If you're planning to sell the home in which you've spent most of your adult life and downsize to a smaller place with less upkeep, you may be looking at your surroundings with a newly critical eye. The imperfections inherent in a home that has been well-used over the years can be endearing and even bring back memories for homeowners, but they will likely just look like chipped paint or stained carpet to prospective buyers. What can you do to quickly get your home into showroom shape without cutting into your sales profit? Read on to learn more about the most effective pre-listing improvements you can do yourself, as well as some for which you may want to enlist professional assistance.
What pre-listing improvements can you perform yourself?
Much of what you'll need to do to make your home "show" better is purely cosmetic. Repainting your home in a neutral color can help you mask many imperfections and give buyers more of a blank slate within which to imagine their own furniture and decor. Before repainting, you'll be able to patch any holes you've accumulated in the drywall over the years, from the dents and dings caused by furniture to pinpricks and nail holes from where you've hung artwork. After your paint job has been completed, you'll be left with a fresh-smelling and immaculate series of walls that can help your home appear brand new again.
You should be able to do this repainting yourself by purchasing a few gallons of neutral paint (high gloss or semi-gloss is usually the best choice to repel handprints and surface dirt), some paint rollers, painting tape, and a plastic or canvas tarp to protect your floors. After taping off any areas that aren't to be painted (like baseboards, crown molding, or door jambs), you'll want to fill in holes or other imperfections with drywall putty and level the surface with a putty knife. Once the putty has dried in place, you'll use the paint roller to fully cover the surface of the wall with a thin layer of paint. Depending upon the color of the paint you're covering, you may be able to get by with a single layer of high-quality paint; for darker paint, several layers may be necessary.
By that same token, replacing older or worn flooring can be a cost-effective way to give your home a facelift. Just as neutral, newly-painted walls can encourage buyers to imagine their own artwork or family photos hanging in your home, new floors can rejuvenate a room and eliminate any lingering odors or stains (particularly if you're replacing carpet in a home with pets).
While you may be willing to give your prospective buyers a generous allowance to purchase and install their own floors after closing, many buyers are unable or unwilling to look this far ahead, and may simply write your home off as an option due to the worn or dirty-looking carpets or damaged laminate or hardwood floors.
Many household flooring options once required professional installation for a seamless look. However, many brands of laminate, engineered hardwood, and even carpet are now designed with the do-it-yourselfer in mind. These solid-surface flooring panels often snap together to create a "floating floor," rather than requiring installation with nails and glue; meanwhile, carpet can come with an attached underlayment to provide additional cushioning and allow you to install it in a one-step process.
When may you need to hire professional help?
Although painting and installing new flooring are both projects that can be performed by the handy homeowner with just a few small tools, there are some situations in which having a professional do this work is the best option.
For those who have chemical sensitivities or whose homes have high ceilings, DIY repainting may not be safe. Even low-VOC paints can create some fumes, and those who become dizzy or get migraines upon exposure to paint fumes will want to avoid spending time in even a well-ventilated room with drying paint. Balancing on a ladder to paint a high ceiling can also be dangerous for the novice painter, and may be a duty best farmed out to those who paint for a living.
Flooring installation is fairly low-impact, but those with knee issues or other orthopedic problems can find the squatting and kneeling unpleasant. You'll also need to be able to move all the furniture out of (and back into) each room as the flooring is replaced, which can put strain on your spine and other joints.
Most homeowners paid an average of only around $1,600 for repainting services. When you consider the opportunity cost of your home sitting on the market (along with a potentially lower sales price if you do go under contract), making this investment can often pay off in the long run, even if a DIY painting job would cost slightly less. If you're looking for a company to help with your house painting, contact a company like J Maintenance Co.
Flooring is slightly more expensive, with most homeowners paying about $2,850 to replace the floors in an average-sized house -- but again, this can be an investment that lets your home sell quickly and for a higher price than you'd otherwise be able to receive.