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An Expert’s Guide to Modernizing Your New (Old) Home

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So, you found your dream home. It’s the perfect size, has the amenities you were looking for and it’s in a great neighborhood. There’s just one little thing… it’s not quite as updated as you would have liked.

Finding a home that needs a little love should not be a deal breaker. As long as it has good bones (think a solid infrastructure, sound plumbing and mechanics, and a floor plan that flows) and fits your budget, it could be worth putting in a little elbow grease.

“Many buyers don’t mind doing some remodeling as long as the price is right,” says Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated agent Shannon Diiorio, “It could be a great opportunity to choose your own upgrades and build instant equity.”

We asked the experts for advice on simple, budget-friendly remodeling tips and tricks that you can use to get your almost-there new place to picture perfect condition.

Remove Clutter and Bad Lighting

“One no-cost way to refresh a home is to remove the clutter,” says Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated agent Chrystal Warrington. Removing outdated fixtures and furniture will give you a good idea of what needs updating. She says replacing harsh lighting with warm, white bulbs is a quick and easy way to get your home looking shiny and new.

Update the Walls with a Fresh Coat of Paint

It’s important to consider a remodel as more of a restoration than a total redo, and it goes without saying that a new coat of paint can go far in terms of revitalizing your space. According to Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated agent Chris Nolte, who is part of the Applebaum Nolte Realty Group, painting is the best way to refresh a room. “You can use accent colors that can really help improve a space, and you can change the hue as frequently as you like,” he says.

Start with the Bathroom and Kitchen Bathroom

Minor bathroom and kitchen remodels are among the top average return on investment when the home is sold.  Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated agent Patricia Kolea suggests incorporating new fixtures, like a vanity, mirrored medicine cabinet and new lighting into a dated bathroom. For the kitchen, she suggests installing granite counters, stainless steel appliances and a trendy tile backsplash for a modern update.

Look Online for Inspiration

When Diiorio suggested incorporating salvaged barn doors to add rustic charm to a boring entranceway, her clients went straight to the DIY Network to learn just how to find the right style and install the mounts. When it comes to home renovation, it’s safe to assume that no matter how lofty the project, someone has already been through it, and probably written about it.  Manhattan Nest is a blog that’s covered real estate, renovation and the bounty of a great auction since 2010.  Apartment Therapy provides peeks into some very inspirational homes as well as tips on colors, trends, and design for renters and owners alike. Take a look around the internet to find a site that speaks to exactly what it is you’re looking for. No matter how eccentric the task, you won’t come up empty-handed.

Add Local Auctions (and Salvage Yard Trips) to Your Calendar

“Covering an accent wall with wooden planks, or even going faux with modern wallpaper is an inexpensive way to liven up a room,” says Diiorio. Depending on the resources you need, hunting through a salvage yard and going to building supply auctions are ways to get great, one-of-a-kind pieces for a fraction of the price they might cost brand new. Look up local building supply auctions (Lancaster’s Wolgemuth Auction is held the second Thursday of every month at 9 a.m.) for gently used building materials and lumber. Often, you can find unique items that will add a special touch to your home.

Consider the Bigger Picture

One last thing to remember when considering that new (old) place? The good bones we talked about earlier. “You can always address cosmetic issues on your timeline and within your budget,” says Nolte, “but you want to make sure you’re going to be able to live comfortably while you’re making these changes.” He recommends paying special attention to the condition of the roof, HVAC and electrical systems, windows and exterior doors. “You can move at your own pace updating the cosmetics of the home as long as it is structurally sound,” he says.

Ready to make your move? For more information about buying or selling a home in the communities of the Greater Philadelphia area and the Delaware Valley, visit Coldwell Banker Preferred online at www.coldwellbankerhomes.com/philadelphia.