Increasing Your Home's Value

Although the local market continues to improve for sellers, now is not the time to sit back and ignore the condition of your home and think it will sell as soon as you put a For Sale sign in the yard. The old adage "You only have one chance to make a great first impression" is still true today! In order to attract the largest buyer-pool possible make sure your home is in tip-top condition and ready to shine!

Clean Up the Exterior: If you are not fortunate enough to have a brick home consider painting the exterior or updating siding for a fresh look. Use colors that are neutral and will appeal to the largest number of prospective buyers. Stay away from your favorite shade of pink! Also make sure that your front door is attractive and welcoming and not a distraction.

Clean up your landscaping as well. Are there overgrown trees or shrubs that you have ignored? Prune and shape them. Are your gutters still full of leaves from the fall? Clean them out. Weather permitting, add some color with season-appropriate flowers to make a splash. Consider adding some exterior lighting to showcase your home after sunset.

Check All of Your Windows:  Are they original? Do they all function properly? Are there any broken panes of glass that need to be replaced? If they are replacement windows, are there any seals that have broken? Make sure all of your windows are in working order.  Then, make sure they are all sparkling clean! 

Clean Up Your Flooring: If you have carpeting get it professionally cleaned. Hardwood is IN, so if you have it, and if it is in good condition, flaunt it. Often sellers replace old carpeting with new carpeting only to find out they selected a style or color that is not attractive to the buyer. Consider spending the dollars on refinishing the floors instead. If you have ceramic, make sure there are not any damaged tiles, and that the grout is intact and clean. If you have a laminate floor make sure it is clean and sparkles!

Focus on Your Kitchen & Baths: If your kitchen is old and dated consider updating the cabinets or counter tops. Even smaller changes like updating hardware or faucets can go a long way in making a good impression. Be careful though-- if you are in a laminate counter top neighborhood don't go overboard and add granite. Keep your overall investment in-line with the neighborhood.

As for your baths make sure they are clean, clean, clean! There is nothing worse than a shower than has dirty grout or caulk. Simple fixes such as replacing a dripping shower head or updating a faucet will make a splash with buyers. Pay attention to details -- touch up paint, update an old light fixture, and clean the exhaust fan.

Take A Look At Your Lighting: Replace old, dated fixtures with a modern one. If keeping existing fixtures, make sure they are clean! Consider trading out lower wattage bulbs with a brighter one -- a well-lit home will make a buyer feel warm and welcome! If possible, consider adding under-counter lighting in the kitchen.

Touch Up Interior Paint: Go room by room and look for areas that need to be touched up.  Although white is out, make sure the colors are not too loud and over-the-top. Even simple changes like adding an accent wall can make an impressive focal point for a buyer.

Inspect Your Big Ticket Items: If your roof doesn't have at least 2-3 years of life left you may need to replace it. How old is your furnace or central air? Call your preferred HVAC tech and get the units cleaned and serviced. Buyers will want to know they can move in and have a few years before they need to address these large items.

After you are finished checking out your home from top to bottom and inside and out get a good, deep cleaning! Roll up your sleeves and get dirty! This means moving furniture and appliances and cleaning areas you may not have touched in years! A clean home will not only make a great first impression, but it will tell buyers that you have taken care of your home!

Chris Bergin is a licensed agent with Prudential Lucien Realty in Lakewood and can be reached at

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 8:46 PM, 03.04.2014