You've probably heard that your home will sell for more money if you can make improvements before putting it on the market. This can be tough when you're on a tight budget. Fortunately, there are several budget-friendly DIY projects that can make your home stand out to home buyers, leading to faster and bigger offers.
Carpet Tear Out
Carpet can start to look worn and dirty over time. Under the right circumstances, tearing out your home's carpeting and cleaning up the flooring underneath can be an inexpensive way to freshen and beautify your home.
To tear out your home's carpet, simply lift the edge of the carpet starting from a corner of the room, then pull. Carpet can be easily cut into strips with a blade, rolled up into bundles and hauled out by hand. Underneath the carpet there should be a layer of padding, then a layer of tack strip to hold the carpet in place. Once the tack strip is removed, there may be small nail holes in the floor. These holes can be patched and painted or varnished to match the surrounding floor.
A carpet tear out project can be a gamble, because most homeowners have no way of knowing what kind of flooring exists underneath their carpet, or what condition it's in. If you know that your home has viable flooring underneath the carpet (hardwood floors, for example), and that flooring was in good condition when the carpeting was installed, this may be a good project for you.
Cabinet refinishing can give your kitchen a newly remodeled appearance. This is a good project in a home with outdated or worn cabinetry. To refinish your home's cabinets, start by unscrewing the doors and removing the drawers from the cabinets. Take off the hardware like knobs and hinges.
If your cabinets are made of wood, clean the wood thoroughly to remove any grease, then sand down the existing finish. Once the cabinets have been disassembled, cleaned and sanded, it's time to start painting. The colour you pick to paint your cabinets should depend on the layout and appearance of your kitchen. Dark kitchens and small kitchens can benefit from light- or medium-toned cabinetry, while darker colours are acceptable in bigger and brighter rooms.
Since you're painting your cabinets for the purposes of selling your home, it's a good idea to pick neutral colours. Gray, white, cream, beige, chocolate brown and black are all acceptable colours that are home buyer-friendly.
Refinish the Deck
Decks are a popular item among home buyers, but an older deck can start to look worn and damaged. Refinishing your deck is a great way to add to spruce up your home's exterior. To refinish your deck, start by cleaning the surface and standing down the old finish. You may need to use a power washer to remove any mold or mildew on the deck.
Fill any holes in the deck with wood filler, then sand down the surface of the deck. Clean the deck one more time to get rid of any saw dust. When you're done, coat the deck with stain and sealer, or with a couple coats of paint. It's important to coordinate the colour of the deck with the colour of the home's exterior. Like the cabinets inside the kitchen, neutral colours are often preferred by home buyers.
Landscape Clean Up
Your landscaping can have a big influence on your home's curb appeal, and can shape a buyer's first impression of your property. Cleaning up your landscaping can easily be done on a budget. There are many things you can do to clean your landscaping, including:
- Trim overgrown trees and shrubs.
- Remove branches that hang over the house.
- Cut the grass on a regular basis.
- Water your garden two or three times per week, or more often in times of dry weather.
- Weed regularly.
- Use mulch to help with soil moisture retention and to prevent the spread of weeds in the garden.
- Edge the lawn.
- Remove all debris from the lawn (including leaves and stray sticks).
These maintenance and clean-up activities can make a big difference when it's time to sell your home – even if you live in a popular neighborhood like Downey. If you're able to invest a little money in your front yard, plant shrubs and flowers that will bloom at the time your home goes up for sale.
Work With Your Real Estate Professional
A reputable real estate professional should be able to help you decide which projects will be most valuable to home buyers. When it's time to decide which improvements to make, contact your real estate professional for a consultation.