Photo by Worx (40V Power Share Hydroshot Power Cleaner)
1. Give the outside of your home a facial and manicure – First impressions count. Making your home look attractive on the outside sets the initial feeling visitors and buyers will carry into the house. Power wash the exterior every spring and fall, including the driveway, walkways, deck and walls. Flush out the gutters, wash the windows and trim overgrown shrubs. Guests and potential buyers enter through the front door, so make sure it’s clean, bright and attractive.
2. Make the outdoors inviting – You don’t want the space around your home to look like a jungle (or a dump). To make it look inviting and complement the house, consider adding a small patio, firepit or barbecue center with table and seating. Install a simple fountain with recirculating pump or plant a flower garden using the convenient and inexpensive raised bed kits available from garden centers and hardware stores.
3. Insulate and seal – Top up the insulation in ceilings, crawl spaces, attics and basements. Apply an insulating sealant around the usual places – windows, doors, receptacles and plugs – as well as the less obvious places – plumbing vents, junction boxes, wiring access holes, behind knee walls, rim joists and attic access doors.
4. Give the inside some colour – One of the most repeated tips from realtors is to add a fresh coat of paint to the major rooms – kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom and master bedroom. Choose contrasting colours for walls, ceiling and trim work that complement your furnishings and cabinetry.
5. Give tired kitchen cupboards a facelift – If you have older kitchen cabinets that are outdated or looking the worse for wear, consider replacing the cabinet doors and door handles, and repainting the cabinet sides and fronts. It’s significantly less expensive than a full cabinet replacement.
6. Spruce up the bathroom – Replace a stained toilet or sink. Install new towel racks and toilet paper holder. Replace an older incandescent light fixture with a newer LED unit. A common complaint made to real estate agents is loud bathroom exhaust fans, so choose one with a Sone (noise) rating of 1.5 or less.
7. Brighten up the kitchen – People spend a lot of time in the kitchen – make yours warm and inviting. Replace an old sink or leaky faucet. Update existing ceiling fixtures with energy-efficient, smart lights and add some under-cabinet LED tape lighting. Install a good quality peel-and-stick backsplash.
8. Replace faceplates and wall switch covers – If your electrical faceplates are cracked, stained or off-colour, replace them with more elegant wooden, ceramic or metal plates.
9. Embellish the garage or unfinished basement – You can spend a lot of money finishing a basement or garage. Or you can spruce it up with a few cosmetic enhancements. Install some inexpensive storage shelving. Paint the wall and floor or install square foam floor mats. If either room lacks lighting, add some by installing LED string lights. You can run several strings of lights from a single electrical receptacle.
10. Pare down – Paring down (decluttering) what you don’t need is a cathartic (and in my experience quite enjoyable) process. If you’re getting ready to sell your home, it’s even more important; you want to showcase your home, not your belongings. Decluttering and cleaning were top-of-mind for every realtor I spoke to. Do it for every room and closet.