Friends of mine decided to sell their townhouse a while back and immediately knew what they had to do to demand top dollar, if not, multiple contracts: get the house in shape. A couple of weeks, two contractors and $10,000-plus later, they had new carpet; new kitchen appliances with white flooring; new paint throughout (including the demolition of a mirrored wall); power-washed/stained deck; and a few plumbing issues taken care of.
Once all the work was done, they sat back in their newly revamped dwelling and sighed: "Why didn't we do this sooner?" The investment was quite small when you consider the benefit, but many homeowners wait till it's time to sell the house before they replace all the items of their home that have been bugging them for years.
Giving your home a facelift could be more affordable than you think. This was especially brought to mind during a visit to one of my favorite restaurants. Visiting the restroom, I was appalled at the condition: old plywood; an old mirror losing its reflective backing; mildewed caulking; and a stench very unbecoming this particular establishment.
A bathroom is probably one of the easiest and most affordable rooms to give a face lift and provide a "wow" factor for buyers coming into your home. I'm not even talking about a complete remodeling, just a face lift that can change the room's look and shift your personal feelings about the room.
Think about it -- when you walk into a 20- to 30-year-old home, would you be more excited about one with the original vanity, sink, faucet, shower door, mirrors and lighting? Or would you have a wow factor when seeing fresh paint, upgraded hardware, a modern vanity, and a dual showerhead found in most fine hotels? In addition, how would you like to create that wow factor for less than $1,000? It can be done.
Looking over a few large home improvement web sites will give you a grasp of how attainable this face lift can be. What you want to spend on the bath is up to you. You can upgrade your showerhead for as little as $6 for a low-grade plastic energy saver model or as high as $3,750 for a multiple head shower tower. We'll keep our budget a little in the middle for a run of the mill bathroom, that WarmlyYours.com says is about 100 square feet.
- Sinks: ($150 - $400) This can be as bland or fancy as you want.
- Vanity: ($150 - $900) For every bland sink, there's a vanity to match.
- Faucet Hardware: ($30 - $100+) There are hundreds of models from which to choose -- from chrome to polished brass.
- Lights: ($50 - $100+) Again lots of choices.
- Towel racks, etc.: ($50 - $100+)
- Paint/Caulking: ($50 - $100+)
- Flooring: ($45 - $100+)
Obviously, you can push the budget up a lot higher than what's quoted above, however, I'm talking about a budget-conscious face lift, complete with a wow-factor, not gutting the bathroom for a complete remodel.
Your facelift can be as low as a few hundred dollars or a couple thousand bucks. But here are a few fix-its that are really (really) cheap, require a very minimal investment and just some good old-fashioned elbow grease:
- Deep cleaning: maybe all this room needs is just a good cleaning. Think sanitizing. Really get down to the nitty-gritty and cut the grease in all the crevices.
- Kill the mildew with a commercial spray. White caulk gleaming from underneath mildew can make all the difference.
- Remove old caulk and recaulk the complete bath.
- Regrout floor and shower tiles.
Before you invest a lot of money to make the next owner happy with your home -- work on a redo so that you enjoy it yourself.