To be clear, we're not curing COVID in today's article. Though I am starting to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel of masks and fogged up glasses.
Today, we're trying to cure your home's most glaring issues and we're aiming to do that on a budget. I also feel I should clarify that we're not working with one of those "budgets" on the home improvement shows that include five figures (Who do those people think we are?).
Our goal today is to get your home looking less dated and ready for the impending springtime showings. Let's go!
We always start outside the home and today is no different. While shopping for homes in Southern New Hampshire a few years ago I couldn't help but notice all of the overgrown shrubs "protecting" people's front doors.
I recognize as New Englanders we're a private people, but come on. Not only do those overgrown shrubs make you look like a serial killer, it cheapens the home and makes it look drabby and unkempt.
We've certainly covered the maintenance of your shrubberies in past articles. For today let's just focus on your front door. As a potential buyer (or friendly visitor) I don't want any part of your greenery touching me when I walk up to your door. Make sure anything overhanging isn't hanging on my head and nothing bordering the walkway or front steps brushes against my arm. Just imagine the morning after a rainy New Hampshire day (I know, hard to imagine!) and I'm walking up to your front door. Am I going to arrive with dry sleeves? If not, get trimming.
Once we're inside, especially those homes built and decorated in the 70's, we are faced with someone's questionable carpeting decisions. Bless their hippie hearts. But remember, today is all about budget so what are we to do?
The reality is we can't always just rip up the carpet and put down hardwood floors. That is way too pricey for our budget-friendly "cures." If you don't hit the jackpot and find hardwood under the carpet you just ripped up, it really is OK to simply re-carpet the room. I probably wouldn't recommend going with orange shag, but that's just me. You do you.
Of course, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't recommend you go with a neutral tone and a short "pile." You'll love it. They are more durable. And the potential buyers will appreciate the effort.
Sometimes even replacing the carpeting can bump the budget towards busting. In these cases consider simply covering the carpet with some rugs. I know this sounds like something your grandmother did back in the day, but it really can work. Especially in smaller rooms that don't get lots of traffic, a couple runners or an area rug can either completely cover the room or even just bring a touch of highlight and color to an otherwise drab area. The rug can cover unsightly stains or damage as well. It's really a great solution and super budget friendly.
Get creative with a wall or even a section of a wall. Built-in shelves are cool, but they can also seem outdated and really detract from the updates you are doing to the room. In the past we have recommended painting a single "highlight" wall a different color and this is another great opportunity for that strategy. Painting or even (gasp) wallpapering a single wall or section is a great way to cover up an unsightly section of the room and modernize the look of it.
"If your budget is limited, focusing on a single wall can change the whole feel of a room and give that needed spice to attract buyers," Badger Realty agent Eileen Difeo said.
The last area for today is the kitchen. I lived in a condo for a while that had (and I'm not kidding) one drawer in the kitchen. The owners clearly assumed the tenants were going to live off cereal and delivery food. It was incredibly frustrating and we solved it by adding an island.
Islands are a great way to add storage and a dining area to your kitchen without breaking the bank. We only had room for an island on wheels, but I detest those things and strongly recommend a "fixed" island. With those you can add a couple bar stools and the users won't have their food rolling away from them every time they lean on the countertop.
Those older kitchens also typically have no shortage of dark colors. It was the cool thing back then. We've noted this before, but painting those cabinets is an amazing way to transform your kitchen. Make it feel larger. And give it that more modern look you are going for.
The other thing I like about this project is it can be done in sections. You don't have to completely dismantle your kitchen all at once. In fact, I advise against that for sure. Just pick one or two sections at a time. Sand and paint the doors and drawers in the basement or garage and paint the front of that section of cabinets. You'll still have a usable kitchen and in a couple weeks it will be fully restored.
I say this often, but I love small remodeling projects around the house. I don't have the time or skill to do those big jobs, but these types of projects are right in my wheelhouse. They are cost effective and really do have an impact on the overall look and feel of your home. It will make you happier while you live there and will most certainly help get your home sold when you're ready.