Six DIY home improvements that will expedite your home sale

■ By Matt McPherson / Columnist

The Hemet and San Jacinto Valley is seeing a market ablaze with buyers and the inventory is struggling to accommodate all the demand. Home values are rising at almost 2 percent a month right now, resulting in a recent surge of listings – many of which are selling at or even above listed price. Bidding wars and multiple offer situations are very common and fueling the frustration among many first-time home buyers.
Putting your home up for sale in a hurry can often create frustration from buyers who may feel necessary home renovations were overlooked. If you are considering taking advantage of the hot seller’s market right now, here are a few home improvement tips that are low in cost but can make a huge difference in how fast you sell – and for significantly more cash.

Upgrade your lighting
Energy efficiency and amount of lumens can make a dramatic impression. LED lights have become increasingly more affordable and provide a more modern feel. Contact your local real estate agent for an experienced opinion when considering updating your lighting. “Lighting is similar to clothing or hairstyles” says Karen Gray Plaisted, home stager and owner of Design Solutions KGP. “Lighting can go out of fashion and make a beautiful home look dated. Finding relatively inexpensive light fixtures can make a big impact and be well worth the investment.”
Many local home improvement stores carry inexpensive, yet modern lighting that can upgrade your home from dated to efficient and contemporary. Once you see the difference in appearance and cost efficiency you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Try the local hardware stores instead of the big box stores; you might find something pretty unique.

Dress up the grounds
A well-landscaped and manicured yard can increase a home’s value by up to 28 percent. Employ a landscaper to give the yard a once over or address the details yourself. Edge the lawn, square off hedges, and plant flowers – it makes a huge difference. Minor details like these have a major impact when creating curb appeal. Replace the welcome mat and update the outside porch furniture to give the appearance and featured MLS photo a fresh look. An organized yard appeals to most buyers when they’re looking over properties at such sites like Zillow, Trulia, and The exterior photo is the first picture they see and determines whether they click on your property.

Clean the cabinets
Anticipate nosy buyers who want to riffle through your pantry, cupboards and drawers. Storage space is a primary selling point and can help initiate a sale. How your home is organized and arranged has a subliminal impact on most buyers, who want to see all the potential storage available and may become frustrated if they encounter cluttered cabinets and drawers. In addition, double-check loose drawers and faulty cabinet hinges or hardware that may conjure speculation about lackadaisical maintenance.

Appreciate the hardwood
Dated carpet and flooring is an indicator of the age of the home and can affect the psychology of many potential buyers. So ditch the carpet in favor of hardwood floors, if you can afford it. In many cases the flooring underneath the carpet can be easily sanded, painted or updated for much less cash than you think. If you do decide to keep the carpet, make sure to get it professionally cleaned and tightened.

Wash and paint the walls
Always make an attempt to brighten your home through light or neutral colored paint. Dark or shady colors tend to discourage buyers and are less inviting than bright neutral colors. Buyers can picture themselves living in a home with light and pleasant tones. This style makes the home seem cleaner, larger and much more appealing.
Many homeowners become complacent and somewhat blind to how the walls appear to newcomers. Peeling paint, fingerprints, and dings often go unnoticed in a lived-in home. Fresh, neutral paint is always best, but if your budget does not permit that, washing the walls and doors goes a long way.”

Fix the doors and windows
Older homes with creaking doors and cracked windows seem to deter buyers, even though a quick and cheap fix usually solves the problem. Many sellers believe the overwhelming amount of “charm” an old home possesses will cause the buyers to overlook these minor problems. Not the case. People open and close everything when looking at a home – even the windows.
By not fixing broken windows and doors, it is perceived that basic repairs are being ignored. This may influence the buyer’s impression that you have let your property fall into disrepair, and they will begin to wonder what else isn’t maintained well.
Basic repairs like these, for a minimal investment, can make a huge difference in selling price and how long it takes to sell in the extremely competitive market we’re experiencing here in the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley. Talk to your agent about what factors may expedite the sale of your home. An extra set of unbiased eyes can really make the difference.

Matt McPherson is a licensed real estate agent, BRE# 01362837. Reach him at (951) 315-7914 or

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