What Cosmetic Improvements make the biggest impact?


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October 11 2010 - Cincinnati
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De-clutter
Lighten & Brighten.

Both are inexpensive and very effective.
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October 11 2010

Fresh paint does wonders.  New drapes, carpet and lighting can make a  big difference as well.  Things that look fresh and new are better then old and dated and can be changed without spending a fortune.

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October 11 2010
Profile picture for wetdawgs
Get rid of the scent of ages  - dusty, grime, mold, pet scents, perfumes (including cleaning products).  Have it smell fresh (true fresh, not chemical fresh)
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October 11 2010
Make sure the house is always CLEAN.
Check a curb appeal-mow the lawn, plant some flowers, in fall remove all leaves, trim the bushes, clean the entrance door (paint or replace if necessary). You want the buyer to get inside the house. If they don't like the exterior you will never get them in.
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October 11 2010
Paint I feel is important. Not stark white and no crazy colors. Just a soft light color. If the carpet is in bad condition replace or offer a credit to the buyer since your taste in carpet may not be theirs. I agree with the curb appeal. Clean up the yard. De-clutter too is important. If need be take some furniture and store in a storage locker if there is too much in the house making it feel crowded. It makes the rooms look larger.
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October 11 2010
Most sellers understand that the cosmetic improvements mentioned by all of the contributors are necessary in today's market, but price is by far the most important factor even at the lower end.  When it is priced right, you get multiple offers & it sells well over the asking price.  The back up offers keep the offer in hand in place too.  You can have great curb appeal & a wow factor inside, but if you are priced too high that is the kiss of death.
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October 11 2010
paint ............. flooring .......... a broom .......... plus soap and water!

also - get rid of the heavy drapes .........and any household odors!
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October 11 2010
Fresh paint and carpet is a good start.
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October 11 2010
Profile picture for FSSCOYF
Have to agree...
1.  Fresh paint (gentle colors, if possible).
2.  Cleanliness (no dirty base mouldings, window sills, cobwebs, etc).
3.  Clean/fresh carpets (no wild shags from 1970s, no stains, no wear).

These make the biggest difference to sell a home.
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October 11 2010
Profile picture for the_country_hick
Usually it is nice new makeup with a facelift added on an old wife (or husband).

Very little else (except for liposuction) gets such amazing results.

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October 11 2010
Declutter.  Decluttering may require you to place some of your belonging in storage.  A portable device is a convenient way to temporarily store items while you are marketing your home.


Paint rooms that look tired or dated with neutral colors.  

Update bedding to look fresh and modern.  A nice new comforter with decorative pillows can do wonders for a bedroom.

Re-grout and re-caulk bathrooms.  Dirty caulking around a tub, can be a real turn-off.  

Replace carpeting if it's stained or worn.  Remember to keep it neutral.

Remove wallpaper that has been in the home for a long time.  Removing old wallpaper can be a chore and today's buyers don't want the task.

Good Luck!



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October 11 2010

Trent, Hello!

I truly believe the answer to this question would be unique to the individual property.  When I walk through a listing, I do a full property evaluation to determine what needs to be done and what of that list will bring you the most "bang for your buck".  I do have some quick, basic steps on my website [link removed by moderator]that would definitely help spruce up a bit, but figuring out how to bring a home up to its full potential before putting it on the market is something I typically make a personalized experience.

Let me know if I can help you or your clients who may be relocating to the Raleigh, NC area in any way!
 

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October 12 2010
Fresh coat of paint, nice landscaping, and clean interiors all make a world of difference!  I think people really underestimate curb appeal, but the truth is it really helps facilitate the sale!  I've had clients who straight up won't see the interior if the outside needs work.
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October 12 2010
 

I agree de-cluttering is a big part, also de-personalize the home to much of you and the buyer cannot see enough of them, earth tones, light colors, fresh scent, well lit rooms, and good curb appeal all will help sell the home. Get a staging consultation from a certified stager you will be amazed how they can renew a home on a shoe string budget, and the most important value of all pricing. Buyers buy value if they do not see the value they will purchase elsewhere so price accordingly. Also get yourself a pre- home inspection and fix, replace or repair any major issues, this allows you to prevent rather than cure a potential sell9ing obstacle later on down the road

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October 12 2010
Fresh paint and depersonalizing
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October 15 2010

Above and beyond new paint and carpet, I think it's most important to update any items that really date the space. For example, I have a client who's home was build in the early 80's. The thermostats and intercom system still date from that period. We replaced both for next to nothing and it made a WORLD of difference. =)

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October 15 2010

Any experienced expert will tell you this is a one word answer. Paint. period.

The best return as far as interior work is always on the kitchen followed by the master bath.

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October 15 2010
Believe it or not, Paint is one of the easiest things to do, and makes a dramatic impact on how a property looks.
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October 15 2010
Updating cabinet knobs and pulls can make a huge difference in a kitchen and bath at minimal cost.  Refinishing hardwood floors is significant.  Paint is huge, time consuming, but time & cost effective...if you choose the right color.  Remove clutter in terms of small objects and groupings.  Remove excess furniture to really right-size a room.  Remove multiple purposes from a room, keep each room to one purpose and, if there is a traditional purpose, use that (example - put the dining set in the dining room).  Neutralize odors and clean, clean, clean.  I am not sure how price and home pre-inspections are 'cosmetic', but I totally agree.  Pre-inspections demonstrate the sellers are trustworthy - and the house can be trusted.  If the house is not priced correctly at or below  it's market, it is in trouble.  If it is priced right, then everything else, up to and including true staging, is marketing...and good marketing sells faster and at at better price than - shall we say - not so good marketing.
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October 16 2010
Hey Cincinnati,

I visit a few times a year over in Cinci from Cali. Anyway, paint, clean, de-clutter. Buyers love it to look light and bright. Neutral tones for paint are usually best because they appeal to a broader Buyer pool. Look at your home the same way you would if you were selling a car. You'd wax it right? I have all my Clients get a professional cleaning company to do the bathrooms, kitchen and main areas of the home. Closets should look decent as well. Front of home should have curb appeal. Curb appeal on condos includes walkways. Make it look appealing!!
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October 17 2010
The easiest and least expensive fix is PAINT. Freshen up your look or neutralize if you chose colors that were very taste specific.  Another inexpensive cosmetic change is to de-clutter. Delete as much as you can in every room.  The next thing I would look at our floors...decide whether cleaning the carpets, refinishing the hardwood, etc. would make a big improvement (in most cases, it does). Good luck!
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October 20 2010
Lots of good suggestion. I would also add flowers.  Some new  flowers in flower bed as buyers walk up to the house is an inexpensive way to draw the eye to color. 
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October 20 2010
Usually paint and carpet, but it varies based on the home.  Sometimes a good cleaning can do wonders and also gets rid of odors.

 If there are any projects you started, finish them.

Get a home stager in to make suggestions.  I provide one for all my listings and it really makes a difference.
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October 20 2010
I agree with Eugene.

De-Clutter.

It can be as simple as walking out the front door, turning around, and looking at your entry way.  Does the door need to be cleaned, painted or touched up in any way.  Do the windows need to be cleaned?  Do the blinds need to be dusted? 

Curb Appeal is huge!

Move the autos off the blocks in the front yard.  Get the old dead plant debris swept up and out of sight.
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October 24 2010
I find that some really simple things can go a long way!

Do a quick front door makeover. Paint the door, change the mat, freshen the flower pots, clean away spider webs and make sure that the entry way is fresh and welcoming.

Updating lighting fixtures can be quick fix that really updates the space. Lowes and Home Depot have some terrific and inexpensive chandaliers, kitchen, bath and hall fixtures that can really update the look of your home, too.
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October 24 2010

Super meticulous cleaning, new paint, new carpet, fresh clean smell goods!

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October 26 2010
Fresh paint,new carpet!
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November 02 2010

Exterior -  paint front door, add flowers and fresh mulch, powerwash.

Inside - declutter, minimize personal affects, clean, change your light bulbs to higher wattage, fresh neutral paint, music and clean smell

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November 03 2010

Clean...... there is nothing like opening a door to a home with no orders and kitchen, bathrooms, especially are clean,... Clean appliances you would be amazed at how many people look to see if your appliances are clean...declutter and clean would be the easiest thing to do.  

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November 03 2010
Painting, curb appeal all help, but in this market it's price, price, price to motivate the buyers!
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November 03 2010
 
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