One of the most common things I hear when my sellers put their home on the market is, “Wow, I wish we had done these things sooner. Our house looks awesome!” What they’re talking about, of course, are the fantastic upgrades and finishing touches they put on their home just in time to hand it over to someone else. We’ve all been there. We get busy with kids and work and obligations. The list of things we plan to do to a home when we buy it often gets whittled down to bare essentials. But really, shouldn’t we try to get the most from our homes while we’re in them? Here are five ideas of how we can all make that happen.
- Break it down a room at a time, and start with something manageable. It’s overwhelming to tackle several projects at once, so don’t put yourself under that kind of stress. Start with a list and start with your budget. I like to do two projects a year. This allows for thought, planning, and a low-stress approach.
- Using the two-projects-a-year example, you could choose something with a lot of visual reward (a new kitchen backsplash, for instance) and combine it with something that’s less exciting (a new drainage system in the yard, for instance). This way, you address what I call the fun stuff and the maintenance issues consistently.
- Hire help. Seriously. Don’t try to be an electrician if you really don’t have the time or inclination to be one. The quickest way to suck the fun out of a project is to take on something that’s way over your head. Then you get mired down and discouraged and before you know it, you’re snapping at your husband because the sun is going down and you STILL don’t have the recessed lighting done and you kinda need to get the power turned back on so you can make dinner.
- Don’t choose the cheapest option, nor the most expensive. I have shown thousands of homes over the years and boy can we tell cheap quality materials and/or workmanship when we see it. Everyone can. Do yourself a favor and go middle of the road. You’ll get a better return on your investment without having overdone it.
- Make use of the in-house designer at your vendor’s location. It can be surprisingly difficult to match counters to tile to fixtures to lighting, even for someone with a good eye. If this isn’t your strong suit and there is someone available to help, make use of that person. Ask their opinion and see what they recommend.
- Okay, I know I said 5, but here is number 6 – maintain, maintain, maintain. Don’t put your maintenance items off. If you address repair issues as they come up, you can often avoid a more expensive and complicated repair issue later. Touring a home for sale and seeing deferred maintenance items is one of the quickest ways to send buyers running for the door, and they’re not running back to the office to write an offer.