1. Change pulls and knobs on all cabinets and vanities to a modern style.
2. Change linoleum floors to tile in kitchens and baths (12×12 tiles or larger).
3. If you have an older house with rusted vents, take them off and spray with new paint.
4. Add extra moldings around your mantle, windows and new/bigger crown moldings.
5. If you have an old kitchen sink and faucet, replace with a white acrylic sink and high-arc pull-down sprayer faucet.
Add a custom island to an open kitchen for additional seating and prep space.
6. Pressure wash all driveways, patios, vinyl siding, garage floor and any other concrete areas.
7. Add extra insulation in attic until it reaches the heights of the floor joists.
8. If you have an older fireplace, clean and paint the inside brick with dark gray or coordinating paint color.
9. Scrape popcorn ceilings and convert to a smooth texture.
10. Make sure your yard and landscaping are in perfect shape every 3 days until you have closed the sale.
11. For Bathroom and Kitchen remodels, make sure to use the rehab from the ground up method. What this means is start with the tile floor, add the base cabinets, add the upper cabinets, add the sink and appliances, double check all electrical and plumbing and test for leaks and add all finish moldings and finishing touches.
12. For Bedrooms and Other Rooms, use the reverse method of top down rehab. Start on ceiling, vents, fans and light fixtures first. Then work your way down to walls and windows. Next start on any new or replacements moldings. Last install your preferred flooring. I remember trying to install carpet before finishing the walls and always dropping paint in every room. It takes too much of your time to start with carpet and have to try and work around it to finish out the room.
A neighbor’s junk pile in the yard will do nothing to add value to your home sales price. Find a creative way to entice them to clean it up.
13. Ask any neighbors, assuming you have a decent relationship with them to clean up their yards. If you have your house for sale and see the neighbor’s yard with appliances sitting out on the porch or toys everywhere, it’s not going to help the value at all. See if there is a mutual understanding or incentive to get them to help you sell your home by cleaning up theirs. I’m sure the rest of your neighbor’s would thank you as well for that one.
14. If you have an older home with the bookcases on the sides of the fireplace but no mantle, then build one. I had an older rehab and did just that. Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy a board that is longer than what you need. Chances are you will have to cut it to length. A good pick would be to find a 2”x10” board. This is a thick board that will serve as a good mantle shelf. Now make sure to find a stain or paint that matches your existing side bookcases to blend. Last item I usually add is a decorate molding to add to the front of the board to complete the look. Make sure the decorative molding sits on the top of the mantle shelf and hangs below bottom of mantle shelf to make it look fuller. Use small finish nails or brad nail gun to mount the decorative molding to the mantle shelf.
15. Clean out all the cobwebs and debris out of all your existing cabinets and vanities. Yes buyers do look through cabinets and pull drawers out during showings.
16. Clean off the ceiling fan blades and housing. If your ceiling fan blades look worse for wear, re-stain them to a more modern wood color.
17. Nothing says old house worse than creaking doors or stuck windows. Oil the doors and window sides to make sure buyers can open and close everything easily.
Adding extra layers and decorative moldings can vamp up the value of any room.
18. Ensure that your existing moldings look bright and new! If your baseboards look beat up, repaint them to a bright white gloss paint.
19. For existing hardwood floors, they can be re-sanded, re-stained and you can add a polyurethane top layer to make them shine. Determine if your hardwood floors can be redone. If you have a couple of boards that need to be replaced, this can be fixed. Find the same wood species as your existing floor, hire someone or learn how to fix hardwood floors yourself, then re-sand all the boards together to have a uniform look. Once all the boards are bare wood and thoroughly cleaned, then add one to several coats of stain and seal.
20. Look for opportunities in the house where you have clutter. There are millions of different types of wall, closet, kitchen, etc. organizers to get you back on track. To show and sell a house for top dollar, every part has to look well-organized and clean. This is a great DIY project since you don’t need to hire a contractor to install wall organizers and such. Figure out where you want to install a wall organizer. Next you will need a cordless screwdriver (Flathead or Phillip bit), a pencil and lastly a wall stud finder. Mounting your wall organizer to studs is a necessity whenever you are adding weight to the wall unit.
21. Have a closet full of different hangers? Ditch them! Go to WalMart and buy uniform sets of hangers to put in every closet. Why, because your buyers will see that everything is uniform and well-organized. This is important because buyers will see that you take care in how you organize your things. If you see a closet full of uniform hangers and neatly organized, it can give the buyer a sense that you take care of this home and its contents.
Make every part of your home well-organized and presentable to buyers.
22. If you are going to make it a one time or future habit to remodel homes, understand the process of sizing windows. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen remodels rushed by crews that should have waited a week or two for the right sized custom windows. Whenever I see a 2 x 4 board under or around a window, it’s a dead giveaway the wrong size was installed. Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and order the right sized windows the first time. Special order windows take 1-2 weeks but your finished product will be much nicer and command a bigger payoff.
23. If you are adding molding to an existing room, try this technique. Instead of paying a contractor big money to install crown molding, add decorative corners to each end of your moldings. Any big box store will carry primed molding corners where all you have to do is cut the molding to length and stick in each end of the corner. It will set any room off and add a nice wow factor.
24. Got a wall that needs a decorative touch, watch a video on how to build modern shelves. Stagger the shelves on the wall to give it an abstract look and look for decorative glass or statue pieces to add height. Buyers are always trying to imagine what they would do with almost every square inch of their new perspective home.
25. Look at your front door! If it’s wood, look at re-sanding and re-staining it. It’s a lot of work but the payoff is enormous. I remodeled a home where I remodeled the front door, added a new peephole, new knocker and new kick plate. A dark stained door with brushed nickel accents goes a long way to impress a potential buyer.
26. Most people dismiss the garage as unimportant. Don’t! Make sure that your garage is neat and organized. An easy way to organize a garage is put all the yard tools on a wall mounting rack, put the water hoses up, make sure all ladders are hung with brackets on the wall and that all tools are neatly arranged. Your garage is a big reflection of how a buyer perceives the rest of you home. If your garage floor is worse for wear, try coating it with grey concrete paint or an epoxy finish floor.
27. Make sure to clean the inside and outside window panes in any French or exterior doors.
28. If you are sticking with your existing linoleum floors, make sure you clean them until you see your reflection. One less reason for a buyer to ask for a flooring repair allowance.
29. Look around your kitchen and bath counter tops. If you are not replacing existing laminate tops, make sure every inside corner is sealed with caulk. Run a bead of caulk along all the gaps and run back over with your index finger to fill in the cracks and smooth out. Wipe any excess with a wet bath rag.
30. Look at additional appliance options for your kitchen. Have an end run cabinet that you don’t use? Add an additional glass door mini fridge. Add an additional matching dishwasher or a built-in ice maker. Many buyers are impressed with that extra attention to making their new kitchen pop.
31. Have a large or scenic lot? Ensure you are getting the most by cutting back a tree canopy or thinning trees. If you have a million dollar view then make sure a potential buyer sees a million dollar view and not a bunch of overgrowth and poor landscaping.
32. If you have an L-shaped or open kitchen design, look at putting in a rolling island cart. Buyers always like counter/work/prep space in the kitchen. A rolling island is a cost-effective transition that adds great value. They make carts with stainless and wood tops to add the right fizzle. If you have wood or butcher block counter tops, you can sand and stain the new island cart top to match as well.
33. Upgrade your kitchen work area or study outlets with USB port receptacles.
34. Restore you worn out deck with some new stain/sealant. Replace any rotted flooring boards as well.
35. If you have wood railings around your front porch of stairs that needs replacing, consider buying pre-made sections of vinyl rails. They make porch and stair railings in various lengths to accommodate almost any home. Giving your buyer a maintenance-free product is always a bonus.
36. Add some curb appeal to your front, side and back of the home with stone or brick pavers. Adding an easy walkway to other areas also means that potential buyers won’t be walking through a muddy yard section to access another area if the showing is on a rainy day.
37. Add sections of LED light strips underneath your kitchen cabinets.
38. Take a boring wall and convert it to an abstract or stone feature. They make half-size field stone where you can turn any wall into an accent feature. Use your imagination and if all else fails, Google to find pictures on how other people converted their wall spaces.
Take a boring wall and turn it into a big selling feature.
39. Add a ceiling medallion onto your existing light fixture or chandelier. There are plenty of decorative and large medallions that make any room look a lot more expensive.
40. Want to make your kitchen stove area pop? Try adding small stainless tiles to the back splash. It’s a DIY project with an amazing look.
41. Spruce up your dining room or kitchen ceilings with metal or tin tiles. Make sure to measure and run a chalk line so you know that every ceiling tile hung will look full and symmetrical.
42. Add nice welcome mats to every entry door. Do not put your household name on the mats so you depersonalize the space.
43. Refinish or reface old worn out kitchen cabinets. An outdated cabinet door style is not an attractive feature to a buyer. It’s a big project but one that can add some serious dollars to the final sales price. Painting your cabinets is a cost-effective option but only if you have some serious time to devote to finishing this project.
44. Add stone around your boring wood mailbox post with a custom house number plaque.
45. Build a bench sitting area around a large tree in the front or back yard. Almost like a mini deck surrounding the tree.
46. Consider taking your outdated kitchen cabinet doors and converting the inside to clear or beveled glass. Add LED or puck lights inside the cabinet to increase the kitchen wow factor.
47. Spend the money and add a stained wood or carriage house garage door(s). It adds a lot of value to the overall curb appeal. Consider taking it even further with some nice coach lights on both sides to dress it up.
48. Upgrade your rusted metal outdoor furniture. A couple of cans of Krylon spray paint does wonders to restore an otherwise rusting heap of outdoor mess. If you’ve been wanting to upgrade your patio furniture for a while, use the new furniture to stage your home and take it with you when it sells. A showing has to be memorable and the buyers might pay a bigger sales price to include it in the deal.
Make use of higher spaces to showcase your home as well.
49. Use the space in those high ceilings and add additional display shelves on the outside walls. Dens are a great conversion room for this upgrade.
50. If you have space on your front entrance or porch, stage the area well with accent lighting, greenery, sitting areas, water features and whatever else comes to mind. Your entrance has to be warm and inviting. How the showing starts sets a big stage for the rest of home tour.
51. Last tip! While most of these ideas I use on rehabs, consult with a licensed contractor if you are unsure. Make sure when starting a larger project, you understand the process and the time it will take. Kitchen and bathroom remodels that are delayed can really upset the balance of the whole house so do extra planning in these areas. Hope these tips help some of you new and existing home equity builders. Your additional ideas and feedback appreciated.
For ideas and suggestions on what you can do to sell a home or buy a fixer-upper, feel free to call me 901-444-2884 or email me. Thanks John Vick