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Get Your Home Ready for the Big Sale

filed under: For Sellers posted on December 9th, 2013

The Wall Street Journal reports that almost 50 percent of the home sales so far this year have been cash sales. These people are looking for homes that are ready to move into without a lot of repairs needing to be done. This list of projects and repairs will get you ready to put your home on the market and start attracting buyers with money in their pockets.

First Impressions Make a Difference7627_home sales_rs

What’s the curb appeal of your home? When you walk up to it from the street, what catches your eye? Your first project should be to make that walk up to the house as inviting as possible.

Clean up the landscape and the yard. Clean the path up to the front door by removing weeds and repairing the walkway surface. Paint any wooden stairs that lead to the front of the house. At the entrance, repair and paint any surfaces that stand out. Put up a new porch light to brighten up the exterior after dark. Replace house numbers, door knockers, mailboxes or anything else that is on the porch.

A couple gallons of paint for around $38 from the local home improvement store should be all you need. House numbers and door knockers could set you back another $40. Mailboxes could run you from $60 to $100 depending on the style. For less than $200, you can create a very welcoming entryway. When doing this, think “touch up” instead of remodel.

Windows, Doors and Screens

MSN Real Estate reminds you that it’s not expensive to replace torn or damaged screens on porch doors and windows. A torn screen makes the house look like it hasn’t been maintained. New screens freshen up the windows and doors with little expense and effort. Screen material and the rubber strip that holds it in place runs about $9 per door or window.

Having the Right Balance

Realtor.com notes that you can easily slip into the scenario of doing too little or too much on your home before putting it on the market. The right balance is finding those needy areas that stand out, and a little bit of attention will have a positive impact on the buyer. Clean kitchen cabinets with new hardware will have more impact than replacing the old wiring in the garage.

Kitchen Cabinets

Walk into a kitchen and the first thing seen is the condition of the cabinets. Remove all of the hardware and clean the cabinet surfaces thoroughly. Use liquid sand to deglaze them. Paint the cabinets and doors and attach new handles and hinges. The whole kitchen looks fresher with a clean set of cabinets.

This will be one of your most expensive and time consuming jobs, but if the kitchen cabinets are the worst thing about the house, then you might consider it. You’ll spend roughly $24 per cabinet if you do the following to each one:

  • deglaze and sand
  • paint
  • replace handles and hinges

Fix All Leaks

Repair the leaks in any faucet in the house. You’ll save money doing it yourself rather than calling a plumber–which can run around $65/hour. There are many resources online to help, including Bob’s Plumbing Videos, which shows you step-by-step how to fix leaky faucets, toilets and other common plumbing issues. Parts are easy to find online. Review the Apple Rubber seal guide to find the right washers for all of your faucets. You’ll spend less than $3 to fix each faucet leak.

Clean Kitchen Appliances

Find a soft cleaning compound and bring a shine back to all of your appliances. Remove burners, knobs, handles and any other hardware from the stove, refrigerator and dishwasher to clean behind them. Replace damaged or broken handles, especially those where the markings have worn off. Replace burners and drip pans on the oven. Replace any damaged or rusty shelves in the dishwasher.

Clean and repair handles if possible, as new ones can cost $12 each. Burners and drip pans cost about $6 each at an appliance parts store.

Leverage Versus Value

The goal of all of these DIY jobs, except the kitchen cabinet work, is to make your home more competitive in the market. Broken screens aren’t going to be a negotiating point, but it could result in people driving by your house without taking a second look.

The kitchen cabinet work can be considered remodeling and can add up to 66 percent return on investment, says U.S. News. Remodeling projects can become a negotiating tool, and if you put $2,000 into the kitchen and get that back in the house sale, you’re better off than the buyers asking for a $2,000 reduction because the kitchen looks old.

Author:  Byron Fernandez

Byron focuses on xeriscaping and native plants when he designs landscapes

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