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According to Jim Anderson, a broker with RE/MAX Premier Properties in Chicago’s Gold Coast who specializes in the neighborhoods of Andersonville and Edgewater, homeowners can improve their kitchens and bathrooms significantly without spending a small fortune.

“What the typical older kitchen and bathroom need most is to be cleaned out and de-cluttered,” he says.

Owners should also handle any deferred maintenance, such as fixing leaky faucets, painting chipped or peeling cabinet doors and making sure windows work smoothly. New shower curtains and well-scrubbed floors can also make a positive impact. A fresh coat of paint in both kitchens and baths can go a long way toward making these rooms seem more modern.

Installing new and better lighting is another way to improve the appearance of these rooms, according to Anderson.

“A lot of times, these rooms are so dimly lit that they don’t show well,” he says. “If you increase the light in these rooms, if you clean them, you can make a surprising impact.”

Of course, it can be worthwhile to invest in some remodeling to make a home both more saleable and more valuable, according to Kevin Burke, a broker with RE/MAX Synergy in Orland Park, Ill. You have to weigh the potential benefit of the work you do against the costs involved.

Burke recently sold a four-bedroom home for clients who had invested $30,000 to fully update the kitchen and 2 ½ baths, as well as paint the entire interior.

“It was an estate sale situation, and I’m confident my client more than recouped his investment, plus the home sold in just two weeks,” reported Burke.

However, Burke noted that there are many less costly steps to consider that can also give new life to a dated kitchen or bathroom:

— Repaint kitchen and bath cabinets, then give them new, more contemporary hardware;
— Regrout and reseal tub and shower areas;
— Install new faucets in the kitchen and baths;
— Replace a dated bathroom vanity with a pedestal sink;
— Put in stainless appliances; appliance packages often are available for less than $2,000 and typically include a refrigerator, range, dishwasher and microwave.

“Bathrooms and kitchens are definitely the rooms that buyers focus on, but the rest of the house is important, too,” Burke noted. “If you show a clean and uncluttered home, that definitely helps. If you depersonalize your home so buyers can picture their own families living there, that helps. Offering a home that is clean, spacious looking and thoughtfully presented is the best way to overcome not having a kitchen or bath with the latest bells and whistles.”

For more information, visit www.remax.com.

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