When my wife and I sold our first home in 2000, we didn’t know where to start to get top dollar for our home. We were still in our 20’s and didn’t have a lot of money to sink into our home to get it ready to sell. We’ve now sold multiple homes and wanted to share some of our learnings and recommendations.
Sinking a bunch of money into home improvements probably isn’t high on the priority list for you. But inexpensive upgrades are crucial for curb appeal and to leave a strong first impression to buyers. The good news is that it doesn’t cost a lot to stage your home to sell and make a big impression. Here are a few easy ways to upgrade on the cheap.
1. Kick up your kitchen a notch
Changing the knobs on your cabinets is an easy fix. If your appliances don’t match, order new doors or face panels for them to create a uniform look.
2. Buy new “jewelry” for your sink
Swap out the faucet set in your kitchen for a spiffier version. It costs a few hundred dollars and will draw attention away from, say, an outdated dishwasher.
3. Spruce up that bath
Replace old or broken toilet seats with new ones and consider re-grouting your shower or floor tiles if they look dingy or outdated. Clean grout says “new bathroom” — or at least one that hasn’t been showered in a thousand times.
4. Ditch those hoarder tendencies
Declutter! If you must, rent storage space for a couple of months and remove any unnecessary items (including furniture) from your home. The more uncluttered your home, the larger it will look.
5. Decor your front door
Install a new handle and lock and give your door a coat of fresh paint. If budget allows, add a new light fixture too.
6. Sell it with flowers
Add plants or flowers along the walkway that potential buyers will use to enter your home.
7. Make it sparkle
Power-wash your front walkway or porch. It’s the first thing buyers will see, so it should look bright and clean.
8. Scrub, scrub, scrub
Wash all of your windows (inside and out) and replace heavy drapes with sheer curtains, which will let in more light.
9. Invest in a few bags of mulch
It’s inexpensive and can instantly tidy up flower beds or line walkways, giving the feel of professional landscaping.
10. Really clean your floors
Really, really clean them (as in more than just doing a once-over with the vacuum). Rent a steam machine to give your carpets a deep scrub. If you have hardwood floors, have them buffed and polished.
11. Switch out your switch plates
If your outlets and switches are mismatched or look grimy, replace them with new ones. Stick with white and opt for a contemporary style.
12. Hang a pendant light in your kitchen
Doing so instantly adds a modern edge to the space and creates a focal point.
13. Increase the wattage in your light fixtures
It’s a subtle change, but new, brighter bulbs make small spaces feel larger.
14. Undo the unsightly
Is your storm door on the decline? Remove it. Carpeting looks worse for the wear? Rip it out. The less “unclean” your home looks, the newer it will feel to a buyer.
15. Give your guest room a purpose
If the guest room is currently the catchall for everything you don’t know what to do with, clean it out and repurpose it as an office or make it a real space for guests.