With the warmer weather and longer days, spring often brings home buyers out of the woodwork to start looking at homes on the market. Coupled with the fact that winters can be tough on homes, it makes sense that homeowner looking to list their home this spring should take advantage of the warmer weather to make some repairs and upgrades to get it market ready for those spring showings and open houses.
If you're looking for some less expensive options that will help generate interest in your property (and possibly sell for a higher price), these 7 upgrades all cost under $1,000 each, and could be worth your consideration.
Landscaping accounts for about 20% of the value of a home. It’s also a big part of the home’s curb appeal (that first impression it will make when a buyer pulls up in front). With the warmer spring days, this is the ideal time to tackle the landscaping at your property and get the home exterior in good shape to sell. There are several different ways to update the landscaping to have a positive impact on the rest of the home. Landscaping typically costs between $5 and $8 a square foot, covering the entire yard.
- Grass: Fill in a sparse lawn with grass seed for just $0.05 a square foot, or install some artificial turf ($8-$12 per square foot).
- Plants: Add color and interest to the perimeter with some flower beds, which cost around $500 depending on the type of flowers used.
- Patio: Install a patio to increase enjoyment of the outdoors with either concrete ($6- $7 square foot) or decorative flagstone ($15 – $30 per square foot).
If time is on your side, growing plants from seeds is less expensive than purchasing fully grown flowers for beds. If you have a showing coming up fast, however, a flat of plants will give the garden areas instant color and appeal.
Repair Your Roof
Checking the roof should always be done every spring, particularly if you've noticed any signs that water has gotten into the attic during the winter months. Roof repairs are less costly than a full roof replacement, and can help prevent the need for a replacement if taken care of in a timely way. Signs that a roof needs repair include water stains on the roof deck, mold or mildew in the attic, leaks, curling, broken, or damaged shingles on the exterior. The average roof repair costs around $500 – $600 depending on the size of the issue.
- Shingles cost between $1.25 to $2 a square foot, and are sold by the square or roughly 100 square feet.
- Roofing contractors can charge around $3 per square foot for a leak project, or $45 – $75 per hour.
Clogged gutters can cause water to back up beneath your roof, causing leaks and deteriorating the shingles. The average cost of gutter cleaning services is $90 per visit, or $0.50 – $1 per linear foot of gutter. Expect to the cost to rise $50- $100 per each additional story of the home.
Clean/Replace Your Windows
Pollen levels in the spring can cover windows in a film of green that can make a home look dingy and lower the amount of natural sunlight coming in. Cleaning your windows can help make a much better impression on potential buyers, and if damage is discovered, repairing them will help the home maintain its current value for the sale.
- The average cost of having windows cleaned inside and out is around $300 to $400
- Repairing a broken window frame costs around $480
- Replacing a pane of broken glass will cost around $290
Window treatments are also a great way of sprucing up a home’s interior. Swap out heavy winter drapes for lighter spring versions to give interiors a fresh new look as well.
Painting Your Walls
When preparing to sell a home, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way. Fresh paint can cover smudges, stains and marks from furniture. Opting for a trendy or neutral color, particularly if the walls were previously painted in a bold color could make your home more appealing to a wider range of people. Painting in the warmer months will allow you to keep the windows open to eliminate some of the associated smell as well, and painting right before an open house or showing means that the color will be at its freshest.
The cost to paint a room ranges between $100 and $950 depending on size and the number of doors and windows. Typical painting costs are around $0.50 and $1.60 a square foot.
Adding Attic Insulation
The vast majority of houses in existence are under-insulated, which means the cost associated with heating and cooling them may be far higher than it needs to be. This may be why adding insulation to a home can recoup nearly 108% of the cost at time of resale according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report. Adding attic insulation is a good place to start, and can help the home sell faster. The average cost of insulating an attic is around $400.
Adding insulation to an attic costs around $1.50 to $3.50 a square foot, depending on how easy the access is and what type of insulation is chosen.
Even if you think your property already has sufficient insulation, don't forget that insulation can break down and degrade over time. It can also be disturbed by pests or workmen, which means the insulation you do have may not be as effective as you think. Have your insulation double checked to make sure it’s in good condition, and don't hesitate to add more if necessary.
Repairing Your Siding
Siding also plays an important role in a home’s curb appeal. Siding can become damaged after a long winter, with dents in aluminum, cracks in vinyl, or rotting sections of wood. Regardless of what type of siding a home has, repairing it can help the home maintain its value and its curb appeal, which can help it sell faster. The average cost of repairing your siding is around $300.
- A six foot section of repaired or replacement wood is around $100 to $150
- A single piece of replacement vinyl runs around $40
- Small dents in aluminum can be repaired for around $50 a piece
Have the siding cleaned when it’s repaired to help freshen the color and make it look new again.
Kitchens are widely considered to be the most important and popular room of the home. If the kitchen in your home is out of date, you may want to consider giving it a minor update before selling. While a major remodeling only returns about 65% of investment at time of resale, minor updates can help a home sell faster and recoup as much as 80% of the costs at time of sale.
- Replace laminate countertops for around $20 per linear foot
- Install mid-level sink and faucet – average price for a double basin sink is $220 to $380 & the faucet set of $100 to $200
- Replace existing flooring with medium quality resilient flooring – average of $25 to $35 per square yard
- Labor cost for electricians can be around $65 to $85 per hour and for the plumbers costs are around $45 to $65 per hour
Nearly every surface in the kitchen can be painted; paint the cabinets, walls, and even appliances to give the room a fresh look for less.
Get Your Home Ready for Sale this Spring
With so many homes coming on the market in the spring, it makes sense to give any property you show an update to help set it apart from the rest. Many of these upgrades can help increase the resale value, and offer a decent return on investment for what a homeowner puts in. Enhancing your home with these upgrades could be the best way to get the most out of your investment.
Yuka Kato writes about home improvement tips & tricks to help homeowners learn more about improving their properties at Fixr.com, a website that connects consumers with service professionals in their area and estimates the cost for home improvement projects. She also delivers useful cost information you can use to help improve your home at HowMuch.net.