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A friend of mine had me over yesterday to give her some tips on getting her home ready to sell. Ofcourse, what you need to do depends on the condition of your home and the price range your house is in. One thing you definitely do not want to do is over improve!
1. Paint! Paint! Paint! The one investment you will definitely be getting your money out of is paint! Neutral colours (browns/grey/tan) are very current. If you are unsure of colours to paint, ask someone at your paint store or pick up a few magazines. They always have great ideas that you can mimic to transform your home! When painting make sure you don't do a sloppy job and get paint everywhere! Buyers pick up on that.
2. Kitchen's and Baths: People always ask "should I update my kitchen or bathroom". The first thing I do is look for an inexpensive fix to make things look not so dated. One thing you can do is change the hardware on your cabinets. At Rona/Home Depot they have bulk packs of knobs that make this very affordable. The other thing you could do is switch out the counter top to an inexpensive new one or perhaps paint the cupboards white if they're really outdated. If worst comes to worst and you really feel you'll get a large return on investing in a new kitchen (again...this depends on the price range you are in) then what you need to know is that white kitchen cupboards are 'in'. Luckily for you, white tends to be the cheapest as well! You should definitely consult your realtor or a home stager before you start any major renovation!
3: Flooring: Sometime you don't have much of a choice but to change flooring. Again, the type of flooring and the amount you spend on it depends on the price of your home. Inexpensive laminate can sometimes make a big difference depending on the condition/style of your current flooring.
4: Lighting: Sometime a little light goes a long way! Many home builders use flushmount light fixtures. You can usually get a package of 2 for $20-25 from Rona/Home Depot.
Before you make any changes in your home, you should definitely consult your Realtor! If you don't have a Realtor...I am always happy to help you out! If you know you're planning on moving...but the move is still months or a year away, then keep you eyes open for sales in the Rona/Home Depot fliers! They always have great sales!