I answered based upon only being able to choose to do one thing.
If there is only ONE thing that you could do to make your home more attractive, I would have to say cleaning would be the most beneficialâ€¦..inside and out. Indoors: If the fixtures, appliances, floors, walls, counters, etc are sparkling clean, it will almost give the impression that they are newer and or have had minimal wear and tear. If the yard is picked up, driveway is swept, weeds are pulled and there are no cobwebs there to greet you at the door, it will provide a very inviting feel as buyers are entering. I consider de-cluttering cleaning as well (and really youâ€™re moving anyway, so this helps you get a jumpstart on packing) so most flat surfaces should only contain items you use everyday. I think that if you only concentrate your energies on the exterior and donâ€™t address anything on the interior, you could be setting potential buyers up for a big disappointment the moment they open the door.
Melissa Mancini, Realtor, CBR, GRI
1. Paint - slap on a fresh coat of paint, repaint peeling cabinets and surfaces
2. Flooring - steam clean the carpets, wax the hardwood
3. Clutter - throw away junk, remove clutter, organize accessories
4. Yard - rake the leaves, plant some flowers, mow the lawn, get rid of dead or dying plants
5. Cleaning - scrub the bathtub, polish the doorknobs
6. Smell - open a window, light some candles, put in air fresheners
7. Make rooms look bigger - place floor length mirrors, use vertical space, use lighter colored paint
8. Light - open the shades, maximize sunlight
9. Small fixtures - replace older or worn fixtures such as cabinet knobs, faucet fixtures, etc.
Now if you have more time and a bigger budget, consider remodeling certain parts of the house. It has been proven that remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms really increases the home's value. Improving the flooring is also a great investment--whether you replace worn carpet with new carpet or you rip up old linoleum to install natural stone, it'll help! Just be careful how much you spend in comparison to how much you can get for your house. Most renovators get so excited about the projects at hand they forget their is a ceiling to how much they should further invest into the house. But remember, remodeling can be really fun! So enjoy and good luck!
All the general guidelines outlined by my fellow REALTORs are wonderful. The big questions are ones you must answer. What is your motivation--are you seeking to spruce up your home to improve your sale price and sell soon, or are you looking to make improvements with long term value? What is your budget ($500, $1,000, $10,000)? What is your time frame for selling (1 month? 1 year? 5 years? 10?)? How much time and work (good 'ole elbow grease) are you willing to put into the project? If you provide these answers and re-post, you will get specific feedback suitable for your exact needs. Best of luck!
Curb appeal is necessary to get potential buyers in the door. But to truely increase the value of the house, money spent on upgrading first the kitchen then the master and hall baths will return you nearly double the price you paid in resale value. Of course if you can do the work yourself, then yuou return would be enormous. New flooring and painting the walls with a nuetral color also increases the value.
I have a chart by area of the country that shows the average ROI for each major improvement. email me and I'll be gald to send the one to you for where you live.