What to fix:
There are some must-fix items you should consider as soon as you step into your house. Hire an inspector to assess any structural or plumbing and electrical problems first. Then address the cosmetic issues.
- Hardware: Replace doorknobs, drawer pulls, and cabinet knobs.
- Light fixtures: If they look outdated, get rid of them and go with something fresh.
- Heat/air: Install new furnace or central air conditioning, if needed.
- Kitchen: Put in new appliances, countertops and sink; add a dishwasher if there isn’t one.
- Bathroom: Install new toilet, vanity, tub/shower, tile, and flooring.
- Walls: Remove outdated wallpaper and paint neutral colors. Flat beige walls, flat white ceilings, semi-gloss white trim.
- Flooring: Don’t try to shampoo disgusting carpet. Replace with new carpet, laminate, or hardwood, depending on your budget.
- Outdoor/landscaping: Make driveway or garage improvements, add a patio or deck, re-sod yard, and put in new plants.
Estimate each line-item in your budget high. Add a line-item for contingency of an additional 20% of the total.
Shop around for contractors. Schedule them properly to avoid downtime, while you are paying your mortgage and nothing is getting done.