Low-Cost Cosmetic Changes
DIY repairs can seem intimidating, but many fixes around the home are simple and affordable. Touching up the trim and baseboards or fixing a few screw holes may mean the difference between getting an offer on the house or having potential buyers walk away. Even if interested parties don’t pass up on the home, you may be receiving lower offers than if you’d invested in these aesthetic repairs to get the most out of your home.
Minor Drywall Patches
Pictures, posters, and television mounts are common wall hangings that can leave unsightly holes behind in the drywall. However, with a tub of drywall compound and a putty knife, these holes can be filled effectively, leaving barely noticeable white marks behind.
Holes caused by thick mounting screws or drywall anchors will typically require sanding and painting to complete the repair, but holes made with push pins or tacks are generally too small to require paint unless there is a significant contrast between the wall paint and the drywall compound.
After fixing small drywall holes, the resulting patch may require paint in order to complete the repair. The door frames, window frames, and baseboards in the home will also likely need some touch-ups, as these spots often become chipped, scratched, and worn during regular use. These minor fixes can usually be completed with a small can of paint to match the color of the wall to cover drywall patches or neutral paint for the baseboards and trim.
When there are too many small holes in a wall, it may be a better idea to paint the entire wall in order to get a clean, uniform appearance. Depending on the layout and lighting in a room, it can also be beneficial to add one or two accent walls in a complimentary color to the other walls in the room. This helps to draw the eye over the entire room, making it look larger. An accent wall can also use contrasting colors to draw focus to one wall over the others, like the main wall in an entertainment room.
Furnace Filter Replacement
The air filter in a furnace should be replaced every 90 days to help prevent damage to other parts of the heating and cooling system. However, many people don’t follow a regular maintenance schedule for the furnace, so air filters can often be left for years without being replaced.
When selling or renting a property, one of the most common things a prospective buyer or renter (and their real estate agent) will check is the furnace filter, which is often a good indication of how well the system has been maintained. A very dirty filter can be a cause for buyers and renters to walk away or adjust their offer. Avoid this by replacing the filter every 2 to 4 weeks while the home is being shown so it looks almost new.
Decks and patios are great features that can really drive up the price of a property, but loose nails, cracked deck boards, and flimsy railings may have the opposite effect. Many of these fixes are as simple as grabbing a hammer and nails to secure a board or railing, though some deck repairs may require one or more pieces of lumber to replace the cracked, broken, or rotted wood.
If new material is used to make the repair, it will need to be sanded and stained so the entire deck appears similar. There will still be differences between the older wood and new wood, but with a dark stain, these aesthetic discrepancies aren’t as noticeable.
Related: 6 Simple Steps to a Refreshed Deck
Door Handle Replacement
One of the most common features in a home is a door handle. When they work well, they go almost completely unnoticed. However, there are few things more frustrating than not being able to get into or out of a room. So when a door handle sticks in the door frame or doesn’t open the door with the first, second, or even the third turn, they can become detriments to the sale of a home.
Replacing a door handle is a relatively simple repair that can include basic door handles for the closet or basement door, locking door handles for the bathroom or bedroom, and heavy-duty door handles for the front and back door.
Drop Ceiling Repairs
A drop ceiling is a common addition to finished bathrooms and basements. They can be used throughout the home, but when a drop ceiling tile becomes cracked, warped, stained, or water damaged, they lose most of their appeal and should be replaced before the home is shown to prospective buyers.
As long as the framework for the drop ceiling isn’t damaged, these repairs typically consist of measuring a new drop ceiling tile, cutting it to the correct size, and replacing the old one. If the framework is damaged it will need to be replaced before measuring or cutting any tiles to ensure the correct tile size with the new framework spacing.
Faucets can last for years without any problems, but slight leaks at the handle create water spots and places for mold to grow, spread, and develop on the handle, faucet, and sink. Leaks from the faucet into the sink may be less damaging to the surrounding area but can cause unnecessary increases on the water bill, and the constant drip, drip, drip is noticeable to potential buyers.
DIYers with some plumbing experience will find it relatively easy to replace bathroom and kitchen faucets. Some faucets can have one handle that balances hot and cold water, while other products will have two handles. To make the kitchen more appealing, consider a faucet with a separate pull-out sprayer that can be used for rinsing the dishes.
Electrical outlets can be installed on the wall, ceiling, or even the floor in a home, but they are most commonly located on the walls just above the baseboards or at waist height in the kitchen or office. The wiring of these outlets is typically protected by plastic or metal faceplates that can become cracked, chipped, stained, or bent over time.
While changing the faceplates is an aesthetic improvement, it’s also an affordable and easy safety update that almost anyone with a screwdriver can complete. The faceplates can also be changed to a different color in order to match a new wall color or room aesthetic.
Broken, faulty, and outdated lighting fixtures diminish the value of the home and may also pose a safety risk. Exposed wires and messy pigtail connections put the home and the people living in it or coming to view it at risk of shock or fire, so these lights need to be replaced with updated fixtures. For DIYers with electrical experience, this is a straightforward repair that can typically be completed in under an hour.
It’s also a good idea to consider the actual light bulbs used throughout the home. Consistent lighting in a room helps to display the home in its best light, rather than having a yellow incandescent bulb paired with a white spiral fluorescent bulb, which can easily detract from the color and decor of the room.
Carpet and Floor Cleaning
Pet owners may not be surprised to see this addition on the list. While dogs and cats are great for companionship, they are terrible for carpets and flooring. Pet hair, dander, drool, and sweat seeps into carpeting, giving it a distinct odor that’s difficult to remove. In order to present the home in the best visual and odorous light, it’s necessary to sweep, vacuum, and wash the carpet and floors.
People living in homes with a lot of carpeted space may find it difficult to take on this task using only a residential carpet cleaner or steam cleaner and may want to consider having the floors professionally cleaned to properly remove odors, stains, and dirt.
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