Planning to sell your home? Then you’re probably interested in what you can do to make potential buyers more interested in your property and hopefully offer your asking price or above. It’s not generally recommended to do extensive and expensive remodeling work right before putting a home on the market – potential buyers might not have similar preferences, needs or tastes as you, and you’ll probably see less return on investment than expected.

However, small, low-cost home improvement projects that you can do mostly by yourself are a good idea – updating the look of your home will definitely help to sell it faster. Here are some of the simplest yet most beneficial home improvement projects you could do if you’re planning to sell your home soon:

1. Do a minor kitchen update

A full-scale kitchen remodel usually costs tens of thousands of dollars – so it’s a risky step to take prior to putting your home on the market. However, if your kitchen looks a bit shabby and you’re worried it will deter potential buyers, you should consider a minor kitchen update.

This can include things like painting the walls, regrouting the tiles on the floor or the backsplash, repainting the cabinets, replacing the faucet, and so on. You could also use contact paper to upgrade surfaces in your kitchen, from appliances to countertops and cabinets – it’s a fast and inexpensive fix, one that you can certainly do yourself. Your main goal should be obtaining a clean and neutral look, one that draws buyers in and lets them envision the kitchen as potentially being their own. If you need extra help and deeper insights from the professionals, you can refer to designers at Kitchen Capital, who will understand your personal style, wants and needs, and based on that will come up with the most functional and aesthetic option for you.

2. Bring floors up to date

The floors have a huge impact on the general look of your home, and it’s one of the first elements in a house that potential buyers notice. Most homebuyers nowadays are not thrilled about carpeted floors, particularly in common areas such as the living room, family room, or hallways. If your home is fully carpeted, maybe you should consider removing that and replacing it with inexpensive laminated flooring – this type of flooring mimics the aspect of hardwood floors very well, and it’s easy to install.

If you have hardwood floors, but they are scratched and stained, reconditioning will pay off. Sand and polish your floors, then apply a new layer of varnish. In the case of ceramic tiles, one thing you can do to improve the aspect is deep cleaning the grout, or regrouting if needed.

3. Get rid of outdated window treatments

Heavy drapes and curtains with lots of embellishments and bold prints and colors are not the best choice when preparing your home for viewing. Not only will it distract potential buyers from noticing the size of the room and other details regarding the house, but heavy window treatments prevent natural light coming in, making the interior look dark and gloomy. Replacing window treatments even with simple curtains would incur some inconvenient expenses at this point, so you can consider leaving your windows uncovered.

4. Minimize clutter

Homebuyers have a hard time relating to a home that is full of furniture, accessories, knick-knacks, kids’ toys franticly adorning the floors and other items. The rooms should be airy and as uncluttered as possible, allowing people to walk around easily and to imagine how they would fit their own stuff in that space. Declutter your interior properly and remove some of your furniture, decorations and personal items. You can put all those things you don’t frequently use in storage – temporarily. A 10×10 unit is the right size to hold a variety of furniture pieces and other items. This way, your home will be tidy, neat and fit for viewing.

5. Touch up the exterior painting

Improve the curb appeal of your home by touching up exterior painting. You don’t necessarily have to paint the entire exterior of the home, but you can use a fresh lick of paint on the areas that are damaged or dirty – think about creating a contrast with the existing color. Also, you should paint the porch, the decks, fences, gutters and so on. Cleaning the driveway thoroughly with a power washer also makes a huge difference. Depending on the type of exterior wall finish, you might also be able to power wash them, which will save you the effort and expense of painting.

Additionally, think of adding a few live plants to the porch or entryway, as this will instantly create a welcoming feeling for anyone stepping into your home. You’ll also be able to take them with you when you move, so the investment is well worth it.


6. Restore your front door

If your front door no longer works properly, it would be a good idea to replace it all together. However, if it has only aesthetic problems, you can easily solve them with a bit of time, effort, and paint. Take it off of its hinges, clean and sand it thoroughly then apply new paint or varnish. It’s a good idea to pick an interesting, unusual color for the door, one that will attract attention – potential buyers will easily remember “that house with the red door,” which will increase the chances of selling it quicker.

7. Upgrade the basement

Finishing your basement, or just making a few small upgrades go a long way in attracting potential buyers. Declutter and store, recycle or throw away all the stuff you deposited there throughout the years. Apply a fresh coat of bright, white paint on the walls. You could also paint the cement floor in order to make the interior look more “finished.” Make sure all the lightbulbs are working and the stairs going down are safe to use.

8. Perform a bathroom facelift

Full bathroom remodels, just like kitchen remodels, can be very expensive. However, a minor facelift doesn’t cost that much, and it brings a lot of value to a home on the market. Replacing the bathroom faucets and showerhead, repainting the cabinets, adding a large mirror above the sink, and updating the lighting are small changes with big results in terms of bathroom aesthetics.


9. Refresh the landscaping

Make sure your front and backyard are well maintained. Trim bushes, shrubbery, and trees, and plant some flower beds in front of the home. It will create an inviting, friendly atmosphere and will draw people in. Also, if you neglected your lawn, now’s the time to pay attention to it and to try to restore it to its former glory. Also, if you’re planning to sell your home, it’s a good idea to hire a land surveyor for a professional assessment, just to make sure there are no backyard property line disputes.

10. Recondition your garage doors

First of all, make sure the doors work well – buyers might want to see the garage, and it would make a poor impression if the doors don’t open properly. Inspect the mounting brackets and the tracks and tighten loose hardware. Clean and lubricate the entire mechanism and replace the garage door opener if it’s needed. Then, improve the look of the doors – power wash them, or repaint them if necessary. Adding faux hardware is a very easy and inexpensive way to add curb appeal to your home.

If you’re planning to sell your home, focus on inexpensive home improvement projects that have a strong impact on how your home looks. You should avoid pricy remodeling projects, as there’s a good chance that home buyers are not willing to pay extra money for a brand-new kitchen or bathroom that’s not up to their personal taste or preferences.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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