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Secrets of Cost-Effective Home Improvements

sears outletYou may have lived in your home for many years and while you have taken care of routine maintenance when needed, it is possible that you have done little in the way of updating as you have never felt the need. When it comes time to sell though, if you are prepared to invest a little time and effort, this can have a significant effect on how much you will realize from the sale of your home. 

I have helped many home sellers to prepare their home for sale, often by making significant changes to bring it up to date before listing for sale. The object is always to ensure that every dollar spent returns much more than a dollar in increased value, so in this article, I want to discuss which home improvements you should consider and how you can maximize that return.

Paint, Carpet, Ceilings etc.

New paint is without question the most cost-effective improvement a home owner can make. This applies to both the interior and exterior of your home and in addition to making your home look and smell fresh, it provides the opportunity to change to today’s more popular paint colors that are very different from the nineteen-eighties ones (hint: avoid cold white!).

When re-painting an older home, don’t forget the ceilings and if you still have “popcorn” on the ceilings, you really should have it removed. Most buyers hate popcorn ceilings and this is an extremely cost-effective improvement.

Couple new interior paint with new carpet and the overall effect is outstanding. Carpet is surprisingly affordable and you don’t need the best quality if the objective is to sell your home for the best price. Finally, to complete the transformation, replace any dated items of trim, such as low profile baseboards. This gives a great finishing touch.

Kitchen and Bathrooms

A kitchen or bathroom remodel can cost as much as you want to spend and many people will tell you that you won’t recoup the expense. This is definitely not the case if you shop wisely and make the right kind of changes. Nothing devalues a home like an old kitchen so if that describes your kitchen, updating it should be a high priority.

If you have sound cabinets with solid wood doors and drawers that open and close smoothly, I suggest painting or re-finishing them. This is not generally a do it yourself project though. Appropriate preparation is essential and for best effect, all hardware should be replaced at the same time.

If they are not so good, re-facing the cabinets and replacing drawers and door fronts may be more appropriate than new cabinets although it is surprising how cost-effectively you can install new cabinets if you have the right sources.

Counter tops can be another problem. Tile can be re-grouted If the color is not too objectionable but otherwise, replacement is advised. Here, I strongly suggest granite for widest appeal and it is surprisingly affordable if you know where to source it.

Appliances will often need to be replaced and here the key is to buy expensive looking ones at the lowest prices and stores like Airport Appliance or Sears Outlet are good sources.

Don’t neglect the lighting. Fluorescent tubes have to go and exactly what to replace them with will depend on your individual kitchen. There is always a cost-effective solution though.

Bathroom Improvements

It is generally accepted that you can spend as much on updating a bathroom as you can on a kitchen. Still, there is much that can be done without spending a fortune. Vanities can be treated like kitchen cabinets.  Older vanity tops should certainly be replaced and new faucets etc. are very affordable.

Tubs and showers can present more of a challenge and replacement can certainly be expensive. What I often recommend is a thorough cleaning, re-grouting tiles and replacing faucets etc. and glass sliding doors with new ones. When a bath or shower is in poor condition or the color makes it appear very dated, consider having it professionally re-finished by a company such as Miracle Method. The results are amazing.

If you would like to have an assessment of cost-effective improvements that could be made to your home or if you have any questions or comments, regarding sources etc., please do not hesitate to contact me on (925) 997-1585 or email There is never any obligation and I am always happy to hear from you.


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