reap the benefits of your investment.