It may be a buyer’s market, but potential home sellers can stay competitive by enhancing the look and feel of their homes. With that in mind, here are a few cheap (and in some cases, free) ways to raise you home’s value and give you the best shot at closing that deal. Let the bidding wars begin!
Problem: Spots and stains on walls.
Solution: Dry-erase sponges.
For less than $4, buy a pack of dry erase sponges to get rid of marks on your walls, cabinets and dry wall surfaces. They’re usually available at your local grocery store, Wal-Mart (Stock Quote: WMT), Target (Stock Quote: TGT), Home Depot (Stock Quote: HD) or Lowe’s (Stock Quote: LOW).
Problem: Kitchen counter needs a facelift.
Solution: New tiles.
Create a great backsplash for your counter to liven up your kitchen with a more professional, crafted look. All you mainly need is a tile adhesive (called tile mastic) and enough tiles to suit the length. You can find tiles for under $1 each at IKEA.
Problem: Too much clutter.
Solution: Find a hiding place.
Less is more during in an open house viewing. Potential buyers like to imagine themselves living in your home. It’s important to keep the home looking spacious and neutral. First, try to create as much walking space as possible in your home. Next, hide your fridge montage of family photos and postcards, along with your antique doll collection in the master bedroom. Keep kitchen appliances and decorative items to a minimum, too. You don’t need to necessarily rent a storage space to solve the clutter issue. You can store excess kitchen appliances in cabinets, hide pictures on your fridge in an envelope and tuck away other items neatly in your basement or ask a neighbor if you can hide some items in his basement or attic temporarily. Or, if you decide you can live without some of the clutter, donate items to your local charity and earn a sweet tax write-off.
Problem: Little natural light.
Solution: Raise the blinds and your wattage.
Better lighting can help show off your home and make it look roomier. So if you’re keeping your blinds or curtains closed, let the sun shine in during an open house. But if you live on a dark street or your windows face brick walls, consider buying bulbs with higher wattages.
Problem: Cabinets look out-dated.
Solution: New knobs for cabinets and drawers.
Peruse flea markets to find rare and unique knobs on the cheap. Home Depot, Lowe’s and IKEA offer up an affordable selection, as well. Or for a total facelift, visit Freecycle.org, where you may find free material and cabinetry for your next project.
Problem: Carpets look tired.
Solution: Foam shaving cream.
Besides a deep vacuuming, foam shaving cream is a tried and true home remedy for most common stains, from spills to dirt and grime. Let the foam sit on the stain for about half an hour before blotting away. Next, rinse the spot with a mixed solution of water and vinegar.
Problem: Exterior looks dumpy.
Solution: Paint and fresh flowers.
A fresh coat of paint for your mailbox and front door can instantly enhance the first impression of your home, which is usually critical if you’re trying to sell. Also, planting a few bloomed flowers can add warmth and beauty to your front steps. Oh, and if your kid’s tricycle is on the front lawn, you may want to keep that in the garage during home viewings, too.