Spring Home Improvement 2012

Easy remodels give your home value a boost

By Janine Waggener 

What are the best ways for a homeowner to add value to their home? Kitchens and bathrooms have long been at the top of the list.

Kitchen remodeling sales were up 36 percent in the third quarter of 2011 compared with the same time a year earlier, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. But these projects are also the most expensive so there may be other improvements to consider that cost less.

If your fix-up plans are geared toward selling your home it is a good idea to make an assessment of the entire property to prioritize projects. For example, if a home has worn or soiled carpet replacing the flooring would have the biggest impact. If the list is long, stick with improvements that can been seen. An experienced Realtor can help you to set priorities and will have a trained eye for needed improvements.

For small budgets there are many kitchen and bath improvements that can transform a home such as replacing cabinet hardware, faucets and lighting. There are new light fixtures available at home improvement stores that can quickly update a room. An exciting option are the new LED disk lights that can either replace an existing light fixture or be used to retrofit dated recessed fixtures.

Another easy and inexpensive way to change a room quickly is by simply painting it. Homebuyers are now gravitating toward calm, comforting hues and avoiding white, off-white and bold colors.

After working with buyers from all backgrounds I have observed that most are not interested in fixing up a home after they buy. I have seen buyers pass up a great home and choose an inferior one simply because it had brand new carpet and vinyl. Most people cannot envision what a future improvement will look like. I also sense their concerns about working with contractors and the stigma that the job will take too long or cost more than planned. This makes the case for sprucing up as many areas of your home as possible before it goes on the market, regardless of your budget.

If you decide a on a kitchen remodel, be sure to select a local contractor with an excellent reputation for craftsmanship and scheduling. A true pro will have a team of skilled subcontractors who will complete your project in the shortest time possible.

Finally, if money is really tight, then here’s a fantastic tip: Soap and water! Buyers cannot resist squeaky clean kitchens and bathrooms, so be sure to go over these areas with a fine tooth comb!

Special to the Democrat

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