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Mimi Weisinger
Broker/Salesperson in NJ
105 Union Avenue
Cresskill, NJ 07626

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Minor Improvements That Pay

Buyers comparison shop; the typical home buyer will weigh the features and amenities your home offers and compare it to what another home in the same price range offers.   How can you get the maximum resale value on your home?  Offer buyers the appearance of a clean, updated home.


Begin with the basics: curb appeal. Look at your front door and evaluate what the buyer will see.  Is it dirty? Is the paint peeling? A fresh coat of paint on the door, a new light fixture, welcome mat and mailbox may result in a home that looks updated from the moment you approach it.  Any overgrown bushes or trees should be trimmed or removed so that buyers can clearly see the front of your home.  


The best home improvements are largely cosmetic. One of the most inexpensive improvements a homeowner can make is to have a home that looks freshly painted, inside and out.  If the exterior is just dirty, have it cleaned.  The same goes for the inside. If you have out of style or strongly patterned wallpaper, remove it. If painting the whole house is out of the question, consider painting the darkest, smallest rooms a light color. They will look more spacious and updated.  Also replace dirty, worn wall to wall carpet with carpet in a neutral color; beige or light grey are good choices. Even if the carpet is not to the buyer's taste, it will help make your home more salable.  Today's buyers love bare floors, so if your floors are in good condition, don't replace the carpeting, just remove it.


Also look at the light fixtures inside your home. Changing a dated ceiling light fixture with a new one may cost you $30.  The result may also be a brighter space that looks larger. Replace cracked and stained light switch plate covers with new ones. The key is to update an old look.


Another improvement that pays is a minor kitchen renovation; it does not include removing existing cabinetry or changing the floor plan. A complete kitchen face lift may include restoring the cabinets and replacing countertops, backsplash, kitchen sink, faucet and flooring.  Consider replacing kitchen appliances that are over fifteen years old.  If the dishwasher is in good condition you might add a front panel that matches the cabinetry or a stainless steel panel for a more modern look.

Cabinet re-facing is a cost effective method for renovating outdated cabinets in good condition. The old cabinet doors, drawer fronts and hardware are removed. A thin covering of plastic or wood is bonded to the remaining, visible cabinet faces. The veneer can be any one of a wide variety of finishes and colors. Then new matching cabinet doors, drawer fronts and hardware are installed.

In fact, just painting the cabinets can make them look totally different. Consider using a decorative painting technique such as glazing or antiquing. Avoid unusual colors; choose a light, neutral color that will appeal to the masses. Splurge on new cabinet hardware (hinges and knobs or pulls) to make the kitchen look updated.  Renovation experts claim that a well done minor kitchen renovation is one of your best investments and can return from 88% to110% of your investment.

Bathrooms are one more place where a small investment can reap big rewards. Very often the grout is old and dirty.  Changing the grout is a minor cost and can make old tiles in good condition look new. Consider replacing an old, worn vanity with a new vanity, sink and countertop combination and faucet or a new pedestal sink and faucet. Buy new toilet seats. Replace old, rusted medicine cabinets or remove the cabinet door and hang a large mirror. 

Install air conditioning.  The 2004 Profile of Buyers Home Feature Preferences by the National Association of REALTORS(R) states that 73% of homebuyers felt that central air conditioning was one of the most important features they look for in choosing a home to purchase. 

Return on your investment will depend upon many factors: the price tag of the project, the quality of the renovation, the worth of the home itself, the neighborhood, and how fast area homes are appreciating.  Before any renovation, large or small, consult a REALTOR(R) active in your area.  The REALTOR(R) will be able to show you what both updated and homes not updated recently have been selling for in your town or neighborhood and give you an informed opinion how much your planned renovation will return to you.

This article appeared on the website and was authored by Mimi C. Weisinger.

For more help on renovations go to: 

For informational purposes only. I do not know or recommend any of the other professionals listed on any site.




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