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50 Inexpensive Ideas To Enhance The Value of Your Home

50 Inexpensive Home Improvement Tips You Can Do To Enhance The Value of Your Home

Here are 50 inexpensive home improvement tips you can easily do before selling your home in London, Ontario. Time and time again, when I show homes for sale, some or all of these tips would have dramatically sped up or helped the sale, or the seller could have received more money. The little things a buyer sees may be the stumbling block in making an offer on your home. You have one chance of making the first impression when a buyer walks into your house; try one or ten of these; you will sell quicker and, in most cases, receive more money!  

50 inexpensive tips to decorate your home

Tip #1:  Add a basic alarm system.  The number one concern for any resident is security, and if a homeowner does not feel secure, they will eventually move elsewhere.  Many security alarm providers have lucrative introductory offers for equipment and installation. 

Tip #2:  Install matching light fixtures and ceiling fans.  Consider some track lighting with dimmers to highlight artwork or showcase a particular part of the room.  Consider flex track lighting or suspended track lighting. The addition of a dimmer switch makes your lighting more versatile and is a great mood enhancer.  Ceiling fans add value, and you may want to consider adding them in place of staid old light fixtures.  If you don’t want to replace existing ceiling fans, make sure you clean the dust off the blades and update the decorative pulls at the end of the chain.

Tip #3:  Do some basic landscaping, particularly in the front yard.  The front yard is the first thing potential buyers see, so don’t miss out on your chance to pique their interest.  Prospective buyers and tenants make up their minds about your home as they walk the first 10 feet from their car to your front door.  A junky yard will make them think that you’ve neglected maintenance.  A clean yard will reassure them that your home is well kept.  Focus on a clean-cut, straighten up the lawn edges, freshen the landscaping and add some colour spots or striking shrubs for impact.  Mulch is inexpensive, so use it.  If your yard lacks interest, consider constructing a retaining wall.  Use railroad ties, bricks, or stones to build that wall.  The landscape design should complement your home’s style and colours.

Tip #4:  Get a new front door, or give the existing one a facelift.  Paint the front door a complementary but bold colour.  Choose a colour that says, “Look at me!” once you’ve finished painting the door, install a new doorknob that emphasizes sturdiness and class.  Install a new kick-plate that matches your lockset finish.  Remember, while your prospective homebuyer or tenant is waiting for you or the real estate agent to let them in, they observe your front door.  If you have an old storm door, get rid of it.  If you feel the need for a storm door, install one of those with a lot of window space to highlight the bold colour of your front door. 

Tip #5:  Install some blinds and window shades.  Certain rooms could use blinds or shades to emphasize the style.  The living room, kitchen, master bedroom, and master bathroom are the best places to start.  These are the four rooms that prospective buyers and tenants will study most when evaluating your property.  Pick window shades that complement existing furniture or your paint colour.  If you want to stick with inexpensive vinyl blinds, make sure all the rooms blinds match the colour.  When showing a home during the day, you should always have your blinds and shades open to let in abundant light (unless you’ve got a clear view of the mess in your neighbour’s backyard). 

Tip #6:  Get rid of photographs of people.  You may love Aunt Matilda, but you don’t need to have her portrait posted all over the home you’re showing!  Prospective buyers need to imagine themselves living in the house, not you and your family, if you put up photos and display pictures of nature. 

water heater

Tip #7:  Clean off the tops of the water heater, furnace, oil tank, washing machines, and any other mechanical fixture.  Most homeowners don’t bother to do this at all.  Clean the dust and grime off the top of your furnace, water heater, oil tank, washing machines, and so on.  This makes these devices look newer, well-maintained, and clean.  If you have a dirty-looking furnace, don’t be surprised if your buyer demands a concession for a new furnace.  Please don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Tip #8:  Make sure every light bulb in the house works.  Always make sure that every light bulb in your home works.  If the prospective homebuyer or tenant can’t see your place, then you can’t expect them to like your place.  When people see lamps with one good bulb but three burned-out ones, they think you don’t maintain the residence and worry about other deferred maintenance.  Where it’s safe, use higher wattage light bulbs in your lamps for a bright, warm atmosphere.  Also, consider slightly pink-tinted or full-spectrum “natural” light bulbs to create a warm glow for your home. Don’t forget about the bulbs in your basement and your exterior lamps. 

Tip #9:  Place decorative flowers and candles throughout the home.  Fake (or real if you can water them regularly) flowers work wonders.  You can often buy fake flowers at yard sales or in the clearance section of stores.  Candles give the home a romantic or warm feel.  Scented candles are best, and some scents are so strong that homebuyers can smell them even when the candle isn’t burning.  Once you’ve sold the home, pack the flowers and candles in a box and stage your next property. 

Flowers help sell a house

Tip #10:  Place magazines about luxury homes around the house. 
Magazines about elegant homes or sophisticated styles can put prospective homebuyers into the mood.  When they see that bright, shiny issue on your nightstand or coffee table, they envision your property as the stylistic new home that they wish to live in.  Grab some copies of Our House®, Elegant Homes, Beautiful HomesTM, and Better Homes and gardens.

Tip #11:  Refinish your hardwood floors. People like hardwood floors, particularly if the base has a lustre.  If your hardwood floors are stained, you can still sand them and apply a darker finish that hides stains.  If your hardwood floors don’t need to be sanded but have dull spots or cracks, try some off-the-shelf refinishing agents or cleansers. M Murphy’s®l Soap or Rejuvenate polish are personal favourites to restore that classic wood look. 

Tip #12:  Get rid of clutter.  Space sells.  Don’t stuff it in your closets, basement, or garage if you have a mess.  Throw it out or rent some storage space.  Prospective buyers should not feel hemmed in because of all the boxes you have lying around or those old rickety chairs you can’t seem to discard. 

Tip #13:  Shampoo your carpet.  Yes, many people like new carpets for apparent reasons.  However, we can’t always afford to buy new carpet, for obvious reasons.  Rent a carpet cleaning vacuum or hire a shampoo service.  The proper detergent and equipment can remove old stains and make odours disappear. 

Tip #14:  Place air fresheners throughout the home. You’d be amazed at how easy this one is, but how many people don’t do it.  Potpourri and air fresheners set the mood, and people associate fresh scents with cleanliness and purity.  Be careful not to overdo it with the air fresheners, or people will think, ‘you’re trying to hide an odour. 

Tip #15:  Power wash the exterior of the home.  Road dust builds up under overhangs and coverings.  Mould, moss, or insects may accumulate on your siding.  By power washing your place, you’ll find your house that much more inviting from the street.  Even though there’s a for sale sign in the front yard, be advised that many passersby will not call the phone number if the house looks dirty or old.  If they reach the number, they may be looking to give you a lowball offer because they think you can’t afford the upkeep. 

Tip #16:  Install brushed-nickel or brass switch plate and wall outlet covers in the master bedroom, the kitchen, and the dining room.  Many places I’veI’ven for sale do not have matching switch plates and outlet covers.  Some are ivory, some are brown, some are white, and most are dirty.  New outlet covers and switch plates can cost a few cents to several dollars.  You may want to consider installing brushed-nickel or brass covers in your most heavily trafficked rooms.  These covers give the room a look of elegance and style. 

Tip #17:  Replace those old, worn-out doorknobs. I’ve seen doorknobs over 80 years old and painted several times.  Ugh!  Doorknobs can be some of the dirtiest, bacteria-infested items in the house, and don’t prospective buyers know it!  Replace those old doorknobs with new ones.  If you have a brass theme in the room, go with brass.  If it’s-nickel you like (and that’s “ow” days), then go with that look. 

Tip #18:  If you have a paved driveway, reseal it.  If your driveway is paved but is cracked or otherwise in bad shape, repair it and use a driveway sealer.  A sharp-looking driveway is the first thing a prospective buyer sees, and besides, the sealer prevents existing cracks from worsening. 

Tip #19:  Compile a complete list of the warranties on the appliances and fixtures, and leave that list on the kitchen counter.  If your home has been upgraded in recent years, such as a new roof, or if you’ve replaced major appliances, be sure to have the receipts on hand to show interested buyers.  Better yet, type up a list of the warranties and leave copies of that list on the kitchen counter.  Many homebuyers need to feel secure that items in the house are in good working order.  If your home is the only one with warranty information, these buyers may be more likely to make an offer (and a good one at that). 

Tip #20:  Run an air purifier to get rid of those lingering odours. You may be used to the smells in your house, but trust me, no one else is.  If a thorough cleaning and some well-placed potpourri don’t do the trick, then it’s time for an air purifier.  I have an Eco Quest air purifier, and it eliminates the bacteria that can cause odours.  There are less expensive cleaners on the market, so take your pick. An excellent place to run an air purifier is in the basement. 

Tip #21:  Refinish your vinyl or tile floors.  Clean your vinyl and tile floors. Tile floors may need new grout.  Perhaps you need to replace a cracked tile (I should hope you bought one or two extra tiles way back when for just such a need). 

Tip #22:  Spend a day looking at Open Houses held by property sellers.  After observing what other people do with their homes, you will see your home with a fresh perspective.  Plus, you’ll get a feel for what the market values are in your neighbourhood.  Top athletes check out the competition, and top businesspersons check out the competition. 

Tip #23:  Oil door hinges, so they don’t squeak.  You may not notice the squeaking hinge because you’ve heard it so many times, but buyers will wonder what else needs maintenance.  Oil those hinges.  Also, make sure that every door opens and shuts with ease.  Sometimes doors get misaligned, and they don’t move unless you apply lots of pressure. 

Tip #24:  Replace your doorbell if it is old or worn.  One of the first things a prospective homebuyer notice is a doorbell.  Is it old?  Does it work?  Does anyone in the house hear the bell?  Imagine if you’re waiting for a prospective homebuyer to stop by, and you can’t hear them ringing the bell.  Doorbells are inexpensive items, and a new one (at least a new button) will impress your visitors.

Tip #25:  Clean, clean, clean.  Once the potential buyer walks through your front door, they should be wowed by the cleanliness. A sparkling home screams that it’s been adequately maintained. Consider spending a couple of hundred dollars and bring in the professionals for a thorough cleaning. 

Cleaning your home to get it ready to sell on MLS

Tip #26:  Modernize that kitchen.  As the hub of family interaction, the kitchen is the heart of the home.  Brighten the cabinets with a fresh coat of paint or some updated hardware.  Add a new faucet or light fixtures to rejuvenate the space or change the window coverings for a more modern feel.  Buyers are always interested in the kitchen, so try a quick facelift that will turn up the heat on your bottom line.

Tip #27:  Brighten up rooms with new paint.  This one is obvious, but many people still don’t (or do it properly). Fresh paint may be one of the most effective dollar-for-dollar value enhancers.  You can hire a professional or do it yourself.  Choose neutral colours for most rooms, but don’t be afraid to use a bold colour (red? black? violet?) on a wall or two to create contrast or style.  Just don’t go crazy with the bold colours.  Also, consider painting the walls and trim complementary colours. 

Tip #28:  Give the master bedroom a bold and romantic look. 
People associate the master bedroom with romance, authority, comfort, and style.  Give the people what they want!  Buy some new bed sheets or throw pillows.  Consider a new comforter.  Set up candles and flowers.  Get rid of junk. Don’t leave any clothes lying around. 

Organize your house before selling on London Ontario

Tip #29:  Add crown moulding.  It is available in countless colours, widths, and styles – from simple to elegant, classic to contemporary.  Moulding can give an ordinary-looking room the special touch needed to make it stand out. 

Tip #30:  Add landscape lights or a decorative street lamp.  A classy street lamp gets attention, even during the daytime.  Landscape lights can establish security and elegance at the same time. Some homebuyers will view a home during the day and then insist on coming back at night to see how the place looks.  You don’t have to overspend, but consider adding or updating your exterior lamps.

Tip #31:  Install a new mailbox.  Mailboxes can be relatively inexpensive, and install a new one, so your prospective buyers and their prospective houseguests don’t look at that dingy old thing on the front of the house. 

Tip #32:  Remove weeds from between concrete slabs and walkways, and this is a sure sign of property neglect and a big turn-off for potential buyers.  Nowadays, you can buy weed-killing chemicals that destroy unwanted plant life in hours.  Or you can try a solution of 20 percent bleach and 80 percent water. 

Tip #33:  Build a new garage or add a carport.  Every homeowner knows the advantages afforded by a garage, and every prospective buyer will see a garage as a big plus. Carports are a less expensive option. I’ve had clients fall in love with the interior of a home but fail to put in an offer because they complained about the lack of a garage. 

Tip #34:  Install an automatic garage door opener.  Another good way to increase property value is to install a garage door opener.  Select a multi-code garage door opener remote model that routinely changes the code for additional security. 

Tip #35:  Enhance your porch or doorstep with pots or baskets of blooming annuals, an attractive and fragrant way to boost visual appeal and add eye-popping colour.  You can find flower pots at dollar stores, and a bag of topsoil may cost only slightly more than a dollar. A tip to keep flower pots light is to place empty water bottles in the base and cover them with soil.  Sometimes the flowers won’t need alot of dirt, and the empty bottles create space but no added weight.  Ensure you water the plants often enough because dead plants will have the opposite effect of what you intend. 

The Front Door, 10 seconds tp make a good first impression when selling a home in London Ontario

Tip #36:  Give your old BBQ grill a makeover.  Degrease it first, rinse well; repeat if necessary.  Once clean and dry, refinish it using bright fireproof/high-temperature paint.  Select a colour that complements your home’s exterior look.  Or try something fun that will stand out, such as orange, yellow, or blue.

Tip #37:  Install shutter and window box sets that match.  Shutters and window boxes add charm and character to a home.  Some people prefer to place fake flowers in window boxes, while others prefer real ones. 

Tip #38:  Install a skylight dome or roof skylight.  People like natural light, especially light from above.  Skylight installation also increases natural lighting in rooms, making them more inviting and cheerful. 

Tip #39:  Build a mini herb pantry.  Many homes are sold based on the setup of the kitchen.  An herb pantry can be as simple as a cubby hole built into the wall between studs.  Or it may be a closet area converted into an herb pantry with a glass door.

Tip #40:  Add something “green,” like solar panels.  Green is good these days (or any day).  Many homebuyers need to feel like they are doing something good for the planet while saving money at the same time.  Solar panels are in vogue again, and consider installing some of them.  Another green activity that enhances value is to add insulation where it’s needed.

Tip #41:  Empty that cluttered basement. When selling your house in London Ontario, I suggest you empty the cellar as much as possible.  Take your junk to the trash dump or place it in storage.  Homebuyers need to sense that they have lots of open space (to store the waste they have in storage). 

Tip #42:  Trade in those old, leaky faucets for shiny new ones.  We all know that kitchens and bathrooms can attract buyers or repel them.  The centrepiece of any kitchen or bathroom is the sink, and the centrepiece of any sink is the faucet.  Replace them yourself or hire a handyperson.

Tip #43:  Change the filter in your air conditioner.  You want to avoid that musty, stale smell when it is operating.  Change the filter, whether it’s a window air conditioner or a central air system with ductwork. 

Tip #44:  Hang a large mirror in the living room, creating virtual space and the illusion of greater size.  Buyers and renters love open space, and give it to them!

Tip #45:  Make sure the colours of your kitchen appliances match.  A kitchen with a yellow refrigerator, a stainless steel range, and a white microwave may look okay to you, but it doesn’t to buyers.  Make sure you match the colours.  This may not require purchasing all new appliances, and sometimes it’s a matter of ordering the right colour panels. 

Tip #46:  Hang new towel bars and toilet paper holders.  Once you’ve replaced the bathroom faucet, you’ll want to hang the towel rack and toilet paper holder to match it.  Make sure that you have a roll of toilet paper on the holder.  I suggest you hang a decorative towel on the bar, making the bathroom look complete.

Tip #47:  Run a dehumidifier.  A perpetually damp basement or bathroom can be the breeding ground for mould, odours, and insects.  Neither mould nor odour nor insect helps your cause.  Run a dehumidifier to dry the air and cut down on the musty smell. 

Tip #48:  Paint the fence or railings surrounding your home.  A freshly painted fence creates a tremendous Wow factor! Prospective homebuyers often observe the exterior of a property before even considering whether to view the interior. You may even inspire your neighbours to paint their fences and railings to keep up with you by repainting the fence.  Spray paint works well on metal or cast-iron railings, and be sure to use a primer first.

Tip #49:  Install new street numbers on the front of your home.  When prospective buyers drive around the neighbourhood to find your address, their eyes will gravitate toward bright, shiny, new street numbers.  It only costs a few dollars to buy new brass or brushed-nickel numbers to identify the front of your property boldly, and this is money well spent.

Tip #50:  Use throws in colours that match the room to cover up a worn sofa and chair upholstery.  You could attempt to buy all new furniture to spruce up space where you want to sell or rent.  Or if all new furniture is not in your budget, buy some throws and pillows to place on your furniture. 

These 50 tips will start enhancing your home’s value when listing your house for sale in London Ontario, how you market it, where and when, and the price offered will dictate the value. Doing one without the other is penny-wise, pound foolish!

Before I list a home for sale, I do an exhaustive home audit that entails going through your home room by room, grading each, offering ideas, or commenting on that room that may affect the price you can expect to receive!

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