Most buyers make up their minds about your house in the first 30 seconds after pulling up outside. So it’s vital you make the outside of your home as attractive as possible if you want to get the best price you can. After all, a neat and tidy, well-cared for home will beat a rundown, shabby house any day. Here are some easy tips.
Mow the lawns and keep the flower beds neat: This will give buyers the impression they can move in right away without maintenance headaches.
Add colorful flowers: Invest in some planter plots and fill them with beautiful blooms to give extra impact to your home’s entrance.
The front door: Make sure it’s freshly painted to look bright and inviting. Polish the doorknob and street numerals, too.
Screen unsightly areas: Lattice or bamboo screens are available cheaply and will block any ugly vistas.
Move the toys: While it’s OK to have a child’s bike outside in a family-friendly area, remove any toys strewn over the yard.
Get that manicured look: Add mulch or compost around flowerbeds to make your garden and plants look cared for and healthy.
Keep it clean: Use a power-washer to give your walkways a clean, fresh look.
Essential repairs: Make sure there are no loose shingles or guttering.
One of the things that can make our homes less enjoyable to live in is disorganized closet space. It’s quite depressing to look in your closets every morning and not be able to find what you need.
And if you are selling your house, having a cluttered closet will damage your chances of getting the best price, because people will view cluttered closets as a sign your house doesn’t have enough storage. So here are some tips to organize your closets.
Invest in a closet organizer
Imagine how you (and potential buyers) would feel to see your closets tidily organized! A closet organizer is probably the best way to achieve the look you are going for — and it doesn’t have to be expensive either.
You can buy ready-made units that fit into most closets. Most use a modular system that allows you to mix and match units and fit them together as you wish.
You can choose between units made of solid panels or wire systems. Alternatively, you can mix and match them both to meet your needs.
Closet organizers should include shelves for bulky items such as sweaters, drawers for smaller items, and rods for clothing that needs to be hung up. Consider also storage for shoes, such as a rack that hangs on the back of a door.
Getting it organized
When designing your system, make sure you consider things such as the length of the clothes that are to be hung, and how much space you need to devote to items such as sweaters. Consider which items you need to access easily on a daily basis and which can be stored out of reach.
This is also a good opportunity to go through all the items in your closet and get rid of those you don’t need — perhaps some things you didn’t even know you had!
A closet that isn’t packed with useless stuff is easier to keep organized and will keep your clothes from getting crushed.
The bathroom might be one of the smallest rooms, but it’s one of the most important if you’re selling our home. Here are some quick tips to freshen up your bathroom to give yourself a space you enjoy relaxing in, whether you are moving or not.
Clutter: Bathrooms attract a lot of bottles and jars that create clutter. By putting them in a closet or throwing away those you haven’t used for a long time, you’ll immediately make your room look more spacious.
Fixtures and fittings: It’s not as expensive to replace bathroom fixtures, such as the toilet, as you think. Putting in more modern fixtures will immediately bring your bathroom up to date. The same goes for towel rails, mirrors and other hardware. Try replacing them with a matching set to unify the look of your bathroom.
Ceramic tiles: The caulking between tiles gets very dirty. Clean it – and you’ll immediately make your bathroom fresher.
Flooring: A big turn-off for many house-buyers is carpet in the bathroom. If you replace it with a more washable surface, you’ll have a much cleaner-looking room.
Towels and shower curtain: Replace your tiles with a new, fluffy matching set and keep an inviting pile waiting on a shelf or in a closet. And replace your shower curtain for a new one that matches the décor.
Paint: Freshen up the room by giving it a coat of light, neutral-colored paint.
Poor curb appeal
Buyers won’t even go inside if the outside of the house looks unappealing. So clean up your front yard by tidying plants and pulling up weeds. Make sure the outside of your home looks well cared-for by painting the trim, mowing the lawn and placing attractive potted plants by the door.
You may not even notice bad odors, but buyers surely will. Smoking and pets are the prime causes, so smoke outside while you are selling your house and consider what to do with your animals. Allow the house to air out thoroughly before viewings – don’t just try to mask the odor with another scent.
Loud and scary pets
Apart from the odor of some animals, a big dog or noisy bird can be off-putting to some buyers. So keep your dog away when you have viewings so your potential buyers aren’t distracted or, worse, scared.
Signs of damp
Problems with damp are a big turn-off to many buyers. Make sure your basement doesn’t smell damp and there are no signs of damp on the walls. It’s much better to fix problems now than wait until buyers point them out to you.
Dirt and grime
Although dirt is usually only cosmetic, it deters buyers, who will start to think the house isn’t well cared for. So make sure your kitchen and bathroom, in particular, are clean.
Although your home’s décor shouldn’t matter, to many buyers it does. That’s because many want a house they can move into right away. So replace any tired or out-of-date carpets or wallpapers with a more neutral, modern scheme.
If your house it too expensive compared to similar properties on the market, you’ll turn away viewers. So take your agent’s advice when it comes to setting a price for your home.
Damaged or dirty cabinet doors are a big turn-off for buyers. But that’s easy to fix. Most cabinetry can be re-painted after cleaning it and applying a coat of primer. Just check that the materials can take paint or whether you need to give any special preparation to the doors first. Alternatively, you can just replace the doors. There are companies that provide doors to fit existing kitchen cabinets.
Another way to fix up cabinets is to replace the hardware, perhaps changing out-of-date fixtures for sleek, modern ones. This is a very cheap and easy way to update your kitchen.
Sinks and faucets
Try trading your faucets for more modern designs and replacing a damaged or very dirty sink.
People love modern stainless steel appliances. It could be a good investment to upgrade your appliances to the most modern designs to give your kitchen the ‘wow’ factor.
An easy way to update your kitchen is to replace the backsplash. Subway or mosaic tiles or a sheet of stainless steel are very popular right now, and this quick change can really lift the feel of the room.
Dairy, tired linoleum floors will turn off buyers. Try updating with tough laminate flooring or some tiles that tie into the rest of the kitchen.
Change the décor easily by repainting in fresh, modern, neutral colors. A coat of paint can be a very cheap way to refresh the look of your kitchen.
Just by simply removing the clutter that accumulates on your countertops, you can freshen up your kitchen. Throw out things you don’t need; put away others you use only occasionally.
If you plan to sell your home, you can make your interiors and exteriors shine by improving the lighting. Here’s how.
Drapes and shades: Natural light works best during the day. So make sure to open all drapes and shades to let in the sunlight.
Highlighting: Put emphasis on the room’s focal points, such as an alcove or artwork, by using lighting. Use task lighting in such spaces.
Exterior areas: The driveway and other such areas can be lit with the help of low-voltage string lights.
Doorway lamps: You can greatly enhance the curb appeal of your home by placing interesting lamps on your porch.
Security lights: Lighting placed around your house needs to be high up to ensure enough light is spread. Try using bright lights for the exteriors.
Shining out: Lighting which accentuates the interior of your home should also be visible from the outside. Use lighting to add a feeling of warmth and grace to a room before people even come into your house.
Mood and theme: If your home is chic and modern, try using a clean and simple lighting design. For more classic styles, use ornate lighting, such as chandeliers.
LED lighting usages: New to the market, LED lights work best for the kitchen, bathroom and other functional areas.
Curb appeal is vital if you want your home to sell quickly for a good price. To create that enticing look, you don’t necessarily have to undertake extensive landscaping or major fixes to the exterior of the building. Instead, you could just concentrate on the entrance to your house.
Lead them in
You want to do everything you can to lead your guests (and potential buyers) into your home. Make it clear where the entrance is by emphasizing it, using some of the techniques in this article.
Make sure all your door hardware (the door knocker, handle and hinges) are new or look new. You can buy matching hardware cheaply. Alternatively, give what you already have a good polish. Invest in a new house number and mailbox that complement the rest of your hardware.
Make sure the door looks bright and fresh. Paint it to match the rest of the trim on your house and keep it clean of dirty rain splashes.
Steps and railings
If there are steps up to your home, make sure they are well kept and safe. Check metal railings for rust and make sure they stay firm when visitors hold them.
Use containers or hanging baskets to mark the way to your home. They are easy to maintain and provide a splash of color. Try placing one container or basket on either side of the door to frame the entrance.
Consider adding attractive lights to emphasize the entrance and make it more attractive at night.
Add a chair
If you have space, place an attractive chair near the entrance. It gives the impression your home provides a relaxing place to sit and rest.
Don’t forget a welcome mat
As a finishing touch, put a new mat outside the door.
It is no secret that one of the key things people look at when they are buying a house is the bathroom. That is why it is so important to make your bathroom look as big, beautiful and up-to-date as possible. Unfortunately, many bathrooms these days are quite small, but there are ways of making them appear sleeker and larger.
Fixtures and cabinetry
One thing that can help is to install fixtures that are as high-tech and as contemporary as possible. Their streamlined appearance can give a bathroom a more spacious appearance.
Another way to make a bathroom appear larger is to remove all bulky cabinetry. For instance, if you have a sink that is encased in a big clunky cabinet, you can remove it and get a freestanding sink.
Buying fixtures that are smaller than usual can also make the bathroom look bigger.
Toilets, bathtubs and showers
You can buy toilets nowadays that are very narrow and sit close against the wall.
You can also buy “tankless” toilets that situate the tank on a pipe high above the actual seat.
Old-fashioned bathtubs can also take up a lot of room in a small bathroom.
One solution might be to rip out a large bathtub and replace it with “a newer, smaller one — or, have a bathroom with just a shower stall.
Redoing the floor in stone and having an open shower with a glass stall can also make a smaller bathroom look more luxurious and spacious.
Yet another way to keep the bathroom looking spacious is to avoid painting it in dark colors — keep the walls and shelving as pale in color as possible.
Having a focal point is critical if you want to create a room that feels comfortable and useable. And when you’re selling your house, you’ll make the room more attractive to buyers because they’ll feel more at home when there’s a focal point for them to rest their eyes on.
Some rooms have natural focal points, such as a fireplace, architectural details or a picture window with a view.
But if your room has none of these, you could try placing a large piece of furniture such as an armoire or a tall bookcase along one wall, using an ornate mirror or large painting, or adding a table with your favorite ornaments or mementoes arranged on it.
If you have a large, flat-screen television, this might make a suitable focal point, but many people prefer not to make a TV the center of attention, as it can look unattractive when switched off.
The focal point doesn’t have to be on the wall — a large area rug placed under a coffee table can also work well.
A fireplace is perhaps the best focal point in a living room. To accent it further, place a painting or mirror above the hearth.
In a bedroom, place the bed along the longest wall; add attractive bedding and a well-designed headboard.
All furniture in a room should be arranged around the focal point, helping draw your eyes to the right place. It’s almost as if you are “framing” your focal point with the furniture and other decorations in your room.
Container plants are an easy way to give immediate visual impact to your home, creating that important curb appeal – the “wow” factor as potential buyers pull up outside. Here are some important tips to make sure you use containers effectively.
Use big containers
Don’t be afraid of using big, bold containers. They will have much more impact and will be easier to care for because they won’t dry out so easily. Smaller containers tend to get lost in the landscaping, so you’ll lose the visual impact you’re trying to achieve.
Use quality containers
Avoid plastic containers, as these can look cheap. Terracotta, wrought iron, or zinc containers look great. Choose a container that complements your house and the rest of your landscaping. For example, if you have iron detailing, find a matching container; if you have brick paving, a terracotta pot might look good next to it.
Fill them with plants
For immediate results, fill your containers with more plants than you normally would. Otherwise, you will be forced to wait for the plants to grow before your container will look lush and healthy.
Feed your plants
Make sure you keep your containers well maintained by watering and feeding the plants regularly. You want buyers to think the containers are always there, not just a quick fix.
Running an energy-efficient home this winter doesn’t necessarily entail buying expensive solar panels or wind generators. Neither does it mean you have to wear your outdoor clothes inside to stop you shivering! Here are 8 useful tips.
Laundry: Wait until you have a full load of laundry and run the machine on cold. Detergents are available to clan clothes at low temperatures.
Dishes: Don’t pre-rinse your dishes as this wastes energy. And wait until the dishwasher is full before turning it on. If you have the time, use the air dry or no-heat dry settings so the dishes dry without using electricity.
Windows: In the winter during the day, open the blinds on south-facing windows to allow the sun to warm your home then close them in the evening to increase insulation. (In the summer, you can do the opposite to keep your home cool.)
Computers and TVs: Turn off your appliances when you are not using them. Even when they’re in standby mode they are still using electricity — it’s estimated 5% of household energy use is from appliances leaking away electricity. So turn them off at the wall.
Showers: While a long, hot shower is nice and relaxing, you can save a lot of money taking shorter showers and by installing energy-efficient showerheads that give you a good shower while reducing water use.
Space heaters: Surprisingly, space heaters are a lot cheaper than a central heating system. And don’t forget to turn them off when you’re out. Installing a programmable thermostat will also keep your heating bill low.
Furnace filter: Change the filter at the start of every season and then every month or two after because a dirty filter makes the furnace work harder and be less efficient.
Floors and drafts: If you’ve got hardwood floors, put down some rugs, particularly if you have wood floors above a cold basement. Make sure also that you’ve installed insulation such as weather-stripping at the bottom of doors.
A home office is on its way to becoming an essential item on a house buyer’s wish list. After all, many people work at least part of the time at home — and even if they don’t, they still want somewhere to store the computer and their household papers.
Here are some tips to help you create an attractive home office that you’ll actually want to spend time in.
An attractive place to work
A home office doesn’t have to be just functional — it can be attractive, too. So take as much care with the décor as you would in the other rooms in your house, making sure office furniture and accessories coordinate with wall and floor coverings.
If you don’t have a lot of natural light (or you’ll be working mainly in the evenings), make sure you have good lighting, particularly task lights for illuminating your desk. Include other types of lighting too, so you’ll make the room feel comfortable.
Choose good furniture
It’s essential that your desk and chair are comfortable to work at, so take time choosing them. Make sure the seat and backrest of your chair are adjustable and that the height of your desk is comfortable.
Power and the Internet
Make sure there are plenty of power outlets in the room and easy Internet access. Avoid a “rat’s nest” of cables by bundling them together and tucking them out of sight.
Include good storage
Think carefully about the kind of storage you’ll need and make sure there’s enough of it. Consider stackable boxes to store paperwork efficiently, and an attractive filing cabinet. Put shelves on the walls and use them to store books; add wire baskets to the shelves for documents.
Put up a bulletin board for reminders and other essential information you use every day. Then you’ll avoid ugly sticky notes all over your computer.