3 tips for boosting home's appeal this Spring:
- Decorative pot with plants, twigs or other decorative elements on front steps
-Smell-test your house. This isn't about baking cookies before a showing. Does your hall closet smell like the vacuum cleaner? How does your oven smell? Garbage disposal?
-Warm up with the right lights. If you have put in CFL bulbs and the place looks cold or flat, warm up with CFLs rated with Kelvins between 2400 to 2700, for a yellowish light. Those with higher Kelvins look cold.
TIPS IN CHICAGO MAGAZINE COVER STORY:
FAST LANE (SELL THIS YEAR)
-Wrap your water heater in insulation
-Install a low-flow showerhead
(all cost $100 or less)
(Make selected changes, not whole-room fixes)
-Refinish or paint existing cabinets
-Replace sub-par appliances-but don't go for the super high-end replacements.
-New toilet seats, towel racks, light fixtures,
(What will people see from your front steps, where they're likely to wait while real estate agent opens the door?)
-Get trees and shrubs trimmed.
-Use a weed and feed for spring greenup
-Paint or refinish the front door
But don't make it look like a high-maintenance yard; buyers won't want to take on the cost.
MEDIUM LANE (SELL IN A FEW YEARS)
-If furnace or water heater will need replacing at sale time, do it now or soon, not at sale time, when you're going to have other expenses
-Pay attention to the roof: if you let it go so long that it needs a tearoff, that's 3 times the cost of a new layer.
-Expand into space you have Basement, attic and back yard.
-Cheaper to work with the footprint you have than to add new structure
Look at local norms and comps. If what everybody has but you don't is a basement family room, then make that a priority to make yours competitive
-Make the back yard living space. Invest in a deck, a grilling station, built-in seating. (But don't get the high-maintenance items like a hot tub or waterfall)
(The value difference between a $5,000 fridge and a $1,500 fridge at sale time is zero_
Many buyers will want to make their own choices later, so do mid-priced upgrades.
In a bathroom, new shower doors, a pedestal sink or flooring can upgrade the room without a huge investment.
SLOW LANE (STAYING FOR THE LONG TERM)
need a mud room, workout room, computer work room? How can spaces be re-apportioned or re-assigned? Small additions-'bumpouts'-may help.
Rather than retrofit the whole house all at once when need strikes, gradually make changes
Consider creating a first-floor master if you don't have one-or at least add a first-floor full bath.