Cost Effective Improvements To Increase Home Value

Improving some small things around your house can increase the value by much more than you think and it doesn’t always have to cost a ton. There are plenty of ways you can change, fix or add things to your home to increase the final sale price. If you need to find a few ways to increase the value of your home without doing a complete overhaul then check out this list of 65 Ways to Improve Your Homes Value.

Outside/ Front Yard

The front yard is the first thing a new buyer will see so you want to do your best to give off a great first impression. Try a few of these tips for your front yard and outdoor area to give you a great return when you decide to sell. 

1. Make the perfect porch

Start at the front door and work your way out by giving the area in front of your door some quick upgrades. Get some nice seating if your front porch is large enough, put up a cute sign or doormat that shows off your taste, and add some flowers or plants to make the buyer feel welcome before they even enter the house. 

2. Freshen up the basics

Upgrade the small things you may not have considered over the years in the front of your home. Replace often used things like your mailbox or address numbers or paint the existing ones for a cheap and simple upgrade. Try your best to coordinate the styles you choose with the existing outdoor look of your home. 

3. Give your door some attention

Your front door is likely used multiple times a day so it might be a great time to think about giving it some attention. Replacing it with a new door can make the entire facade look better but upgrading just the lock can help you increase the value too. Smart locks that sync to your phone give the home an immediate technical upgrade and adds to the security for around $100.

4. Paint the small stuff

Paint the front door or shutters a fun color that coordinates with the colors on the front of the house or matches the flowers in the front yard. A purple or red door is popular for making a house stand out and the colors go well with most existing paint jobs. 

5. Paint the big stuff

If you’re already painting the door then throw a fresh coat on the whole house, or even just the front if you’re in a time and money pinch. This makes any house look bright and new, even if it’s the oldest one on the block. Sticking with neutral tones is always a safe idea when you’re painting the exterior. 

Paint Exterior

6. Scrub it up

If you don’t have the time or budget to paint then you can at least give your house’s exterior a good clean. Power washing the sides, driveways, and decks is a quick way to give everything a nice shine with very little effort. 

7. Use your green thumb

Rework any gardens or plant areas in the front of your house by moving around existing plants or buying more to fill sparse areas. Moving around some small trees can make the yard look larger which is very appealing to buyers who are looking for lots of yard space. Place shrubs under windows and larger plants in corners to add depth. 

8. Take control over your trees

Trim up any errant trees and bushes that have grown out of control over the years and make sure your lawn is in great condition. Mow the lawn and fix any patchy areas with a mixture of wet toilet paper and lawn seed to make the grass grow as quickly as possible. 

9. Hide the junk

Clean up any other clutter that might be hanging around in the yard to make sure the area looks well maintained. Move the garbage cans to an area that’s hidden and store any lawn equipment in an area like the garage to keep a buyer’s eyes on the pristine landscape instead of your junk.

10. Have a fresh look at the front

Your front yard is the first thing someone will see when they look at your home so make sure to look at it from all angles before you start on your improvements. Doing a quick drive past your house lets you see what needs improving first so you can fix that before you spend more time and money on things that won’t be immediately seen. 

Fresh Look

11. Get a better gutter

One major thing any buyer will look at is your roof. It might not be in your renovation budget to replace the whole roof but fixing up the eavestroughs and downspouts is still a good idea. Replacing them is fairly simple and it will make the whole exterior look fresh. There are many different types available so look into which type would be best suited to your home and budget.

Front Hall/Foyer

A potential buyer's first impression of your home is important, so you want them to walk into an amazing space immediately after opening the door. This is one of the most overlooked areas in the house to improve upon and it doesn’t take much to turn a cluttered area into an organized and welcoming space. 

12. Take control of the lighting in the space

Make a mental note of the lighting when you first enter your home. If it’s a little dim, brighten up the area by opening up curtains that are normally closed or buying higher wattage bulbs for the existing lighting fixtures. A large mirror is also a great addition as it reflects any existing light around the space. Try to keep it as open and looking as bright as possible.

13. Make your own paneling

If you don't have an existing foyer but you have a blank wall that’s looking to be transformed, use a few pieces of thin wood to create a board and batten wall. Add some chunky wood hooks and a shelf and suddenly you have a stylish storage area. 

14. Add function to the space

Update your foyer with a thin or small table that’s lightly accessorized with a lamp or key bowl.  Make sure the table isn't too big or it will take up the whole room and make it feel cramped. Semi-circle tables are perfect for these spaces and if it’s paired with a round mirror then it softens up the entire space.

15. Play the part of the buyer

Take a walk through your home as if you were buying it or have a trusted friend walk through it and tell you what they think. You may have become accustomed to certain sounds or smells in your home that might bother others. A creaking ceiling fan or a mildew-scented basement can be a big turn-off for your home. 

Living Room

If you want someone to fall in love with your house then your living room is one of the most important places to start. The living room might work well for you but you might need to tweak and adjust some things to make it appeal to more people. It’s important that the space looks and feels comfortable for everyone so try not to let the room look too cold. 

16. Make your living room look extra livable

You want your living room to feel welcoming to everyone so don’t be shy with the comfort items. Big fluffy blankets or oversized pillows give a living room an immediate sense of warmth and coziness which is exactly the kind of vibe you want. Make sure you don’t go overboard though because clean lines are still a very popular look.

17. Knock it out

Open up some spaces by knocking down some walls. It’s very important to get a professional’s opinion on load-bearing walls so you can keep the structural integrity intact. Open floor plans are very trendy and they give so much extra light to any space.  

18. Give your lights a new look

Update the lighting in the living room for a quick and simple change that makes the entire room look different. Hanging lights are great for high ceilings while recessed lights can brighten up low ceilings. Replace the lighting with the one that’s best suited for the area for maximum function and impact.

19. Fix up those floors

Check the floors or carpets and see if any damage can be fixed. If the floors or carpet are still in good condition, make sure to give them a good clean before you show your house to take out any lingering smells and add an extra layer of shine to the room. 

20. Say “bye-bye” to the carpets

If the carpet is too far gone or looks outdated then have a look at pulling them up and checking out the floor underneath. Carpets have started to become less of a luxury and more of a hindrance to buyers so replacing them completely with something like an engineered hardwood for an inexpensive but impactful upgrade. 

Hardwood Floors

21. Use nature to your advantage

Add mirrors to the living room that reflect the natural light around the space. This gives the illusion of a larger, brighter, and rounder room which can be very helpful for smaller rooms or rooms with sharp angles. Choosing a large mirror for a focal area like the mantle of a fireplace or a bare wall will add so  much depth. 

Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of most homes so give the space a few small improvements to make the buyer want to cook their next meal in the oven. Keeping the palette neutral is a great idea to attract as many people as possible.

22. Start small

Replacing something small in your kitchen is a quick way to make the entire thing look brand new. Taking out that old sink and putting in a shiny new one or grabbing a new microwave for your kitchen can give the whole room a new look that makes everything else look fresh. 

23. Work your way up

Upgrading major appliances is a great idea to change the look of the whole room but it can be an expensive upgrade. Choose one that you want to replace and get the best one your budget can afford. An upgraded fridge is the most popular choice and it will cost between $1000-$2000, depending on the size you need. 

24. Fix only what needs fixing on your appliances

If your budget won’t allow for a large item then look at what really needs replacing. A bad door on the refrigerator? Look at replacing just the door for much less. Does the stove look a little old? Try replacing the burners for much less than a whole new stove would cost.

25. Brighten up your floors

Update your flooring to something nice and bright to make the room look larger. Depending on what you have already, you can choose to lift up and replace whatever flooring is there or if you have tiles, think about painting them with a special epoxy paint that you can find at most hardware stores for a quick and easy make-over.

Paint Floors

26. Switch out the hardware

One small way to upgrade the look of your kitchen is to swap out all of the hardware for something much more modern. Clean lines and simplicity are very popular for any kitchen and it’s easy to find many different styles online for great prices. 

27. Freshen up your cabinets

Painting is a quick and easy way to make the cabinets look brand new. It should only take a day or two to remove them, paint them (remember, neutrals and bright colors are best for kitchens), and put them back on and it will be far less expensive than replacing them.

28. Sometimes half-finished works

You don’t have to paint all of your cabinets to get a bold new look. Having the top and bottom different colors is a fun trend that adds depth to the room and value to your home. Zillow reported that this “tuxedo-style” paint job added $1500 more than anticipated on the final selling price. 

29. Ditch those doors

Open cabinets are still a hot trend and it’s as simple as removing the existing cabinet doors and filling in any screw holes with a little spackle. You can give the inside a new paint job or use contact paper to give the insides a clean and fresh look. 

30. Make your sink fancy

For around $200 you can buy and install a water filtration system that’s hidden under your sink. Homebuyers love this small luxury and it will only take you an afternoon to install. 

Update Sink

Bathroom

You want your bathroom to look and feel as clean and fresh as possible. If you don’t have the time or budget to replace much then make sure to give it a thorough cleaning to make it look and smell brand new. 

31. Fix up the fixtures

Replacing small things in the bathroom can make a huge impact. Faucets, showerheads, and towel racks can be relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. Add modern touches by choosing trendy styles for your hardware such as a rainfall showerhead or a waterfall faucet to give an immediate upgrade. 

32. Add a pop of color

Your bathroom is the one room in your house where buyers will love a big pop of color. If your bathroom is small, try an accent wall in a cobalt blue (according to Zillow, blue bathrooms earned sellers an average of $3000 extra on the final selling price in 2018) or deep red and match your bathroom accessories to that. Theme bathrooms like nautical or beach are a big no-no so stick to simple accents and wall art.

33. Flush out the old toilet

A new toilet may seem unnecessary if your current one works just fine but a buyer will appreciate the look and feel of a more modern toilet. You don’t have to break the bank but replacing your toilet with something a bit more eco-friendly or something in a different color is a quick way to update a boring bathroom.

34. Paint your tub

This is a must-do if you’re living in a home with a colored bathroom tub. It will cost you between $300-$1000 to properly repaint the tub but it can be much less expensive than replacing the entire thing, especially if the rest of your bathtub is in great condition. 

35. Make a splash

Tiled backsplashes are a great look that you can bring from the kitchen to your bathroom. Using a few peel and stick tiles, you can upgrade the area around your sink for under $30. Another great place to use the tiles is behind your toilet which will give the illusion of a freshly tiled space that’s much easier to clean.

Bathroom Tile

Bedroom

Keep your bedroom as neutral looking as possible and make sure to let in any natural light you’d usually hide. You want the room to look friendly and attractive so use photos of already staged bedrooms for your design inspiration.

36. Avoid patterned fabric

The bedroom is the second most important room for a buyer that’s looking at your house so it’s important to make it look like a serene paradise. You might want to swap out your usual patterned bedding set for a neutral-toned set with lots of layers. The right bedding can change the look of the room and tie everything together but patterns are sometimes too distracting for the eyes. 

37. Turn your closet into a wardrobe

Your closets may seem like the perfect place to store everything you don’t want to be seen during photos or a showing but be aware that a buyer will want to see how much space they have in total. If you haven’t already, now is the time to finally organize that closet and put everything in neatly labeled totes. 

38. Seeing green

Greenery can brighten up any area of the house and your bedroom is a great place to put some. Putting a small plant on your bedside table or a larger potted plant in the corner gives the loom a luscious look. IF you don't have any existing plants then try a vase of fresh flowers or dried pampas grass to add a natural-looking touch.

Real estate photo

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Outside/ Backyard

39. Maintain the yard

The backyard can be a big part of a buyer’s decision to keep it maintained as much as you can. Mow the lawns, powerwash the pavement and scrub your deck to give everything a good cleaning. Don’t forget to clean the windows 

40. Brighten up your deck

Once everything is clean, you can work on making some minor adjustments. Staining your deck is at the top of the list for small additions that add value. A freshly cleaned deck is one thing but a freshly stained deck looks brand new which shows the house has been well maintained. 

41. Fence it in

Adding a fence to your yard has too many benefits and attracts such a wide range of buyers. If your buyer has children or pets then they’d much prefer the security of a fence and the cost to build one isn’t very high. It will cost you around $1500-$3000 but the investment will usually come back to you in the final sale. 

42. Create a backyard nook

Moving some lawn furniture from your deck to your garden will project the idea of sitting outdoors and sipping a morning coffee to the buyer. They’ll feel like there’s a private breakfast nook in their yard and it will make the backyard feel like an extension of the home. 

43. Add some lights 

Lighting is a great way to take your backyard to the next level and it’s a great selling point for a buyer who likes the outdoors. People love the idea of being able to relax outside in the evening. Solar lights or battery-powered lanterns are an inexpensive way to show off the space without adding to the house's electricity bills.

Backyard Lighting

44. Bring in the water

If you have a larger yard that’s going to require lots of work for a new owner then consider the cost of putting in a sprinkler system. There are many styles available at different price ranges and some new models even allow you to program the system to run right from your phone. Tech additions always go over really well and anything that makes the home run smoother is going to be a big plus for the new owners.

Garage

One of the spaces that you haven’t even thought about is one of the places you’ll likely need to work on the most. For garages, you’ll want to show off how much space is available, along with showing off how the space can be used in the best way possible. 

45. Stick up some shelves

There are so many ways to improve your garage and give it a more cohesive look. A buyer will want to see it as a usable space instead of a cluttered addition so tidy it up and use some shelves to get items off of the floor and free up space. 

46. Give your garage floors a new look

Improving the look of the garage isn’t something you’d normally consider but a quick coat of concrete paint on the floor can freshen up the entire space and hide any unsightly stains that have developed over the years. Make sure to choose durable paint in a neutral color and you can make the floors in your garage look brand new in no time at all. 

47. Peg it down

A bare wall in your garage is the perfect space for a pe board. These are great for storage and they're relatively inexpensive to buy and install. This is a great way to add function to your garage and buyers will love to picture their favorite tools or gardening supplies hung up on the wall.  

48. Don’t forget your garage door 

Add some personality to your garage door by using some stick-on decals for faux windows. The sets can also come with handles and faux hinges to give you a gorgeous look without the need for any tools or permanent holes. These usually cost under $20 and can be found in many different styles online.

Garage Door

General Improvements

There are plenty of small improvements that can be done all over the house to add value and an easy return on your investment. Here are a few ideas to upgrade the whole home to the next level. 

49. Redesign spare rooms

If you have a spare room that’s used as an office or playroom then consider putting in the interior work to make it look and feel like another bedroom. Additional rooms are appealing to niche markets but extra bedrooms bump your listing up to the next level. You want the buyer to feel like they can do anything with the extra room and if it’s already designed to look like an office, it can be harder for them to visualize anything else. 

50. Make it tech-friendly

Smart outlets are a simple upgrade that buyers will love. Replace outlets you commonly charge your devices on with USB-capable outlets. It costs around $30  to replace and it’s a great project for a beginner electrician. Any tech upgrade will add value to your home and this one is perfect for a limited budget. 

51. Light it up

Upgrading the lighting in multiple rooms can change the look and feel of any space but make sure to add lights to the darker corners. Motion-activated closet lights are an inexpensive addition that will show off the size of the closets well and you can find the lights easily at most hardware stores.

52. Warm-up your attic

Check out the state of your attic and add or upgrade any insulation. This will help the overall energy cost of the home and most of the time you can recoup the entire amount you spend in your final sale price. It will cost you around $1500 to $2000, depending on the size of your attic. 

53. Make every space functional

Visible storage can turn useless spaces into functional areas. Closets are great but modern house hunters want to be able to visualize their own items out and about. Look for higher areas like the space above your toilet to place some new shelving and watch the spot go from blank and boring to a useful nook. 

Functional space

54. Fill the house with luxury spaces

Take wasted space you don’t use and turn it into a bonus area. If you have some room in a laundry room then turn the extra space into a wrapping station or store your gardening supplies. It will look much better than a blank and boring wall space and gives the illusion of more space. 

55. Keep it neutral

Be aware of the home’s personal style and temporarily store personal items that aren’t to everyone’s taste. Keeping Aunt Ida’s bright blue flower painting up on the mantle to please the family is a nice gesture but when it comes to making your home look its best, you might need to think about putting it away or storing it in a room that suits it a bit better. 

56. Update the windows

Look at the condition of your windows and consider replacing or redesigning them. If you can’t afford to get each one redone then choose either the ones facing the street or the ones in the worst condition and start there. For the interior, add some molding and paneling to the top of the windows to make them appear larger, and consider replacing the blinds or curtains with a new set in a different design for a modern look. 

57. Film it yourself

Another easy way to update a few windows and add some privacy is by adding a frosted film sticker. These are relatively inexpensive, come in a variety of designs and they allow natural light to filter in while keeping your privacy. These are perfect for front doors, bathrooms, and basement windows and they’re a much better alternative to blinds or curtains. 

58. Finish any projects

Now is the best time to actually do the “do it” part of the “do-it-yourself” projects you’ve started. Unless you’re choosing to sell your home as a fixer-upper, don’t leave your unfinished tiling idea or a half-painted room for the new buyers to work on. If you’ve ever told yourself you’ll get to it someday then get it finished now. 

59. Tighten it up

Grab a set of screwdrivers and look around for anything that needs to be tightened. Handrails, outlet covers, and drawer handles are all notorious spots where things get a little loose. This seems minor but it will show that the house has been maintained throughout the years, even if it hasn’t been. 

Screwdriver

60. Shine up your hardwood

Refinishing all of your floors takes quite a bit of time and effort. If you don’t have the time, give the floors a good wash with wood polish and conditioner. This will give your floors a nice texture and look which makes them look like they've been very well maintained. 

61. Look for small improvements

Door knobs are an easy thing to switch out and they can add some class to any room. Make sure to stay within the style of your home when you look at replacing accessories. A sleek and modern drawer handle will look off in a rustic or country-style kitchen so stick with the same design theme throughout.

62. Ask a pro for advice

If you’re selling yourself then ask a realtor, interior designer, or landscaper if they have a going rate for a consultation. Getting a consultation will be much less expensive than hiring them for the entire job and it will be much faster. They’ll be able to tell you what does well for the current market and what needs to be fixed.

Real estate photo

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63. Smarten up your thermostat

Smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home from your mobile device so it’s the perfect addition for anyone who’s looking for an eco-friendly or a tech-savvy upgrade to your home. It will only take an hour or two and a new thermostat will cost you around $100-$200 but buyers will love the idea of being able to reduce their heating and cooling bills over time. 

64. Sound it out

With many people working from home, a soundproof basement can be a huge bonus. It costs around $1.25 - $1.75 to install soundproof insulation and it’s relatively simple to install. For any budding musician or a family with multiple kids, this upgrade can be a huge selling point. 

65. Keep it clean

Another upgrade idea that modern times have brought us is the idea of a “touch-free” home. Replacing front door locks with remote-controlled ones or replacing taps and lights with a motion-controlled style will offer a sense of safety when it comes to sanitization. 

Adding value to your home can be an exhausting task so try making a list before you start of the most important things you want to upgrade. It all depends on your timeline and budget. Always make sure to upgrade as much as you can before listing your home for sale to get the best price you can for your hard work. 

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