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Consider potential buyer when remodeling
Save money
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If you’re waiting out the housing market before you sell your home, consider using this time to remodel and increase its value. You’re likely to find deals not only for the materials, but also in the cost of remodelers looking for work.
Look first to basic fixups you can do yourself. Maintenance items such as loose stair treads, leaky windows and sagging gutters should be first on your remodeling list.
Work with what you have. Sometimes just breaking out a wall between a cramped kitchen and the family room can add to appearance. Older kitchen cabinets can be moved to the basement or garage for more storage. Even new cabinet fronts and upgraded bathroom lighting can add a fresh look, as can new tile in the bathroom or on the kitchen backsplash.
For materials, check the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area, recycling centers, freebies like FreeCycle and the free section of, and building-supply stores that are going out of business (check your purchase carefully as you likely won’t be able to make a return or get a refund.)
If you’re “underwater” (you owe more than your house is worth), a partial remodel can help increase the potential selling price. An additional bedroom in the attic with a bathroom can add significant value, as can a finished basement. Consult with a real estate agent to determine how much value an extensive remodel will add.
Strike a balance between what a new buyer would likely want to see when it’s time to sell, and what you can live with should you decide to stay in the house. Beware any customizations that a buyer wouldn’t appreciate.
Keep the outside of your home in top shape at all times. Invest in some shrubbery and flower baskets, and keep the lawn mowed and trimmed this summer. You never know who might remember it later or who might talk about that “attractive house” down the street with a “For Sale” sign in the yard.
Do the math before you start. Look online for a remodeling budget estimator to get an idea what your intended project could cost, then check those figures with calls to hardware and supply stores.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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