The reality today is that sellers don’t want to spend big to get their house in tip-top shape for buyers. The good news is that there’s plenty they can do for free or at very low cost.
Small updates will have a more dramatic impact if home owners are careful to keep the styles consistent and find ways to draw out the home’s best features. Here are some tips from experts on how to make small improvements pay off.
1. Concentrate on big impact rooms. Be selective about what you do. Kitchens and bathrooms still usually offer the most bang for the buck, says remodeling expert Bill Millholland, executive vice president with Case Design Inc.
2. Go neutral. Don’t introduce too much color to the “bones” of the home (main living areas). You don’t want buyers to see too much bold color on cabinets and 1st floor walls and hallways and say, “I have nothing to go with bright red,” says Terrylynn Fisher, a staging consultant at Empire Realty in Walnut Creek, Calif. Stay neutral with walls, cabinets, and fixtures. Bring in pops of color through accessories.
3. Consult an expert. A professional stager or remodeler can work within your budget and pinpoint where best to spend your dollars. For a list of interior decorators, ask friends or give me (Art Hillman) a call for recommendations.
4. Know when inexpensive won’t work. Certain projects simply can’t be done cheaply, especially in a high-end home. Most consumers will be able to tell that you did something cheap. They won’t see any value to it, so you’re better off cleaning what’s there and having it look its best.
5. Find inspiration. For design guidance, grab a catalog from Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, or William-Sonoma. “Anything you see in there is fairly consistent with what the average consumer is looking for,” Millholland says.
6. Plan your budget. Even small projects can carry a premium if a contractor is needed. For labor savings, grouping several projects together in a full days work can be a help instead of doing separate hourly jobs.
7. Complement the architecture. If it’s a two story colonial house, avoid overly contemporary updates, such as stainless steel countertops, etc. Likewise, if the interior is modern or contemporary, stay away from traditional styles, Millholland says.
Art Hillman has been a REALTOR® since 1986. He has been a top listing and selling agent for many years in Massachusetts serving the Greater Attleboro Area and is an active member of the communities he serves.