When you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, it’s time to look at the bigger picture and tweak some of the smaller details. Sometimes those little niggles that we have come to ignore can be an immediate eyesore for a new pair of eyes. Things that we’ve chosen to live with will likely jump out at someone inspecting your house with a view to upgrading or selling it. Who knows, maybe fixing a few things and a lick of paint will make you fall in love with the old place all over again…
- Wonky doors
Take a look at your kitchen cabinets and closet doors. Are they neatly lined up or looking a little lopsided? Kitchen doors have several adjustment screws that you can turn alternately in and out to change the door’s position. Check to see if any bi-fold doors are running out of alignment: loosen the top screw and bottom pin, adjust the position of the door in the track and tighten up the screw again. Check if the door hinges are loose and work alternate screws lose and tighten up again to balance the alignment. A little adjustment here and there can do wonders for a neat look.
- Sullen floors
Give your wooden (hardwood and laminate and vinyl composite) floors a new lease on life with a reshine or a good clean. Move the furniture out of the way, rather than skirting round the edges and shine it right up with a quality floor cleaner and polish. Rent a carpet cleaner – either the machine itself or the person who has such a machine! Use a stiff brush to clean the dirt from the thresholds and corners, and for tiled floors, brush the grout with a specialized cleaner. If your vinyl or linoleum has worn out beyond repair, time for a trip to the carpet store to rejuvenate the bathroom or kitchen floors.
- Vents with dents
There’s nothing like a new heater vent cover to quickly upgrade your floors. Simply lift out the old plastic or metal grilles with all their dents, rust and dust. While they are open, vacuum out the hole to remove the sand and crumbs that will have accumulated over the years. Check the size of the openings, as they come in a few different sizes, and purchase and insert your shiny new vent cover.
- Dated door knobs
If your brass fittings have lost their shine or their fashionableness, think about a brushed nickel upgrade. Look at the new houses section in the newspaper or check out new developments in your neighbourhood to see what’s “in”. You might be surprised at how affordable bulk door knobs or handles are at your local hardware store and most of them are easy, drop-in replacements. If you go all out, make sure to choose matching finishes for the locks, pulls, stops, hinges and door handles.
- Pull the other one
Don’t stop at the doors – there are closets and cabinet pulls to consider, too. Rather than replacing your kitchen cabinets, maybe all you need is to jazz up the handles. Look for single-hole fittings to drop into the old holes of the cabinets, or if they are two-screw handles, ensure that the new ones are the same distance between mounting holes. When replacing door pulls make sure to check that the base of the knob is at least the same size as the old fittings, otherwise there could be a visible mark on the drawer or cupboard finish showing where you upgraded.
- Smoking hot
There’s no time like the present to mention smoke detectors. If you already check them when the clocks go back/forward, you’re hot – and in the minority of people who regularly maintain their alarms! It’s for our own protection to press the test button and make sure a sharp sound signals that the system is working in our best interest. No noise to be heard? Switch out the batteries and make sure yours are working. It’s also worth remembering that by the time a smoke alarm is 10 years old it needs replacing.
- Light up your life
It’s an alarming fact that most of us are living in the dark. As we get older our eyes actually need brighter light to read the newspaper. If you haven’t tried daylight bulbs before, just try replacing a ceiling flood or wall sconce bulb in a poorly-lit area in your house – maybe an interior hallway without natural light from windows or doors. You’ll see the difference it makes to the whole area – and maybe to your impression of your home – when you first light up! Remember that some bulbs may take a few seconds to come up to the full light output, but that is the price for efficient power usage.
- Front door fix-up
When was the last time you walked up to your front door and rang the bell? Many of us use the garage or side entrance and forget that the front door is the biggest chance for a good first impression when someone visits. Go outside, take a good look around the entrance to your home: what do you see – or don’t see? How welcoming is the colour of your door? Any paint flaking off? How inviting is your gripset? Is it time to invest in some fancier hardware? Or maybe just a good clean with soap and a brush.
- Bathroom basics
You don’t have to throw out the bath with the bathwater, but you might want to replace some of the fixtures. Metal light fittings become tarnished over the years with their daily dose of steam and dampness. Consider new shades or upgrade the whole wall sconce. Replace drippy rubber-seal taps with ones that have a ceramic fitting, and while you’re at it, update the fixed shower head with something more dynamic. Your morning shower will never be the same again.
- Final finish
With all those new and rejuvenated parts of your house, make sure that the Sun can shine on them unfettered. Brush and wash the frames inside and out; coat your panes in warm, soapy water and pull your squeegee across and working downwards to remove the suds (use a lint-free rag to clean the blade after each use); remove any remaining water from around the edges of the window with a lint-free rag or chamois. Wipe off the window sills, and don’t forget the blinds!