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How Can You Improve Your Home Before Listing?

By Stephen Sellner | Citizens Bank Staff

When selling your home, don’t put all your “home improvement” eggs into the “curb appeal” basket.

While it’s true that curb appeal helps form a buyer’s first impression, you don’t want to leave it all at the curb. Instead, you want that good first impression to swell as they walk through the door and move through the house.

So what improvement projects can you take on to best position your home for sale?

Think small

The smaller the scale, the better. Projects intended for raising the resale value of a home shouldn’t be overly expensive — unless you’re expecting to get that money back during the sale. Remember, these improvements are not for you; they’re for making your home appealing to prospective buyers.

A modernized kitchen can pop during an open house.

Below are some smaller projects to consider:

  • Modernize the kitchen: You don’t have to expand the space or bring in a new refrigerator. Instead, focus on cabinets, countertops, sinks, and faucets. A small facelift can have a big impact.
  • Paint the house: This is obvious for the exterior, but don’t forget about the interior. Go over the ceilings and walls, getting rid of any grease, cracks, or other signs of wear. You could even choose a neutral color — as opposed to a bolder one — to appeal to a wider pool of buyers. A fresh coat of paint makes a home pop!
  • Fix the floors: Bad flooring is easy for a buyer to notice as they walk through your house. Hardwood floors are popular now, so refinishing scratched hardwood — or replacing worn carpet — can make a big difference.
  • Tend to the bathrooms: Again, nothing crazy here. Devote your attention to the floors, fixtures, and lights. Focus on presenting a fresh, clean, and inviting space.
  • Prioritize the roof: OK, this one isn’t small or cheap, but it’s worth doing ahead of time. First off, if it needs serious repair, it could result in the home not passing inspection. Second, most buyers steer clear of homes with roofing issues. They’re already putting down a lot of cash to buy a home, so the last thing they’ll want to deal with is an expensive roof repair. In fact, interested buyers will often negotiate estimated roof repair costs off the price of the home, so it makes sense to take care of repairs ahead of time.

Since these projects are relatively affordable (minus the roof), you could probably get away with simply charging the expenses to your credit card. However, if you plan to stay in the home for the foreseeable future, pricier remodeling projects — expanding the kitchen, building an addition, adding a bathroom, or finishing the basement — will likely require outside financing (see: home equity line of credit or personal loan).

More information

Are you looking to take on a home improvement project? The scale of your project will dictate how to best fund the job. Come in for a Citizens Checkup at your nearest branch to get personalized advice on how best to proceed.

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