8 Inexpensive Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

by Kevin Mercadante

If you are planning to sell your house in the near future you’ll naturally want to get the best price for it. You don’t have to break the bank to make this happen – here are eight inexpensive ways to increase the value of your home.

inexpensive ways to increase the value of your home

A Fresh Paint Job

A fresh paint job can literally increase the value of your home by thousands of dollars. This is because it can make the home look brand-new, or at least close to it. Fresh paint hides minor flaws, and brightens the home inside and out. It also provides that all important evidence to a potential buyer that the home is well-maintained.

Even if you don’t give the whole house a new coat of paint, it’s amazing what you can do on a more limited basis. For example, a noticeable difference can be achieved simply by painting the trim either on the inside or the outside of the home. This is particularly true if the interior has features such as crown molding and columns.

You can also limit the paint job to certain strategic rooms in the home. The kitchen and the bathrooms are typically the most important rooms from the buyer’s perspective. Simply by painting these rooms you can increase the value of the home. Other rooms that might be worth a complete repainting include the master bedroom, the entry foyer, or the living room. These are the rooms that “sell” a house more than others.

De-clutter the Entire House

If you are selling your home, an important concept to grasp is that the property needs to look as if no one lives there. This is especially important if there is a significant amount of new construction in your area. Since you will be competing with brand-new homes, you will need to get as close to that ideal as possible.

De-cluttering your home will help with this process. De-cluttering can:

  • Make the house look bigger
  • Make it easier for buyers to imagine their own furniture placement
  • Minimize the fact that the home may have insufficient closet space and other storage areas
  • Give the home an open feeling, that’s more consistent with newer houses
  • Make the home look more functional (some homes look as if they’re primarily storage sites, and that’s a turn off for buyers)

There’s one more benefit to de-cluttering, and its major – even though it will not increase the value of your home: it will make your job of moving easier when the day comes.

Step-up the Landscaping

In most cases you won’t need to completely re-landscape the property. You can raise the value just by making the property look neater. First impressions matter to home buyers, if they don’t like the way the outside of the home looks, they’re likely to move on to the next property.

Here are some inexpensive ways to help you upgrade your landscaping:

  • Keep your lawn cut at all times – nothing screams “neglect” like an out of control lawn
  • Keep your hedges neatly trimmed
  • Plant seasonal flowers in flower beds – and be sure to remove the weeds on a regular basis
  • Cut down any low hanging tree branches or twigs
  • Patch any burned or brown spots in the lawn
  • Remove any shrubbery that gives the property a crowded look, particularly if it obstructs a clear view of the home
  • Keep the property well-edged – clear separation between lawn and paved areas gives the property a neat and professional look

These tips are mostly about ongoing lawn maintenance, rather than replacing anything, so your costs should be minimal.

Re-do Your Doorway

Doorways have been gaining a lot of attention lately in a competitive real estate environment, and for good reason. The doorway of a house is the first impression that people will get of the property. If the impression is negative, you’re unlikely to get an offer.

Your front doorway should be inviting. If the door is looking tired and old, you should seriously consider replacing it entirely. And if it doesn’t warrant replacement, it should at least be repainted. You should also repaint trim around the doorway, since it will be closely inspected by buyers, if only subconsciously.

And if the doorknob is a little suspect, you should replace it. You should be able get a good-looking doorknob for under $50. Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. A shaky door handle can be an indication of a shaky home. Buyers won’t ignore this!

Upgrade the Kitchen – On the Cheap

Completely gutting and rebuilding your kitchen can be prohibitively expensive. But in most cases you shouldn’t need to go that far. But by spending just a few hundred in the kitchen you can add thousands to the value of your house. This is important because more than any other room, the kitchen sells the house.

Here are some ways to upgrade your kitchen without spending a lot of money:

  • Replace cabinet hardware, especially if the home is more than a few years old
  • Replace the faucet in the sink
  • Add upgraded lighting
  • Reface the kitchen cabinets – this can have the same effect as replacing them, but for a lot less money
  • If you even think that the kitchen MAY need to be repainted, do it
  • Make sure your cupboards and pantry are neatly organized and not overloaded

Some of these improvements will require more time and effort than money, so you’ll need to allow yourself plenty of time.

Upgrade Your Flooring

Many times all you need to do is shampoo your carpets or polish your floors. This is important because the floors contribute to the overall “feel” of a room and of the entire home.

If any flooring areas are particularly worn, you may need to replace the carpet in that room, or have wood floors professionally refinished. Still another alternative is to make liberal use of throw rugs to cover troublesome areas. But just be careful with this cover up strategy – it can come back to haunt you during a home inspection.

Give the Bathrooms a Facelift

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are the most important rooms in the house. It’s not just emotional appeal either – this is where buyers may identify sources of costly repairs. Make sure your bathrooms don’t give a negative impression.

Here are some inexpensive bathroom fixes:

  • Do a thorough deep cleaning of the room(s), and keep them clean at all times
  • If needed, replace the toilet seat ($30), and even the whole commode if necessary (it’s not as expensive as you think)
  • Re-grout tiling if necessary, but make sure it matches the grouting in the rest of the room
  • Replace plumbing fixtures if necessary – especially the showerhead
  • Invest in a new shower curtain
  • Just as is the case with the kitchen, repaint the room if you think it needs it

A few dollars strategically invested in your bathroom(s) can not only increase the value of your home, but it can also result in a faster sale.

Add Brighter Lights

As human beings we are creatures of the daylight. Never forget that when selling your home. Well lit rooms say “welcome”, poorly lit ones say “this place is questionable”.

Make sure that all the rooms in your home – including your garage and hallways – have plenty of strong lighting. Ideally, the lights should be attached to the main switch in the room, that way when a person enters the room and turns on a light, the room comes alive.

This will help to give the impression of your home as a bright and cheerful place, that buyers will be interested in.

This list of repairs will cost you some money, but you will more than recoup it on sale with a higher value.

As far as being a homeowner, we also recommend that you carry mortgage protection insurance!


Published or updated July 25, 2016.
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