If you own a home but are dreaming of selling or buying something new, you may be unsure if this is the right time, and you’re not alone. Currently, 32% of potential buyers say they plan to wait for interest rates to drop before taking out a new mortgage. As discouraging as it may seem, you’re not without options. There are many things you can do to keep your home looking new without emptying your bank account. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Give your home a bathroom
When you’re considering selling, you’ll probably hear that the first thing that catches potential buyers’ attention is how your home looks from the street. In other words, spruce it up. But even if you’re not selling anytime soon, you deserve to enjoy your home’s exterior every time you drive down the road.
If it’s been a while since the exterior has been washed, you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make. For an average of $90, you can rent a power washer for the day and scrub away years of dirt, dead bugs, and even mold.
But before you start, test an inconspicuous area of the house to make sure the water hasn’t dropped more than dead bugs. You don’t want the paint to peel or the siding to warp.
2. Tidy up the garden
Few things make a garden look better than weed-free beds, new mulch, and freshly planted flowers. Fill simple planters with bright flowers and place them on the front porch for an inviting look. This is another example of a hold-out being applied to you rather than a potential buyer.
3. Organize the interior
One of the least exciting but most important things you can do to make your home feel new is to go through every room and get rid of everything you don’t need or use. Research shows that the human brain loves order. Clutter reduces the ability to focus and drains cognitive resources. It can even reduce working memory.
Get rid of clutter by selling or giving away items you can live without. Not only will your home feel calmer, but your brain will thank you too.
One of the cheapest ways to make a home feel new is to add a fresh coat of paint. A gallon of interior paint costs between $15 and $60 on average. Pick a color that makes you feel comfortable and take action.
5. Focus on companies
Unless your kitchen cabinets are made of a rare, beautiful wood that you don’t want to veneer, consider painting them, too. Walking into a kitchen with freshly painted cabinets is like walking into a completely new room. If you’re doing it yourself, be sure to use door and trim paint to ensure a durable finish. The change will cost you a fraction of the cost of new cabinets.
6. Add hardware
Another way to change the look of the cabinets in your home is to replace the drawers and knobs. There are literally thousands of options available, making it a quick and easy upgrade to customize new hardware. Like shabby chic? Many stores, from Walmart to Lowes, sell this type of hardware. Prefer modern? Check out your local hobby store or Amazon for sleek, modern style options.
Be sure to shop around as prices vary. There’s no reason to take money out of your savings account to pay for the change when it can be done so cheaply.
7. Update the lighting
If your current lighting looks like something from the ’80s (not the 1880s, because that would be cool), it might be time for a change. Like hardware, lighting is available at all price points, meaning you can save big by shopping around. First, change the lighting in the most frequently used rooms.
Paying for your project
There are several ways to cover the cost of your project. You can withdraw money from your checking account or use a credit card. Obviously, making purchases with your debit card will leave you debt-free, but paying with credit can earn you some pretty nice rewards.
Let’s say you use a credit card with no annual fee, such as the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. Or you can use the Citi Custom Cash® Card (see rates and fees). Wells Fargo will reward you with 2% cash back on your purchases, and Citi will give you 1% to 5% cash back (plus 20,000 ThankYou® Points if you’re new to the card).
Apply for the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card now.
Apply now for the Citi Custom Cash® Card.
Another option is to open a credit card with a 0% APR promotional rate. For example, Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers the best of both worlds – 0% Intro APR for 15 months and 1% to 5% cash back on Purchases.
Apply now for Chase Freedom Flex℠.
The important thing to remember is this: Using a Wells Fargo or Citi credit card only pays if you pay off the balance in full by the end of the first billing cycle. This way, you won’t pay interest on your purchases and the cashback will actually be money in your pocket. If you opt for a card with a 0% APR introductory promotional period, make sure it’s refunded before your promotional period ends. Otherwise, interest will be charged on your balance when the interest rate increases to the standard rate.
The idea here is to give yourself every financial break possible while remodeling your current home. And remember, any improvements you make today will likely make it easier to sell your home when the time comes.
Meanwhile, you fall in love with your home again.
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