This Meyers 2-bedroom, 2-bath home is perfect if you are looking for an island of privacy: surrounded by a mixture of unbuildable public and private land, there is not a neighbor to be seen from the redwood deck in the backyard, only a peek of the mountains and mature aspens and willows along the seasonal creek. You enter to open plan living with a gorgeous kitchen, new in 2014, with locally-made alder cabinets, stainless appliances, and granite slab countertops. The two bedrooms are both large, the master with an en suite bath; the other bedroom, currently used as an office, would have been split to two small rooms in many houses this size but here remains a single, very large room. A classic woodstove will keep you warm in winter. Between the one-car garage with bonus space and the 10×10 shed in the yard, you’ll have plenty of storage. This is a very livable house in a flat, sunny area that anyone would be proud to call home. All this for $396,000.
Do you have some—but not unlimited—cash for upgrades? Here are budget-minded enhancements to make your home stand out from the competition.
1. Tidy up kitchen cabinets.
“Potential buyers do open kitchen cabinets and look inside,” says Morrissey. “Home owners can add rollout organizing trays so when buyers peek in, they feel like there’s lots of room for their stuff.”
2. Add or replace tile.
“By retiling very inexpensively, you make a room look way cleaner that it was,” says Javier Zuluaga, owner of Home Repairs and Remodeling LLC in Tempe, Ariz. “Every city has stores that offer $1 to $2 tile, so home owners have to pay only for the low-cost tile and labor to replace a dated backsplash or add a new one. We also use inexpensive tile to upgrade bathrooms.”
3. Add a breakfast bar.
When a wall separates a kitchen from a family room, suggest cutting out an opening to create a breakfast bar. “In one home, there was a cutout in the wall between the kitchen and living room,” explains Matthew Quinn, a sales associate at Quinn’s Realty & Estate Services in Falls Church, Va., who handles estate and real estate sales for family members whose loved ones have passed away. “We left the structure of the cutout, added an oversized granite breakfast bar, and put chairs in front of it. That cost about $600.”
4. Install granite tile instead of a slab.
“Everybody is hot for granite kitchen countertops, but that can be a $5,000 upgrade,” says John Wilder, a general contractor and owner of Fence and Deck Doctor in New Castle, Ind. “Instead, home owners can put in 12-inch granite tiles for about $300 in materials and get very high impact for little money.”
5. Freshen up a bathroom without retiling.
“With a dated bathroom, I recommend putting in a new medicine cabinet for $100 to $150, light fixtures for about $100, a faucet for $50 to $75, and a vanity for $200 to $300,” says Wilder. “And instead of replacing the tile, the existing grout can be lightly scraped and regrouted, which leaves a haze that can be buffed out and will make the tile look brand new. Also install glass shower doors. A French door adds a lot of panache and elegance for $250, and people will notice the door, not the tile. With all that, you’ve done a bathroom remodel for $1,000 to $2,000.”
6. Freshen up the basement.
“If home owners have cement block or poured concrete walls in the basement, suggest they have a contractor fill in cracks with hydraulic cement and then paint with waterproofing paint,” recommends Wilder. “They can then add a top coat to add color. They can also paint the basement floor with a good floor paint, which spiffs it up. The basement may not be finished, but it’s no longer a damp dungeon.”
7. Add a room.
Look for large spaces that can be enclosed to create a new bedroom for just the price of creating a wall. “One time, we closed off a half-wall to an office and added a door to the other side of the room, thus creating another bedroom,” says Quinn. “That $400 procedure, which took a contractor one day, netted about $40,000 in the sales price.” Zuluaga has also added bedrooms inexpensively. “In a two-bedroom house, there was an archway that led to a third room that was used as a den,” he explains. “It had a dry bar where there would have been a closet, so we took out the dry bar and created a closet so the owners had a third bedroom.”
8. Spruce up cabinet fronts.
Suggest home owners update tired-looking kitchen cabinets. Reconditioning is the least expensive move for under $1,000. “If the wood is starting to look shabby from use or contaminants in the air, we take out the nicks and scratches, recondition it with oil, and put new hardware on,” explains Heidi Morrissey, vice president of marketing and sales at Kitchen Tune-Up in Aberdeen, S.D. For $1,500 to $4,000, owners can replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and for $4,000 to $12,000, they can have all the cabinets refaced. “With refacing, owners can change the color of the cabinets by replacing the door and having a new skin put on the boxes,” says Morrissey. “If they have oak cabinets today, they can have cherry the next day.”
9. Replace light fixtures.
“In a foyer and in bathrooms and kitchens,” says Wilder, “replacing overhead light fixtures provides a lot of pop for a little money.” If the kitchen has track lighting, Zuluaga suggests the home owner spend $450 to $600 to have an electrician replace it with recessed canned lights on a dimmer switch to add ambience. For about $700, Zuluaga also suggests installing pendant lights over a kitchen island or peninsula.
10. Tech-up the garage.
“Sometimes we replace the garage door opener with a remote touchpad entry system,” says Zuluaga. “That costs about $425 and makes it look like a high-end system.”
Here are just a few family friendly events for Friday Dec 4th and Saturday Dec 5th.
Friday Dec 4th
- South Lake Tahoe Community Tree and Menorah Lighting from 5 to 7pm. This is hosted by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority at the Visitors Center, 3066 Lake Tahoe Blvd. The event will feature appearances by Santa and Mrs. Clause along with their elves. Fee sleigh rides courtesy of Borges Sleigh Rides. Complementary refreshments and will be provided. Please bring canned food or a toy to benefit Christmas Cheer. For more info call Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority at 530-544-5050.
- Tahoe Art League Holiday Boutique from 5-7:30 pm. This is located next to the Community Tree and Menorah Lighting. Come in for hot cider and see the unique Holiday gifts made by local artist.
Saturday Dec 5th
- Huge Estate Sale from 8:30-4:00. 816 Hazel Drive in South Lake Tahoe.
- Tahoe Figure Skating Club’s Christmas on Ice at the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena from 5-6pm. Local figure skaters perform to holiday music. The Lake Tahoe Elementary Choir will perform. Call 530-416-2324 for more information.
- Breakfast with Santa from 9-11am at the Kahle Community Center located at 236 Kingsbury Grade in Stateline. The pancake breakfast will be prepared and served ty firefighters from the Tahoe Douglas Fire District. Tickets are $2 and pre-registration is recommended. Call the community center for more information 775-586-7271.
- The South Lake Tahoe Branch Library is seeking volunteers of all ages to help make wreaths and tree ornaments for assisted care patients at Barton Hospital form 10 to noon. 1000 Rufus Allen Blvd. Enjoy Christmas music and refreshments. Call Jan at the library for more information 530-573-3185
- Chamber mixer with Santa from 2-5pm. Located at 4000 Lake Tahoe Blvd #29. Santa will be on-hand for free photos with children. For more information call 530-542-5060.
Hope you have a good weekend…..
Once again we have a lot going on this week in South Tahoe. Here are a few ideas if you are looking for something to do.
- Nov 11 Veterans Day ceremony 11-11:30am at the American Legion Post #795 located at 2748 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Rain or Shine
- Nov 12-14 “The Importance of Being Earnest” playing at the Lake Tahoe Community College Duke Theater at 8pm. For more information please call the Duke Theatre Box Office at 530-541-4660 x207.
- Nov 12 Mt. Tallac Leadership fundraising event at Chevys Fresh Mex. 25% fo the total will be donated to this local school. 4-9pm located at 3678 Lake Tahoe Blvd. This is a super fun way to enjoy a great dinner and support our local youth.
- Nov 13 Tahoe Senior Plaza yearly Craft, Bake and Rummage Sale. Stars at 9am. For more info call 530-542-7048.
- Nov 13 The 39th annual “An Evening of Food and Wine Tasting” presented by Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe. Food, wine, silent auction and more. Tickets at 866-801-8652.
- Nov 14th Friends of the Library Book Sale at the El Dorado County Branch Library. Located at 3300 Lake Tahoe Blvd from 10-3. For more info call 530-542-2857.
These are just some ideas. Hope you have a great week. Possible snow tomorrow!!!! Wax the boards and skis.