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Kitchen and Bath

In most houses, two rooms hold sway: the kitchen and the bathroom. For sellers, repairs and upgrades to a kitchen or bath have the highest returns. If your budget or timeline is limited, you'll want to focus the lion's share of your attention on these two rooms. Here are some inexpensive ways to spruce up your house's two major selling points.

Organize Your Kitchen and Bath. Before spending a lot of time and money on unnecessary remodeling, declutter first. Deep clean and organize each room. When messy cabinets and countertops are fixed up, you might only need to reorganize your pantry or linen closet before showing. Buy a new shower curtain - make sure it's white or a neutral color - and a rollaway storage bin for your bathroom. Make sure your kitchen is organized with a shelving unit in the pantry and appropriate storage for utensils and dinnerware.

Paint. A new coat of paint will produce the most dramatic effect to each room. Paint your kitchen a neutral color. If you're repainting a bathroom, you can stick to your neutral color or use cool, muted colors like a pale blue or light green. If you have cabinets in your bathroom, they should always be painted white before an open house.

Replace Fixtures and Faucets. Update old fixtures and faucets. Obviously, a broken faucet should be replaced immediately, and dingy fixtures can reflect poorly on an otherwise sparkling room. In your bathroom, replace old medicine cabinets and dingy mirrors. Also, take a look at design trends: your fixtures could be woefully outdated, which will translate to an additional expense in a buyer's mind.

Install a New Kitchen Sink or Countertop. An old sink or countertop that's chipped or stained could detract buyers. Check your budget before you shop. The options for sinks and countertops cover a wide price range, and you're buying to sell not to settle in.

Update Tubs and Toilets. Like fixtures and faucets, tubs and toilets can fade out of style. If your toilet isn't white or off-white, think about replacing it. After cleaning your tub, you can spruce up its look by adding new tile grout. Replacing a tub is a major project, so weigh the cost against your estimated return before hiring contractors.

Upgrade Cabinet Hardware. Replace your cabinets' hardware for a quick facelift. New doorknobs and drawer pulls could be all a kitchen or baths need for a new look. And it will spare you the costly venture of installing new cabinets.

Stage to Sell. After a thorough organization, you'll want to keep the bath and kitchen pleasant to a buyer's eyes. Don't lay bath mats, as they distract from the cleanliness and space of your bath. Use neutral color towels and washcloths to accent the room instead. Also, don't hang art that is too loud in either room. Keep things as neutral as possible so buyer's can imagine their own style taking effect in each room. Placing citrus fruits in each room can help with aromas. Don't use air fresheners as they can overpower a room, and distract a buyer from all your hard work.

After adding these touch-ups to each room, your place may need more work. Flooring could be in disrepair, or major appliances could be beyond salvaging. While these upgrades aren't cheap, your house might not sell without them. But don't fret. Lowe's How-To section can help.

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