Some of my seller clients spend several months and thousands of dollars upgrading a home before putting it on the market. But for homeowners who are short on time and cash, there are some very effective smaller projects that will increase value and reduce time-on-market.
1. Expose hardwood floors.. There is a decided preference for hardwood floors in Montclair. Worn carpet is a real turn off to buyers and they often fret about what might be underneath. With a hammer and a sharp knife, carpet removal is an easy and free DIY project to raise the value of your home.
2. Paint rooms in a light neutral color with white or off-white trim. Montclair's 1920s colonials look fresh and modern with this simple combination. Wall paper and dark colors can be an obstacle for some buyers and a new coat of paint is one of the best investments you can make for $25.
3. Hire a professional cleaning service right before the home goes on the market. Even if you're a clean freak and consider your home to be spotless, a professional cleaner will do things that are not part of your routine and make you home sparkle like never before. Cost: $100 to $300.
4. Have the windows washed by a professional. Most services will do inside and out as well as the storm windows. Have them remove the screens from windows that you usually don't open. Shiny windows and a clear view let in more light and make a world of difference. The cost should be about $6 per window.
5. Power wash your house, front steps and deck- and the gutters too. Moss and dirt make a house look uncared for. You can buy a small washer for under $200 or rent one for $50/day. Or hire a professional for about $500.
6. Remove dark, heavy drapes and vertical blinds and replace with wood blinds or sheer curtains - or just leave the windows bare if privacy is not an issue. Let as much natural light in as possible.
7. Spruce up the bathroom with a new, high quality, white shower curtain. Recaulk the shower and tub. Replace the toilet seat if it is yellowed or worn.
8. Refresh the front door with a new coat of paint in a complementary accent color. Replace the mailbox, house number and door hardware to update the look.
9. Hire a landscaper to do a "spring clean-up" of the yard, even if it's summer or fall. Professional crews employ equipment and skills that most homeowners don't have. It's like doing a deep cleaning of your front yard. Having last season's sticks, leaves and yard debris removed will boost your curb appeal and your home's value.