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The Costs of Transforming Your Home into a Buyers Dream House

Turning your house into the home of a buyer's dreams doesn't have to cost a great deal of money. In fact, armed with some paint and the determination to work hard, most home sellers usually need to invest only about $500 to spruce up their homes for a quick sale.

A little paint, inside and out, and some good, old-fashioned "sweat equity" will go a long way toward transforming the look and feel of your home. If you have a Restore outlet (the thrift store for Habitat for Humanity) near you, you'll also be able to save considerably on lighting fixtures, "oops" paint, and other building materials.

If you shop carefully, you can also find great sales at the various home building supply stores that are springing up around the country. They carry just about anything you'll need, and their prices are generally quite good, compared to department and retails stores.

So how much should you spend on transforming your house? As I mentioned earlier, if your home needs only paint, you can spend $500 or less to get it looking great. But if you have to upgrade fixtures or carpeting, the cost of completely going through your home may run up to $8,000.

When you begin to approach that upper figure, it's worthwhile to do a cost vs. benefit analysis to see how much added value your home will gain, and how much quicker it will sell once the work is done and the fixtures upgraded. If your home sits on the market for several months, those added mortgage payments may end up costing you more than a new built-in range or new carpet. So weigh each upgrade to see if it will help sell your home quicker, and for more money.

Most of the time, it's not necessary to replace every appliance and carpet in your home to get a quick sale. Elbow grease can replace cash outlay in most cases, and will help transform your house into a home that a potential buyer won't be able to live without.

(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

Professor Jeanette Fisher, author of Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars, Joy to the Home, and other books teaches Real Estate Investing and Design Psychology. For more articles, tips, reports, newsletters, and sales flyer template, see

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