Inexpensive Ways to Upgrade Your Home Before You Sell It

Need to sell the home you’re in before you can move to a new one? Real estate pros say you’ll have a lot better luck attracting buyers and getting your asking price if you put a little effort into upgrading your home. That doesn’t have to mean a $60,000 kitchen and bath remodel. There are dozens of little things you can do that can make your old home look fresh and appealing. Here are some of my favorite inexpensive tips to help you spruce up your home before you sell it.

  • Exterior quick fixes. 

This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t bother to clean up the exterior of their homes when they put them on the market. Make sure the lawn is mowed and watered regularly. Pull out weeds, deadhead old flowers and put in new bedding plants, trim shrubs and trees. Sweep the walkways and replace cracked pavers. Have the kids pick up their toys and put them away.

Wash the windows and hose down the siding to remove dirt and cobwebs. Clean out the gutters and replace and broken pieces. Get a nice new welcome mat. Has your front door seen better days? Give it a couple coats of paint and consider adding new hardware. Make sure the porch light and doorbell are in good working condition. Replace any torn or sagging screens. Invest in a new mail box.

  • Paint. 

Most experts recommend that you paint everything white or a light neutral. It will make even small rooms look bigger. Don’t forget the trim and baseboards.

  • Spruce up cabinets. 

You don’t need to replace them – that’s expensive. You may be able to get by with a good cleaning or a coat of paint. If they’re really shabby, consider having them refaced. While you’re at it, replace the knobs and pulls.

  • Change out plumbing fixtures. 

Replace old, pitted bath and kitchen fixtures with new ones. Don’t forget the shower head.

  • Switch out the switch plates. 

This is such a cheap fix – often 30 cents or less a piece.

  • Bring in a plumber and electrician. 

Check for and repair leaks, drips and running toilets. Ask the electrician to repair any loose wirings and faulty outlets. Consider installing power outlets with USB ports.

  • Regrout and caulk. 

Dirty grout and crumbling caulk indicate neglected maintenance – a big red flag to prospective buyers.

  • Spiff up the bathroom. 

Refinish old tub, sinks and shower enclosures. Buy a new toilet seat. Hang a new shower curtain and put out new, clean and neatly folded towels. Put fresh soap in the soap dishes and be sure the mirrors are polished.

  • Clean and organize storage spaces. 

This will cost you next to nothing but time. Clutter is unappealing and makes closets and storage spaces look small. Don’t forget the storage spaces under sinks.

  • Have carpets and flooring professionally cleaned.

If you can’t get rid of stains, hide them with strategically placed furniture or throw rugs.

  • Clean the lights and fans. 

Replace ratty old fan blades with new ones. Get the dust off light bulbs and fixtures and make sure there are working bulbs in chandeliers and overheads.

  • Make the beds. 

Fluff the pillows and add new or freshly laundered comforters or spreads.

  • Declutter shelves and surfaces. 

When it comes to accessories, knickknacks and bric-a-brac, less is more. Same goes for old newspapers, magazines, video games and all the other stuff that collects on tables and shelves.

  • Clean and clean again. 

Dirt is a turn off. Make sure your oven is sparkling inside and out. Clean out the refrigerator (yes, people will open it and look inside). Dust window sills. Clean the mini blinds. Don’t forget the range hood and furnace grills. Do the dishes and put them away. If you don’t have the time or energy to do it yourself, invest in a quality maid service.

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