Simple and affordable do-it-yourself
projects can greatly increase a home's
resale value, according to HomeGain's
annual home improvement and staging
The marketing company surveyed nearly 600
real estate professionals to discover which
DIY home improvement projects give sellers
the biggest return for their buck. Here are
six projects under $1,000 (amounts are
estimated) that made the list.
1. Cleaning and
decluttering. Remove any personal
items, unclutter countertops, organize
closets and shelves, and make the home
Clean all windows inside and out, replace
old curtains, update lighting fixtures, and
remove anything that blocks light from the
staging. Rearrange furniture, bring
in new accessories and furnishings to
enhance rooms, incorporate artwork, and play
soft music in the background.
enhancements. Punch up the home’s
curb appeal in the front and back yards by
adding bark mulch, bushes, and flowers and
ensuring current plants and grass are
well-cared for and manicured.
5. Repairing electrical or
plumbing. Fix leaks under the
sinks, remove any mildew stains, and ensure
all plumbing is in good working condition.
Update the home’s electrical with new wiring
for modern appliances, fix any lights or
outlets that don’t work, and replace old
plug points with new safety fixtures.
6. Replacing or shampooing dirty
carpets. Steam-clean carpets,
replace any worn carpets, and repair any
Low-cost ways to spruce
up your home's exterior
Make your home more appealing for yourself
and potential buyers with these quick and
1. Trim bushes so
they don’t block windows or architectural
2. Mow your lawn, and
turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before
the showing to make the lawn sparkle.
3. Put a pot of bright flowers (or a
small evergreen in winter) on your porch.
4. Install new doorknobs on your
5. Repair any
cracks in the driveway.
Edge the grass around walkways and trees.
7. Keep your garden tools and
hoses out of sight.
toys from the lawn.
9. Buy a
10. Upgrade your
11. Buy a
new doormat for the outside of your front
12. Clean your windows,
inside and outside.
or replace your house numbers.
Place a seasonal wreath on your door.
8 Quick Fixes to Increase
buyers, sellers must up the ante to convince
them that their property offers what many
want most — top value for dollar expended.
Here are eight fast fixes:
Buff up curb appeal. You’ve heard
it before, but it’s critical to get buyers
to want to look on the inside. Be objective.
View listings from the street. Check the
condition of the landscaping, paint, roof,
shutters, front door, knocker, windows,
house number, and even how window treatments
look from the outside. Add something special
— such as big flower pots or an antique
bench — to help viewers remember house A
2. Enrich with color.
Paint’s cheap, but forget the adage that it
must be white or neutral. Just don’t let
sellers get too avant-garde with jarring
pinks, oranges, and purples. Recommend soft
colors that say “welcome,” lead the eye from
room to room, and flatter skin tones. Think
soft yellows and pale greens. Tint ceilings
a lighter shade.
the kitchen and bathroom. These
make-or-break rooms can spur a sale. But
besides making each squeaky clean and
clutter-free, update the pulls, sinks, and
faucets. In a kitchen, add one cool
appliance, such as an espresso maker. In the
bathroom, hang a flat-screen TV to mimic a
hotel. Room service, anyone?
4. Add old-world patina. Make
Andrea Palladio proud. Install crown molding
at least six to nine inches in depth,
proportional to the room’s size, and
architecturally compatible. For ceilings
nine feet high or higher, add dentil
detailing, small tooth-shaped blocks used as
a repeating ornament. It’s all in the
details, after all.
hardwood floors. Buyers favor wood
over carpet, but refinishing is costly and
time-consuming. Screening cuts dust, time,
and expense. What it entails: a light
sanding, not a full stripping of color or
polyurethane, then a coat of finish.
6. Clean out, organize closets.
Get sorting — organize your piles into
“don’t need,” “haven’t worn,” and “keep.”
Closets must be only half-full so buyers can
visualize fitting their stuff in.
7. Update window treatments.
Buyers want light and views, not dated,
fancy-schmancy drapes that darken. To
diffuse light and add privacy, consider
energy-efficient shades and blinds.
8. Hire a home inspector.
Do a preemptive strike, since busy home
owners seek maintenance-free living. Fix
problems before you list the home and then
display receipts and wait for buyers to
offer kudos to sellers for being so
Cost vs. Value:
How to stretch your remodeling dollars
Creating a memorable first impression
with home improvements pays off, according
to Remodeling magazine's 2010-11 Cost vs.
Value Report. And most of the top projects
don't require a major investment.