Many people have a horizon for when they’ll be selling their homes. It could be a year, two years, or five years. The family is growing and they need larger quarters… the kids are grown and they want to downsize… the home is too large as they get older… Florida is alluring… or whatever the reason. When the time comes to put the home on the market, they go all out painting, updating and replacing.
Why put all that money, time, and effort into the home for a new owner? Instead, put that money, time, and effort into a home you’ll enjoy for however long you stay there. When I’ve staged homes for clients who are getting ready to put their homes on the market, I’ve heard so many say, “I wish I had done that sooner so I could have enjoyed it.” Don’t be one of those people.
Take a Good Look at Your Kitchen
An overhaul to your kitchen can be very costly, but there are a few small changes that will make a major difference.
• The least expensive thing to do is give your kitchen a new coat of paint in a color that works with the color of your counters and cabinets.
• Replacing cabinets can be expensive. If your cabinets are out of date or in need of re-doing, think about painting them and changing the knobs, handles, and hinges. That alone can make a big difference.
• Countertops can be another costly investment. If yours are worn or in need of replacement, think about going with a laminate instead of investing in granite or other high-end countertops. Laminates have come a long way in recent years; they offer a wide variety of colors and textures.
• Take all the clutter off your refrigerator door. A refrigerator door looks messy when it’s covered with your kid’s school schedules, magnets, photos, calendars, or anything else. Instead put these items in the inside a door, closet, or cabinet.
• Organize the cupboards and pantry. Remove excess stuff-you know the items you haven’t used in years and probably never will.
• Choose an attractive centerpiece for your kitchen table. Use a vase of flowers, a bowl full of fruit, a ceramic or glass piece, or anything else that appeals to your taste.
• Add a plant or two plants to liven up the room.
Now, Take a Look at Your Bathroom
The appeal of a lovely bathroom can remind you of a luxury hotel or soothing spa. You can create a taste of that in your bathroom.
• Any bathroom can be instantly transformed by adding beautiful, soft towels that you display decoratively. You can purchase a wall-wine rack, roll the towels, and place them where the wine bottles would go. Or you can roll a few towels in a basket with fragrant soaps, bath oils, natural loofahs, and candles to create a spa-like atmosphere.
• Clear off the counters. That includes toothbrushes, the jar of cotton balls, the roll of paper towels, and everything else that clutters the counter. (Instead of having everything on the counter, go to a store such as the Container Store where you’ll find all sorts of caddies, shelves, holders, and de-clutter items.) Get an attractive soap dish or use liquid soap with a dispenser for the bathroom counter.
• If your tub is old and worn and the tiles in your shower are no longer attractive, you can call a company such as Bath Fitter to install a new tub and wall right over the old one. Bath Fitter claims to do the installation in just one day.
• Mirrors often de-silver after years in the bathroom. Replace them, perhaps with mirrors with a lovely frame.
• Replace the faucets, knobs or door pulls, and towel racks for an updated look.
• Include a vase with flowers, pussy willows, or leaves. Either pick them from your garden or get silk ones.
In and Around the House
Take a look around your home to see what else you may be able to update or redo:
• If your wooden floors are worn or dirty from all the years of walking on them, it’s time to have them sanded and coated with polyurethane.
• If your carpets are stained or no longer look clean, it may be time to have them professionally cleaned or replaced.
• If your wallpaper is peeling (and that generally starts at the seams), it’s time to remove the paper and re-paper or paint?
• If your walls are full of fingerprints from the kids or the paint isn’t looking fresh and clean, it’s time to repaint.
• If shingles on your roof are coming lose, it’s time to have the roof looked at and perhaps redone.
• If your driveway has excessive cracks, it may be time for a topcoat or more.
• If you have shutters, make sure the paint is fresh and the shutters they’re attached firmly to the house.
• If your shingles or anything on the outside creates an eyesore, take corrective action.