Inexpensive Kitchen Updates

Inexpensive Kitchen Updates. A neighbor called me yesterday asking what she should do to get her kitchen updated should they decide to sell their home. She stated she was getting bids to tear down walls, rip out cabinets and do a total remodel. Wait! Did you know you could give your kitchen a makeover without breaking the bank? I suggested they may want to skip the custom cabinetry, as a few key changes could make a huge impact.

1. Reface or paint cabinets

Buyers like bright, clean sleek looking kitchens. If your is rocking the 70’s with a dark oak finish, why not paint them a soft white, light grey or even sage green? Think out of the box. Look at pictures in magazines or on TV for looks that are popular. You get an entirely new, fresh look for little expense.

2. Buy new hardware

Have you thought about changing the knobs and pulls? New hardware comes in a myriad of finishes, and looks.  Hardware to cabinets is like earrings that set off an outfit you are wearing. When you go shopping, bring a current drawer pull to ensure your new pieces match the size of your old hardware and holes that are already drilled into doors and drawers. If your cabinets and drawers don’t have any hardware, consider installing pulls and knobs or handles and see how it adds that finishing touch!

3. Replace your faucet

Another easy update is adding a more modern, statement faucet. Look for a finish and style that works well with your kitchen’s aesthetic. I would consider leaning more towards the modern and bold. The finish should work with the other metals in the room.

4. Purchase new lighting fixtures

Update your lighting fixtures with stylish, modern replacements. Do you have a space, perhaps over a breakfast counter where hanging pendants in a bold colored glass would work? Take out florescent tubes and replace with canned lights. Think about adding under cabinet lighting to set the mood. Work surfaces should be well lit, and the lights can be an amazing addition to the overall look of your kitchen.

5. Replace counters and backsplashes

If your cabinets are in good shape, but you have tile counter-tops, there are inexpensive sold surface alternatives, like granite, that are pre-cut and ready to be installed. Couple a new counter with a updated backsplash and your kitchen will look modern, fresh and ready for your first open house! Other lower cost updates that won;t break the bank include: new window coverings, doors, fresh coat of paint on the walls and a thorough cleaning. Make it shine. Remember, the kitchen is the heart of the home and the old adage that ‘kitchens and baths sell a home’ still ring true. So, if you plan on staying put and enjoying your homes for many years to come, go ahead and knock down those walls. But, if you are preparing your home for sale, consider the information shared above. For more seller tips to preparing your home for sale, please contact Dayna Wilson Real Estate for a personal consultation.

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Autumn Inspections-get your home ready

Autumn Inspections

It’s time to get your home ready for winter, whether you plan to sell or stay put. With an El Niño year upon the San Francisco Bay region, we are expecting a wetter than normal period to start the winter off, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

Get your home ready for winter

Get your home ready for winter

It’s time to get your home ready:

  • Walk around your home and look closely at the exterior walls, siding, and trim. Does anything need to be repaired to waterproof your home?
  • Inspect/clean your gutters and downspouts to ensure they are clear of leaves, sticks and other debris
  • Look at your exterior paint and trim for cracks that could let water in
  • Check your roof tiles or shingles for cracks that may cause leaks and damage
  • Check for gaps between the windows and door frames – anything larger than the edge of a nickel should be resealed with exterior caulk

For more tips, call Dayna Wilson-Keller Williams Realty

Seniors Real Estate Specialist

photos by: ollesvensson &

Home Sellers Guide – List Price (2)

Another mistake home sellers make is basing their list price on what the neighbor sold his house for:
In today’s seller’s Market in the East Bay cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, etc. most homes for sale are receiving multiple offers. The homes that are the most move-in ready get the most offers. So, if your home has less amenities that appeal to the buyers or more issues requiring repair or replacement found in inspections it will not sell for the same amount. Also the amount and type and quality of any updating or remodeling will have bearing on the price.

Does your home compare with your neighbors'?

Does your home compare with your neighbors’?

If your neighbor’s home is SOLD and has a comparable location, condition, size, size of lot and floor plan then it may indeed be a home to base your list price on. (Remember-busy street vs. one with less traffic, flat lot vs. one with little usable area, undated in the 70’s vs. updated recently, strange floor plans vs. open concept…all these things make a difference in the buyers’ eyes and pocketbook.)

More to follow from your Home Sellers Guide – Dayna Wilson Keller Williams Realty – East Bay

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Home Improvements that Return Your Investment

It’s always a great idea to ask your trusted real estate professionals about the projects you are planning on doing before you commit to the work. I have seen home owners and potential sellers put a lot of money into remodeling and repairs that should have been spent elsewhere. It’s all about the ROI and what potential buyers will want. And, it’s MY job to watch YOUR bottom line and what you will net at close of escrow.

Think about your ROI

Think about your ROI


Homes for Sale-Fix your home before you list?

To FIX IT or NOT, that my Home Selling Friends is today’s question! Fix or not fix?

I meet with a lot of people who want an initial consultation to discuss selling their home. They invite me over to tell them what, if anything, they should do to fix up their properties before placing it on the market for sale.  Sellers want to net the most amount of money possible. Every home has issues, some obvious and others hidden. Don’t think the buyer will assume the only problems are those that are visible. Whether you home has small or more significant challenges, you will need to decide if it will net you more money to fix them or offer your house “as-is” for a lower price.

Inspections: I highly recommend Sellers get their own Home, Pest and Roof (chimney?) inspections before listing. This allows them to understand if there are any defects that could probably be rectified for less money than it will cost them when the buyer negotiates for a lower sales price. Get some bids to better understand the scope and cost of the work that is required. Note: there are Health & Safety issues than many or most lenders will not allow. These types of issues are required to be fixed before close of escrow.

Frankly, buyer-ordered inspections can be used as bargaining ammunition; everything wrong with you house is exposed and buyers will try to drive down the price.

Time: Fixing issues with your home takes time. If you have already purchased another home, you may not be able to afford the expense of two mortgages. Until the escrow is closed you continue to pay for upkeep, taxes and insurance, even if your home is paid off.

Appealing to the masses: Most buyers want to move in, unpack and start enjoying their new home. the pool of buyers seeking a long list of ‘honey-do’ items is smaller than the number of buyers looking for a move-in ready home.

Think like a buyer: The majority of buyers want spaces that are clean, light and bright. Paint the walls, put in new carpet, (or at least clean it) fix the leaking faucets and replace the missing shingles. If you are facing major issues concerning the structure or foundation, you will want to get bids to determine the cost. If you put in $20,000, but will get $25,000. back when you sell….do the work upfront! Sellers, I recommended you get your own inspections pre-sale so you are in the drivers seat and can determine what you will fix, what you won’t and what will be a negotiating item.

photo by: boboroshi

Affordable Make-Over Projects for less than $500.

Makeover projects to improve the look of your home don’t have to break the bank, and many projects can be done over a weekend. Do-it-yourself updates, for a small price, can produce great results and give you the most value for your renovation dollar. Here are 10 projects based on affordable ideas:

1. Lay out the welcome mat Welcome!

Your home’s curb appeal will be vastly improved with a few touches that make your home’s entrance more inviting. You don’t have to spend a fortune to paint your front door a new cheery color, install new door hardware, buy a welcome mat, and arrange a few potted plants. Give guests, including future buyers, a strong first impression of your home by improving the first area they see: the entrance. You can even go the extra step by installing some outdoor lighting to show off the landscape and decorative features.

2. Let there be light

A new light fixture is an easy way to replace an existing outdated fixture and for example, you can improve the look of your kitchen’s eating area in no time. This simple improvement will conveniently improve the light of a particular room as well as improve the look of your home’s aesthetic.

3. Backyard Bistro

Flagstone tile is a rustic-style tile that is a great cheap option for outdoor tile installations. You might not have the extra funds for an expensive outdoor patio, but you can make a cute backyard escape over one weekend by arranging flagstone tile. Just add some outdoor seating and potted plants, and you’ll be set to pour yourself a glass of lemonade and enjoy your new and improved backyard.

4. Hardware Change  Hardware - Like jewelry for your doors & cabinets

Replacing factory-issued handles and pulls on your cabinets and drawers is an inexpensive and quick way to update the look of your kitchen or other areas with cabinetry. With a little searching, you can find unique handles that are more in line with your design preferences.

5. A Step Up

Your home’s stairway is often overlooked as a place to add distinctive touches that will improve the style of your home and foyer. Unique railings, embellishments, or color can add the perfect amount of flair to your staircase with little expense.

6. Dimmers

Your dining room or living room will be greatly improved with the addition and installation of dimmer switches. Dimmers give you control to set the mood of a room and will improve your home’s resale value.

7. New Backsplash

While you might feel like redoing your kitchen, there’s a much more inexpensive way to give your kitchen a fresh look: a bold new backsplash. Ceramic or glass tile along the wall is a great way to transform a dull-looking kitchen.

8. Sink or Swim

If you’re bored with your bathroom, consider replacing an old sink with a brand new one. Maybe you’ve always wanted a pedestal sink or a completely different style to energize the space.

9. Interior Doors

Switching out a plain old door with a detailed antique door can do wonders to update your home’s interior elements. You can also switch out hollow-core doors that are not as effective in keeping out noise.

10. Wallpaper one wall

By just wallpapering one wall of a room as an accent wall, you’ll cut down on cost and create instant character with a stylish design that complements a room’s décor. A room with just plain walls and no built-ins is ideal for papering a single wall.

Source: Jill Hamilton – Client Direct

Let the Sunshine In…with Windows

Windows can bring light and warmth, provide views, beautify inside and out and add tremendous value to your home. They also can let in the elements and intruders that put your home at risk. That’s why windows – quality windows – must be considered an important investment. The cost of windows will depend on the type, dimensions, materials used, security features, the complexity of the installation, and, of course, the number of windows needed.

Let the sunshine

Let the sunshine in

Number of Windows

Generally, the more windows you need to install, the more expensive the installation price. But installation professionals will charge less per window if you install several at the same time. So if you’re thinking about only replacing a couple of windows, it might make sense for you to talk to your pro about the cost of installing multiple windows at one time. It may save you money in the long run.

Window Sizes

Windows tend toward different dimensions depending on where they’re needed. Living rooms typically have larger picture windows hung in multiples ranging from 3×4′ to 6×6′. Standard bathroom windows are quite a bit smaller, ranging from 2×1.5′ to 2×3′. Major window manufacturers can customize windows to any dimensions, but be aware that you may pay more for odd sizes.

Window Sash Materials

Vinyl windows are inexpensive and require little or no maintenance. They’re also extremely durable; changes in humidity don’t cause them to swell or shrink. Most vinyl window manufacturers stand behind their products with strong warranties. Their greatest drawback is that they’re not as sturdy or attractive as wood. Wood frames, on the other hand, cost more and require much more maintenance. Fail to repaint and finish wooden window frames and they become susceptible to the elements. But all that work and money can be worth it for the classic, authentic architectural appeal of wood. That’s why some historical neighborhoods have covenants requiring that windows be framed with wood. New composite windows attempt to capture the best of both worlds by mixing PVC polymers with wood fiber to create a stronger, more attractive synthetic window frame.

Window Panes

New windows can save you considerable money on your utility bills and make your home more comfortable. Windows are rated by the U-factor. The lower the U-factor, the more energy efficient and higher the initial cost. You’ll pay more for double-pane windows, but they will pay for themselves over time. Experts say double-pane windows can save up to 24 percent in cold climates during the winter and up to 18 percent in hot climates during the summer.

Before you spend money on any remodeling project, ask your trusted real estate consultant which repairs, replacements or upgrades will bring you the greatest return on your investment in your geographic location.
Source: Home Advisor