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Selling Your Home When Yours Looks Like Everyone Else's
by Rachel Paxton
My husband and I said we would never move into a housing development. The houses are all close together and all look the same. Well, now we are trying to save money and move into a newer housing development. As we have been house shopping, we have found some very nice homes for very affordable prices. Maybe having neighbors won't be so bad after all.
The housing market is definitely a buyer's market right now. Great if you're trying to buy a house, but not so great if you are trying to sell your home. Especially if you live in a housing development. When you live in a place where all the houses look the same, you might find it is hard to sell yours when your neighbor's house is also for sale.
In housing developments, you also have less flexibility with price negotiations. When your house is appraised, the appraiser is going to be looking at the prices of other houses in your neighborhood. If your neighbor's house sold for a certain price, than they will expect you to sell yours for a similar price.
So how do you make your house stand out from the rest? If people are house shopping in your housing development, and all the houses look the same, then what incentive do they have to pick yours?
There are a number of ways that you can improve the look of your home fairly inexpensively. I am not suggesting that you spend a lot of money improving your home, such as remodeling your kitchen or a bathroom, because it is very likely you will not be able to get that money back when you sell your home. If you have minor repairs to make in your kitchen or in any room of your home, however, by all means get these repairs taken care of as soon as possible. Here are some inexpensive things you CAN do, to make your house stand out from the rest.
Hot Tubs. You may think hot tubs are expensive, and they are if you buy a new one. However for $1000 or less you can purchase a used hot tub in good working condition. Of course you will have to find a way to get it to your house, and might need an electrician to hook it up for you, but if you have these resources available to you it very well might be something to consider. A hot tub would definitely give you an edge over your neighbor's home.
Pergola/Awning. If you have a patio in your back yard, you might consider putting up a pergola or awning for shade. Prospective buyers are looking for places to relax in their back yard when they come home from a long day at work. One home we lived in had a pergola in the middle of the back yard that you could put a hot tub or patio table under. The pergola was covered with a large wisteria vine. It was really a focal point in the back yard.
Lawn/Landscaping. If your lawn has seen better days, do what you can to bring you it back to life again. If you have dogs that are tearing up your lawn, consider temporarily putting them into a kennel so that you can get your lawn back into shape. We had some big bare spots in our lawn that we put little fences around so that the dogs would leave those areas alone while the grass seed we planted could grow. Now you can't even tell where the bare spots were. Have your lawn fertilized if necessary, and make sure all your sprinklers are working properly.
Fountains. For some reason people just love ponds and fountains. You can buy big elaborate ones, but you can also buy small attractive ones at your local home improvement store. Place a small pond or fountain near your front door or near the back patio. You can even make your own pond in a container in a couple of hours.
Paint/Color. If the walls in your home have never been painted, then consider painting them now. Choose neutral colors, like light beiges and tans. People like seeing freshly painted walls, and neutral colors are always safe. If your walls are already painted bright colors, then re-paint them to a netural color. Potential buyers also don't want to think they will have a bunch of work to do when they move in. It is easier to just buy the house for sale down the street.
Lighting/Fixtures. This doesn't apply to newer houses, but if your home is 10 years old or older, you might consider replacing some of the light fixtures and faucets in your home. Some of the most noticeable are bathroom lighting, bathroom faucets, and ceiling fans. These items can be replaced often very inexpensively and can make a world of difference in how your home looks to other people. A bathroom can be updated from old to new in just a couple of hours for a couple of hundred dollars.
Rachel Paxton, owner and publisher of Creative Homemaking, is a freelance writer and mom of five.
Copyright 2011, CreativeHomemaking.com
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