I apologize for the weeks delay in getting this done, we have had a rather trying week in the real estate market. As some of you may know we are in the process of selling two homes, one lake property and one is our main home. This is the time of year when prospective buyers pick up, people want to be in a new house come Spring so they can enjoy the Summer in their new house. There are a lot of things you can do to increase your homes potential to a buyer. If your house is not for sale then take a fresh look and ask yourself "If I were looking at this place to buy, what would I like to see done?" Now is the time to take charge and tackle a project so you can have a spruced up house by Summer.
A very easy and totally free way to spruce up your space is to change it up a bit, try rearranging your room, not only is it fun to see it from a new prospective but its good exercise. Don't just look at what is in one room, you have a whole house of furniture, try something from the living room in your bedroom, or take a table from the den and put it in the family room, really mix it up and have some fun. If you want to do this with less work Better Homes and Gardens has a very nice room planner that I have used often, you will just need the size of the room and the furniture dimensions. If you are doing this with an eye towards selling your property, remember that buyers like to see how much room there is so they can picture their things in the space. If at all possible, reduce the clutter to about 2 or 3 things per surface. This isn't always easy but it will help in the long run.
One of the easiest and least expensive projects is to paint. If you are selling keep the colors more neutral but try to avoid painting everything stark white, it tends to remind people of the little apartment they had in college. If you are not selling there is no reason not to go a little wild, if you have always wanted an accent wall in burnt orange then give it a shot, in my own house my office has bright green stripes with hot pink trim, it makes the bills a little less stressful. The worst that can happen is you need a little primer and a new color to paint it over. The thing to remember with paint is that its one of those things where you truly get what you paid for, look for a high quality paint that will go on easy and cover in one or two coats. We recently tried the least expensive brand we could find and in the long run used almost three times more than a more expensive paint. The total cost exceeded our budget because we had to use so much. Sherwin Williams has a $10 coupon, they have nice paints and I have found the store staff to be very knowledgeable. If you want to paint using a more green product Benjamin Moore has a new paint line out called Natura that has less fumes and will soon have a whole new line of eco-friendly paints and stains. Their sight also offers a color viewer that allows you to see the color before you paint your wall by uploading a photo of your room. Remember too that if you find a color you love but you don't like the paint manufacturer you can have the color custom made at any paint store for no extra charge.
Putting in new updated appliances can really turn a buyers head. Right now if you purchase an Energy Star appliance you may qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit, this is good through the end of the year. Sears is offering 15% off off all their appliances right now and they will deliver for free right to your door. Best Buy has home appliance sales every week, this week the more you buy the more you save in addition to whats on sale, and the nice thing with them is you can use your reward zone card to get store credit back for your purchases. If the item you want isn't on sale be sure to ask the sales associate if they know when it will be going on sale, they often know and are more than willing to share this information.
Look down, are the floors in your house worn and dingy? If they are not bad and just need a good wash to make them look new and fluffy then be sure to check your local papers and Valpak mailer for coupons to carpet cleaners in your area. There are a couple of chains offering discounts, Coit Cleaners in Minneapolis and St. Paul has a 40% off coupon, Stanley Steamer has a spot on their site to check for deals in your area, Sears is has a special of $99 per room and ServiceMaster if offering $20 off your cleaning bill.
There are also a lot of general home repairs that can be done yourself. Both Lowe's and Home Depot have DIY videos available on their web sites. Lowe's went one step further with a breakdown of how much you can save per year on each project you do yourself, its very impressive! There are also a lot of helpful books available to both show you project details and just plain inspire you. Barnes and Noble is offering 15% off if you use coupon code X4L9P7H at check out and Borders is offering 25% off until 3/1/10 with coupon code BSE7281G. Both Barnes and Noble and Borders also have reward cards that will give you an additional amour off your purchase. There is a great site called BookCloseouts.com that has a wide array of house and home books far below the retail price and they have free shipping. I use this site a lot to find fun books at incredible prices.
As Spring gets closer outdoor curb appeal becomes very important, when the snow actually melts I will put together a blog with more information and ways to save with your lawn and garden in mind.
If you have done a fun project lately let me know about it, I love hearing about what others have done to make their house a home.
Have a great weekend all.