I often get calls from people asking my advice on what they areas of home improvement would bring them the most return on their investment when selling? Not everyone can afford to remodel their bath or add on a family room. It is especially important to address the needs of those people who want to spruce up their homes without spending the big bucks.
There is help! I have compiled a list of ten items which will I believe will make your home feel brand new and help you to fall in love with your home all over again! Whether you are getting your home ready to put on the market or you are just looking to add some pizzazz to your surroundings, these low-cost improvements will help you achieve that goal.
Front Doors - This is a much neglected area that people don't think twice about-and yet this is the first thing people see when walking toward your house. For a small investment you can replace the front door with either wood or laminate products. There are many styles and price ranges to choose from. If you can't afford a new door then why not paint the old one? Just remember that the most important part about this fix-up is the prep work. Check with your local paint dealer to find out the best methods and the best products in which to use. Not all primers are designed for high traffic areas so make sure you buy the right one. The same goes for the paint. It doesn't cost anything to ask questions. And while you are at it consider cleaning up the front area by getting rid of unruly vegetation and weeds. With spring around the corner some pretty flowering plants would add life and color to your entrance.
Garages - Now here's a subject that every one of us can relate to! Once again you don't need to spend a fortune. If you can afford to replace your garage door then great. If not, spend the time sprucing it up with paint and perhaps even replacing rotting wood. And don't forget to lubricate the wheels on your garage door opener. We don't realize the wear and tear that comes with opening and closing the garage door several times a day. Now let's move on to storage. Get rid of things that you don't use and organize the things that you do use. Inexpensive shelving can be a big help in making the most out of the space that you have. If you are able to paint the inside it your garage will take on fresh appearance. Some people even apply an epoxy to the floor but that is not always necessary. A good power wash will take away much of the dirt and give it a new look.
Kitchens - Clean or re-stain cabinets that you can't afford to replace. You can even paint the existing cabinets but make sure to check with your paint specialist for the right products to use. There is a great new application for kitchen counters can replicate the look of granite with the cost. Here is the website: http://gianigranite.com/. One caveat to remember is practice. Here is a clip from CBS and Harry Smith with “Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5239293n. There are also numerous YouTube home videos with consumers taking you the before, during and after process. If you prefer using faux granite or stainless steel contact paper (yes, that’s right contact paper!) please go to: http://www.stainlesssteelfilm.com/. This clip from the Rachel Ray show will blow you away! You could never tell that the counter top isn’t real granite! Next, replace old hardware for something more up-to-date. Replace faucets and or sinks. And then there’s paint. Paint, paint, paint your walls! A cheap alternative that comes a world of difference! You can use many faux techniques to bring in a Tuscan look or a more whimsical finish. Play with the different mediums and have fun!
Baths - Can't upgrade to a new vanity? Then consider painting the old one. Again, check with your paint specialist for the right products to use. An espresso color with nickel hardware will refresh the entire room. If your sink or tub and tiles are stained and worn try using a bit of bleach and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser-it works miracles! It even makes the grout look new again. If needed re-grout or re-caulk. If you have some money in the budget but can’t replace an old sink or bathtub then invest in re-surfacing. Check your local area for experts in this field.
Carpeting - If you can't replace your existing carpet why not bring in a commercial carpet cleaner in for a deep cleaning that goes one step further than most residential carpet cleaning companies. Provided your carpet isn't worn, commercial carpet cleaners are able to remove much more of the grease and grime. They may charge a bit more but the results are amazing.
Furniture Placement - Re-arrange your furnishings and accessories. If you don't have the time nor the talent then get help from friends or staging professionals. Some stagers/interior re-design experts will charge a small fee and some charge by the hour. It helps to have someone outside of the home come in and look at the space from a different perspective.
Wallpaper - Remove dated wallpaper and paint! Low cost and what a difference it will make! Check with your local hardware store to make sure that you use the right products to remove wallpaper and boarders.
Fixtures - Replace dated fixtures. Menards, Home Depot, and Lowes, etc. all carry discounted items or special orders that were never picked up at great prices. Re-sale shops are also a great source for picking up fixtures for a nominal price. Some old fixtures can even be painted (another inexpensive alternative) that will change the look completely and bring the piece up-to-date.
Windows - Wash your windows! This is a simple fix that makes a world of difference. Do the job yourself or check local ads for window washes in your area. Look through the coupons you get in the mail. You would be surprised to find the many deals that are offered.
Remove Dated Artwork - If you have some artwork with pink, pale green and mauve colors but you have a beautiful frame try replacing the print. Local garage sales and re-sale shops have beautiful prints in ugly frames that you can purchase with limited funds. Simply replace the print and/or the mat and you have an updated look for a fraction of what a new piece of art word cost.
With a little labor of love you can turn your surroundings into your dream home now and YES—you CAN fall in love with your home once again. The home is the center of your family life. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to add fresh details into your surroundings. Why not invest some time and make your home a warm environment for your family and friends.