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Inexpensive Home Renovations That Pay Off


Dear Phyllis,

We plan on moving my mother next summer to be nearer her sister in S. Carolina.  As her home is her largest asset, we need to maximize its value. Which inexpensive home renovations pay off the most?   Gigi


Dear Gigi,

Obviously, you are going to do the basics; declutter and depersonalize.  If your mother has a collection of plates nailed to the wall, or a hallway filled with family photos remove them. Without seeing your mom’s home and knowing where it is located puts me at a disadvantage.  But I would love to give you some basic advice about inexpensive home renovations which will pay off at the time of her sale:

• Get the lawn green and the garden mulched. Trim trees, the home should be visible (not hidden by trees and shrubs).

• Give the home a thorough (preferably professional) cleaning: windows, buff hardwood floors, power wash exterior, clean any grout, etc.

• When painting use neutral colors and avoid the all-white look of a college dormitory.

• Consider swapping out (kitchen and bathroom) hardware for a more contemporary look.

• Replace outdated light fixtures.

• Energy saving light bulbs are unattractive when visible. The color of the light in a home can affect a buyer’s perception. It can be warm and welcoming or have the ambiance of a doctor’s office. When applicable replace all light bulbs with 3,000 kilowatts.  These are the most flattering and the ones we are most accustomed to. They are commonly referred to as “Soft White” or “Warm White”. The number of kilowatts will be on the box. 

When I first meet with a home seller, I typically provide them with two options: Selling AS IS or Spruced Up.  How far a home seller decides to take it is their decision. Meet with a Realtor® as soon as possible so that she can help you identify which renovations will pay off and those which will not. She or her home stylist can assist you with color selections and other recommendations specific to your mother’s home.

Best of luck on your mother’s move.