Ready to sell?

9 ways to spruce up your home

If you’ve been out of your house at all, you’ve noticed "for sale" signs popping up in front of lots of houses on almost every block of Royal Oak.

And if you just put your home up for sale, there are some quick, relatively inexpensive things you can do to make your home more appealing to buyers. This is truly a case of first impressions counting for a lot.

John Frentz and his wife, Shelley, know the market all of us live in, and they also know about the so-called "little" things in a home that may not seem like a big deal to you as the homeowner, but could make the difference to a buyer who’s considering purchasing your home.

For example:

Fresh coat of paint
The color of your walls can make a large difference in a potential buyer’s mood. Invest in a little paint – "off white, a light beige or yellow, something from the lighter end of the spectrum," John says. The idea is to let the buyer picture him- or herself living in the home, not fitting themselves into your lifestyle.

Make the switch
Once you’ve painted, fresh switch plates are an inexpensive way to tastefully finish off the job. You’ll probably be surprised at how dirty and scuffed your old switch plates are, and they probably won’t go with the new paint job, either.

Fix leaky faucets
"Check for leaky faucets and fix them. Often, it’s only a washer," says John, but a potential buyer doesn’t know if it’s a washer or a bigger problem. Washers at Frentz and Sons Hardware start at 20 cents. If you don’t know how to replace a washer, just bring the stem in and John or someone else will show you how.

Clean, clean, clean
Shelley says the first thing that catches her eye is whether things are really clean, or were just cleaned for the occasion. "Particularly mini blinds. We’ve got a multi-pronged brush that works really well on those." Other areas she thinks about are clean appliances, particularly if they’re being offered with the home, the cabinets under kitchen sinks, and bathrooms.

Bathtub refinishing
Some tubs have lost so much porcelain over the years that they can’t be cleaned, but they can be refinished. Frentz has a kit that will do it and can save you the expense of calling in someone to do it. It if truly is just a cleaning issue, John and Shelley recommend a product they carry called "X-14" for killing mildew, and "The Works" product line for cleaning rust out of tubs and toilets.

If it's broke, fix it
"Fix broken door latches, windows and screens," John says. Frentz can cut glass and screens to fit, and door latches are fairly easy to replace. These are some of the first things prospective buyers see and touch. If latches work and windows and screens are intact, they’ll probably not even notice them. But if they’re broken, it’s one of the main things buyers will remember. All this work is a small investment compared to what you gain," John says. "But no one wants to move into a house knowing they’ve got two weeks worth of projects to do – they’ve got enough on their minds."

Tidy up the basement
DON’T paint the basement unless it’s already been painted, both John and Shelley agree. If you do, buyers will think you’re trying to fake them out about water damage and possible flooding. "The best thing to do is just make sure it’s real clean – that says honesty," John says.

Watch your steps
Check your front steps for cracks larger than hairline. If you find any, invest in a bag of Quikrete and do the best job you can of neatly filling in cracks and small holes. "It’s better to have something look as though it was worked on than left alone," John says.

Ring, ring?
And finally, the doorbell. If it doesn’t work, you could claim just to be antisocial, and that you really like it that way, but buyers will find the argument unconvincing. You have two ways to go here: First, check the transformer, which is in your basement, screwed to the rafters. It’s a metal box slightly smaller but a little thicker than a pack of cigarettes, and it might have blown. That’s an easy fix – much easier than tearing your house apart to get to all the doorbell wiring behind molding and walls. But most likely its the wires behind the door bell buttons most of the times the twisted and shorted out to one and other or to the aluminum siding.

There’s also an even easier fix – the wireless doorbell. John says you just hang the doorbell button, which has a battery inside, on the outside of the house where it normally goes by the door. Inside the house you plug a small box that acts at the bell unit into in any socket in the house. It can be moved from room to room, in case you’re going to be working in the basement or watching the kids.

However, if you’re determined to rewire that doorbell the way it was originally wired 40 years ago, stop by Frentz – John will draw a diagram for you. Remember though that the original wires are all paltered in behind the walls.