Hiring a handyman (or enlisting yourself if you have do-it-yourself skills) to go down your checklist and do minor repairs and upgrades can give the overall appeal of your property a huge boost, while simultaneously giving the home measurable equity.
First of all, upgrades, remodels, and repairs add curb appeal to your home and make it much more alluring and attractive to buyers who tour it. But also important is the fact that professional inspectors, mortgage company appraisers, and your buyer‚Äôs Realtor will scrutinize the home looking for problems and taking an inventory of assets. They will pay special attention to the fact that you have taken care of small problems and give you substantial credit for being a conscientious seller ‚Äì which usually mean the whole house is in above average condition ‚Äì and that could help close the deal faster at a higher price.
¬∑ Dollar for dollar, the best place to put your remodeling money is in painting or kitchen or bathroom improvements. But that kind of project can also be expensive, and you may prefer to do a less costly makeover to generate more bang for the buck.
¬∑ Investors also want to complete fix-ups in the shortest possible amount of time. After all, time is money and home improvement projects can postpone the marketing and sale of your home while you continue to service the mortgage.
Here are some quick tips for accomplishing upgrades on a shoestring budget in a really short period of time:
¬∑ Rather than embarking on a major redo, just focus your attention and money on a few key areas that will stand out and give the entire room a big facelift.
¬∑ For example, instead of spending $20,000 to overhaul the bathroom or $50,000 to install a brand new kitchen, you can just replace some main fixtures like the toilet and sinks.
¬∑ To cut your time and budget even more, consider totally superficial improvements. For instance, replacing the old plastic toilet seat with a new one made of wood can often make the toilet look like new for a fraction of the price.
¬∑ Instead of replacing cabinetry, consider replacing only the drawer and door pulls and knobs. Instead of buying a new sink, just replace the knobs that turn on the hot and cold water and perhaps the faucet.
¬∑ Sometimes it is possible to purchase new doors or face panels for your major appliances. Instead of buying a new oven or refrigerator, for instance, you may be able to buy a new replacement for the over or fridge door ‚Äì which will make it look like brand new from the outside and will help to uplift the look of the entire kitchen.
¬∑ Caulk and paint are relatively cheap and can add dramatic life to a dingy room. To really control your budget you can apply a primer coat and one top coat, instead of two top coats, as long as you choose a top color such as white that easily hides the primer.
¬∑ Light fixtures and ceiling fans are other items that cost little to acquire and install, but they make a big difference in the ambience of a home.
¬∑ Other areas to put on your to-do list should include ripped screens, cracked window panes, broken doorbells, dripping taps, and any damaged floor tiles that can be replaced individually without having to tear up the entire floor.
¬∑ Plants are one of the least expensive ways to add curb appeal, and a few well-placed houseplants can also turn a boring room into an inviting one ‚Äì so don‚Äôt forget to bring the green indoors.
Another clever way to fund your improvements and get them done without having to roll up your sleeves or spend your weekends with a paintbrush in your hand is to barter for them with tenants. For example, if you own a vacation rental, you can offer it for a weekend to a plumber in exchange for remodeling your bathroom. Or you can lease the place that needs improvements to a builder in exchange for a certain number of months worth of free or discounted rental payments. You can either pay for the cost of materials, or work those expenses into the deal. If your tenant is a contractor, her or she may be able to get building supplies at a discount or for wholesale prices, so work that fact into your negotiations for added savings.
To take a real shortcut ‚Äì which doesn‚Äôt actually even involve any repairs or improvements but delivers a similar type of confidence and reassurance to buyers ‚Äì you can purchase home warranty insurance and give it to your buyer. A home warranty policy offers coverage for repair or replacement of items that may include appliances, heating and air conditioning units, electrical systems, or plumbing back-ups. For about $250-$500, depending on the size of the home, you can buy the policy and deliver the next best thing to actual upgrades ‚Äì without lifting a hammer.