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The concept of Do It Yourself (DIY), while certainly not new, has become increasingly prevalent in the real estate industry. The early pioneers of DIY projects that were geared toward homeowners included names such as Bob Vila of This Old House and Martha Stewart. These personalities and many more paved the way for the modern-day DIY home improvement trend. HGTV programming has been wildly successful and even had a spin-off network, aptly named DIY Network, which covers home projects along with much more.
The quality of the construction, the finishes, the location of the property, the size of the home and lot…all of these are certainly the features that real estate agents and home buyers painstakingly review during the search process. However, sometimes it is the finishing touches that make a house go from a “maybe” to a “yes” in the eyes of a buyer. Homeowners and their REALTORS® are savvy and know that there is power in the smallest details. Design and decorating styles are easier than ever to follow and identify with due to the growth of internet sites such as Pinterest and an abundance of tv shows that feature both small and large scale projects. These all promote tackling DIY projects with increased confidence.
The most basic DIY project is quite simple…thoroughly clean up the house and property. Windows, baseboards, and other deep cleaning projects that are easy to avoid when living in a home should be tackled. The exterior of the property is equally important. Decomposed leaves and debris stacking up along the side of the garage should be dealt with. First impressions are major when a home is for sale. It is a good idea to not let buyers have an opportunity to focus on dingy floors or an un-swept back patio when they should be concentrating on a home’s assets.
Most of us acknowledge that a fresh coat of paint is truly a mini-facelift. If there are rooms in the house where the paint color is the focus of the room versus the views from the window or the spacious walk-in closet, then it is probably time to head to the nearest paint store. Painting is certainly one of the most cost effective and DIY friendly tasks that can make a big impact. By keeping the color choice neutral, a clean and updated look can wow buyers. This goes for both inside and outside of the home.
Kitchens and bathrooms are key areas in any house. Some small updates can have big payoffs. Light fixtures, outlet and light switch covers, and faucets can generally be changed out by a homeowner who can follow instructions and is willing to put in the time. The addition of cabinet knobs and drawer pulls can complete the look of otherwise unfinished cabinets. Refreshed caulking around a bathtub/ shower and sink is one of the simplest fixes to freshen up a bathroom.
Replacing flooring is a step up in difficulty and expense, but if the current flooring makes buyers want to keep their shoes on at all costs, then it should be a consideration. Stains on carpet, cracked tiles, and dirty grout are huge deterrents and will immediately start the price negotiations in a buyer’s mind. If all rooms can’t be replaced at the same time, put effort in the room(s) with the most wear and tear for the biggest bang for your buck.
Is there a room in the home that could use an eye-catching statement? How about adding a wood plank accent wall? The cost will depend on the availability of the product, but the project itself consists of measuring the wall to determine length and number of planks needed and securing the boards to the studs in the existing wall. It truly can make an impactful statement.
Industrial-style shelving is all the rage. The built-in look can be accomplished with iron pipes and stained wood planks found at a local hardware store, along with a step-by-step tutorial which can easily be found online.
Update the exterior entry lighting and coordinating house numbers to give boosted curb appeal and let visitors know they have arrived. Small change that makes a large statement.
Farmhouse style is also very popular these days. An old, distressed ladder hung from the ceiling can transition into a storage rack for lovely copper pots.
The above examples are ones that will remain with a home and could add value at resale. However, the majority of items that Do It Yourselfers might undertake will add comfort and beauty to the home, but most likely will not be part of a sale. Upholstering headboards, creating pallet furniture, adding colorful paint to drab old wood dressers, and embellishing pillows and lampshades are all DIY projects that can create the special touch needed to transform a room from blah to beautiful.
It is important for sellers to step back and look at their home as a commodity instead of “their home is their castle.” They must think like a buyer. That doesn’t mean that an existing home is expected to be in the same condition as a brand-new home. It does mean a house should be impeccably clean and maintained as to promote a fantastic first impression and give prospective new owners the desire to make the home their own.
Some of my very favorite places to find inspiration include Better Homes & Gardens, Wayfair, and Magnolia. They comprise ideas in a variety of styles, budgets, and skills levels sure to meet specific tastes.