Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Consider Inexpensive Updates Before You Put Your House on the Market

If you run a Google search looking for tips on getting your house ready to sell, you just might get overwhelmed. Many articles' tips are pretty expensive. Repaint the entire house? Install hardwoods? I think not.

Really, you don't need to spend gobs of money. Nor do you need to hire a staging professional with a professional fee. Good news, right?

In my last post, I talked about getting your house ready to show. These were the practical matters: clearing out, storing away, spiffing up, and cleaning everywhere. Once you've done that, look around to see what little things you could do to give your home an updated look or a warmer, cozier feel.

Here are some ideas that won't break the bank:

Hardware. If your cabinet and drawer pulls are outdated, think about replacing them. And, although you can spend a lot of money here if you want to, you don't have to. There are plenty of inexpensive options. The same goes for switch plates and electrical outlet plates.

Bathmats and hand towels. You can easily freshen up the look of your bathrooms by changing out the bathmats and hand towels. I have "show towels" that no one is allowed to use. They only make an appearance when we have showings, and they always look plush and fresh.

Welcome mats. I really liked my old welcome mat. It featured the London Underground symbol and the warning, "Mind the Gap." But I'd had it for a few years, and it was looking drab and worn. A quick trip to Target and I had a new cheerful welcome mat.

Dishtowels. I bought a set of pretty green and cream dishtowels at TJ Maxx that hang on the oven door. I do NOT use them on my dishes; they are for looks only. You may opt for a decorative dish towel that's more of an accessory than a utilitarian item.

Accent pillows. These can cozy up a room as well as kick things up a notch. In real life, I'm not an accent pillow kind of girl. They just get in the way. But they look good. If you like the idea, hit stores like Tuesday Morning, TJ Maxx, or Target for a few inexpensive pillows for your bedrooms, family room, or living room. Or all three.

Throw rugs. See above. Indoor/outdoor rugs are not very expensive at all. I bought one several years ago to use in our foyer, but recently I had the inspiration to move it into the kitchen. It fits perfectly and looks fabulous. You can also put one on your deck or patio to liven things up.

Houseplants. There's just something about houseplants. I have three golden pothos plants: one is on a plant stand in the master bath, the other is on a table in the hall, and the third is just clippings from the other two in a vase of water, which sits on my desk in the family room. I also have two small orchids on my kitchen window sill. If you have pets, be careful with houseplants; many are toxic to dogs and cats, even my pothos. I am vigilant about keeping my plants out of my dogs' reach.

New bedding. You can find comforter sets at great prices at some of the discount stores, like Tuesday Morning, Old Time Pottery, TJ Maxx, Marshall's, and even Wal-Mart and Target. Another option is to invest in a new quilt or throw to fold across the bottom of the bed.

Placemats. These add oomph without a high price tag. You can also splurge and buy coordinating cloth napkins. Fan them out with a napkin ring and lay atop the placemats.

Accessory mix-up. Maybe you don't need to spend any money; you simply need to look at your possessions in a new light. Just because my cut crystal vase has lived in my china cabinet for years doesn't mean it can't find a new address. I can fill it with flowers (hydrangeas from my yard?) and set it on top of my piano for a fresh look.

Light fixtures. We replaced the light fixtures above our bathroom sinks in the master bath with inexpensive fixtures from Home Depot. If replacement isn't in your budget or your inclination, consider paint. In our second house, I painted the breakfast room chandelier black. In this house, I painted the brassy powder room fixture black and replaced the sconces. It looks great!

Bathroom grout. Honestly, I scrubbed and Tilexed the grout in the master bath shower a multitude of times, but it stayed dingy and gray in places. Turns out it's stained. If this is the case in your bathrooms, get yourself some grout paint pens. They come in a variety of colors, so you can pick the one that matches your grout. Or pick another color and redo the whole thing. I was dreading this project because I thought it would be tedious and time-consuming. While it wasn't the funnest thing I've ever done, the pens are easy to use and make quick work of it. And the grout looks so much better!

These are just a few quick and easy ideas to help you freshen up the look of your home before you list it for sale. In my next post, I'll talk about staging your home for an actual showing.

What little things have you done to your house before selling it? Leave a comment to spread the word!

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