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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Planning to sell your house soon?

Or do you just want to make it a little more livable? Whether you plan to move or stay, you don't have to spend a lot of money to update your home and make it both more marketable and more enjoyable.

"Too many people redo their home when they are ready to move and wish they had done so earlier so they could have enjoyed it," says realtor Ainsley Bowen of @Homes Realty Group in Huntsville, Ala. "If you do the work as you go, it will be less expensive and time consuming when you do decide to put it on the market."

Here are five easy ways to improve the value of your home without breaking the bank:

1. Spring cleaning

One of the best ways to make your home more ready for sale or more livable for your own family is simply to "do a major clean up," says Bowen. That might include fresh paint, cleaning the windows inside and out, and replacing things that might be broken or outdated, such as ceiling fans or bathroom faucets. Look around your home with a critical eye and try to see what areas need cleaning up, and what areas are outdated. Look through home magazines to get ideas about the current styles and compare them to the colors and fixtures in your home.

"Always keep your house up to date and looking show-ready because you never know what life will throw your way and it is best to be prepared in case," Bowen says. "People who come to your home may eventually buy it, so always have it ready."

2. Get organized

 Another inexpensive but effective way to improve your home is simply to organize everything. That means finding a place for every item and getting rid of items you no longer use or love. Bowen recommends organizing your garage space the same way you organize the closets and cabinets inside your home. "Make it appear you are very detailed and [potential buyers] will assume the home is well maintained," Bowen says.

Not only will you enjoy living in a decluttered, organized space, but when it comes time to sell, "a home that has obviously been well maintained makes a better impression on the buyer," says Realtor Nick Pappas, broker at @Homes Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala.

3. Trim - or replace - the hedges

 "Landscape and curb appeal are a must," Bowen says. "When your house is on the market, clean the outside just like you would the inside."

Even if your house isn't on the market, a little landscaping can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your home. And it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Find a locally owned nursery, where the staff is usually knowledgeable about plants and landscape design. Show them photos of your yard and ask for suggestions of the best plants and placement to improve it. When planting, be sure to consider the eventual size of plants and trees, giving them room to grow rather than planting them too closely.

4. Update key areas

  If you plan to undertake extensive updates and can't decide which projects should take priority, concentrate on the kitchen and the bathrooms. Those are the areas that really make an impression for potential buyers, and the ones that you're likely to enjoy most while you're still living there. Consider granite countertops in the kitchen and master bathroom, or a tile backsplash in the kitchen and tile shower in the bathroom. If you're painting, stick with neutral colors, as more uncommon shades can make it difficult to sell the home.

5. Rethink your entrance

 Your front entrance offers a first impression to everyone who enters your home, whether they're house-shopping or just visiting, so consider it a prime spot for an upgrade. Think about a new planter, wreath, trim work, or door hardware. "Paint that front door if it needs it, as that is where the buyer spends some time as the agent is unlocking the door," Pappas says.

 

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