Make your home sparkle | Kitsap Week
By ERIN JENNINGS
North Kitsap Herald Kitsap Week
March 23, 2011 · Updated 12:46 PM
Tulips, daffodils and “For Sale” signs herald spring.
According to conventional wisdom and
Realtor.com, spring and summer are traditionally the busiest times of the year for the real estate market.
Whether you are getting your house ready to sell, or making some changes for your own enjoyment, here are some tips that can make your home worthy of a glossy magazine cover.
The outside of the home is the first thing prospective buyers will see. Take a moment to view your property as if you are seeing it for the first time. You likely will notice things that you didn’t when returning from the grocery store or a long day at the office.
Pull weeds and put down fresh mulch on your garden beds.
Your porch and front door make a lasting first impression said Nancy Rees, of Windermere Real Estate. Make sure to remove cobwebs and put a new coat of paint on your door. A bright pot with fresh plants gives a pop of color. A new welcome mat and a nice light fixture make the front door extra-welcoming.
Expense: Dirt under your fingernails and cobwebs in your hair.
Payoff: A pleasant first impression that sends the message that this is a well- kept home.
Rees said it can be helpful to enlist a friend to walk around your home, pointing out details you may have forgotten.
What sticks out? Through the course of daily living, you may have forgotten that a piece of molding is missing in your dining room, or that the light-switch plate in your bathroom is cracked.
Rees suggests that, when in doubt, replace carpet, especially if you have pets or children. When picking out new carpet, stay neutral in design and color and install a nice cushy pad.
If your carpet is in decent shape, have it cleaned.
Expense: Varies, depending on what is required. If you are on a budget (and who isn’t?) Rees recommends replacing the carpet in main living spaces and stairs before replacing bedroom carpet.
Payoff: No longer seeing the splotch of “Princess Pink” nail polish that your daughter spilled on the family room carpet.
Rees recommends a good deep clean to help your kitchen sparkle. Wipe down walls and clean under appliances. Enlist the help of toothpicks to scrape out grime collected in crevices.
If your budget allows, having all matching appliances gives your kitchen a pulled-together, uniform look. If your refrigerator and stove are stainless steel, replace your white dishwasher to match the others.
Unless your counter tops are stained and ruined, don’t bother replacing them, Rees said. If you do, choose something neutral. Granite is nice, but expensive. There are plenty of attractive options that are much less pricey, she said.
Fill a bowl with colorful fruit and put out a clean dish towel to complete your glistening look.
Expense: Could be a couple of dollars for a few sponges, or significantly more for new counter tops.
Payoff: When you pull out the refrigerator to clean underneath, who knows what you’ll find? It’s a treasure hunt, covered in dust bunnies.
Clean and bright bathrooms show well. A coat of light-colored paint makes the room appear larger. Fresh crisp-white towels are an inexpensive item to make the bathroom look updated, Rees said. A new faucet can bring your outdated bathroom into this decade. A new shower curtain and liner adds sophistication, without breaking the bank.
Expense: A few fluffy towels on clearance.
Payoff: Your bathroom will look like a five-star hotel, minus the mini shampoo bottles and daily maid service.
“If you have fashion-forward paint colors, and they work with your things, then leave it,” Rees said. However, if you have a crazy color, change it. Rees gives the example of a playroom painted bright turquoise with race cars on the walls. It’s adorable for a kids’ playroom, but it’s overwhelming for a home-office. You don’t know the needs of potential buyers. Don’t limit a purchaser’s choices with what is on your walls.
Expense: A couple of gallons of paint.
Payoff: Satisfaction of seeing a room transform. Mowing the lawn, vacuuming and painting are three things that give you a great sense of accomplishment.
Pick up some boxes from your local produce department and start packing. Rees suggests de-personalizing your home, removing photographs and trinkets. She warns to not go too overboard, however, by making your home look sterile. A little personalization is fine. Your goal is for the buyers to look at the house, rather than your things.
Rees recommends either renting a storage unit, or neatly stacking boxes in your garage. Do not shove items into closets. Potential buyers will are always evaluating storage space. Make your closets seem as airy as possible.
This is a good time to sort through your stuff, separating items into three piles: things to save, things to donate and broken things to throw away.
Expense: Your time. This task can take a toll on you as you go through items accumulated over the years. Take it one drawer, one closet, or one room at a time.
Payoff: Discovering an old forgotten birthday card from your grandmother, tucked between two books.
CALL IN THE PROS
A moss-free roof, unclogged gutters and sparkling windows, are three jobs best left to the professionals, Rees said. Besides the danger of being on high ladders, pros do an efficient job that really makes your home look spic ‘n span.
Expense: Varies, depending on number of windows and gutters, and the pitch your of roof.
Payoff: No need to conquer your acrophobia. Keep your feet planted on the ground.
As the FOR SALE sign gets hammered in your yard, look around and be proud of your hard work. Kick off your shoes (you don’t want to track in mud), and relax in your clean house (make sure and fluff the pillows when you get up.) Don’t use the fluffy white towels or eat the colorful fruit. Those are props after all.
But don’t be too hard on yourself. No one other than Martha Stewart lives in a perfect home. And surely, even Martha has dust bunnies under her fridge.Contact North Kitsap Herald Kitsap Week Erin Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 779-4464.