If you're planning to put your house on the market, you likely want to maximize your very limited time and extra cash. That's why Trulia suggests zeroing in on what we call Buyer Hot Spots: the 'make it or break it' focal points of a home. As a seller with a tight time line (and budget), you'll want focus on these rooms first.
The Two Hot Spots: The two most closely inspected and anticipated rooms of a house are the kitchen and master bathroom. They're the interior spaces where the most value can be added during a sale, so they need to look their best.
A well-appointed kitchen will dramatically increase the value of your home, so really spice up this spot to grab buyer attention. The same holds true for the bathrooms – especially the master– which will charm open house-goers with modern upgrades like dual vanities and soaking tubs.
Keeping Up With The Joneses: Before you start planning any interior upgrades, consider your neighborhood – and more importantly, your target buyer. If most of the homes nearby have tidy, neat kitchens with Formica or tile countertops, then you should, too. If granite and flagstone seems to be the local flavor, hopefully yours will be similar, since that's what local buyers are after.
Don't Over Do It: Establishing the quality level of comparable homes is also crucial to saving you thousands. It'll help you identify when to spend and when not to go overboard on unnecessary amenities. A kitchen upgrade can range from a one weekend, low-budget brush up (think paint job and installing new hardware) to a full-blown overhaul (with tens of thousands spent for granite countertops and luxury appliances). You want to make your home look as fantastic as possible – without wasting money, overinvesting, and ultimately creating a space that's out of place with the rest of the houses in the neighborhood.
Make The Most Of What You've Got: Even if your kitchen is looking very tired, don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Keep the main elements, and simply improve what you can using a cost-effective, low-labor strategy. Resurface or repaint cabinet doors, replace cabinet hardware, install a new faucet, upgrade the appliances, upgrade the lighting with new fixtures, and put on a fresh coat of paint. Also, the least expensive but most important tip – rid the countertops of all your stuff!
The Master Bath Mystique: In order of buyer-grabbing importance, the master bath is a close second. It's the most challenging room in the house to upgrade because doing so requires the skills of many different tradesmen. But, on the positive side, there are several little tricks that can help create an inviting look that tugs at buyers' heartstrings and evokes that "Oh Honey, I love it!" reaction.
When time and money are running out, and you need to get the house on the market, the key to doing a bathroom upgrade is, again, making the most of what you've got. Save as much of the existing bath as you can. Then, a quick switch of the sinks and faucets, new low-flow toilets and showerheads, and upgraded lighting, mirrors, towel racks and storage make for an entirely refreshed look. And for goodness sakes, make sure to clean the tile and grout, and organize the medicine cabinets (because buyers will open them).
This article These Are The 2 Rooms That Really Sell Homes originally appeared on Trulia Tips.
Selling your home isn't the only tax "loophole" you can use
Recent tax increases have affected nearly every American homeowner and taxpayer. But with the right planning, you can take steps to take control of your taxes and potentially even lower your tax bill. In our brand-new special report "The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment Now!," you'll learn about the simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Don't miss out on advice that could help you cut taxes for decades to come. Click here to learn more.
ALL: What was the room that was most important to you when you bought or rent your last home or apartment?
Michael Corbett is Trulia's real estate and lifestyle expert. He hosts NBC's EXTRA's Mansions and Millionaires. In additional to his regular segments on ABC's The View and Fox News, he is a national best selling author with three critically acclaimed real estate books: Find It, Fix It, FLIP IT!; Ready, Set, SOLD! and Before You BUY!
Trulia has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.