Improvements nobody thinks of...

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Results Realty


It is pretty common knowledge that kitchens and master bathrooms make or break the appeal for a home on the market.  Get those two areas right can land a buyer that might otherwise pick another home.

Image by lane.bailey via Flickr

But doing those rooms right isn't cheap.  Back around Christmas I wrote a post about how the front door was the most bang for the buck in the improvement arena.  In the same post, I mentioned that a "Minor Kitchen Remodel" averaged over $20k in cost (while only delivering about $15k in value).  That isn't cheap...

So, what are some improvements that can make a big impact on the appeal of the home, without making that big of an impact on your bank balance?

  • Add appropriate crown mouldings. If you are handy, this can be a great improvement.  Depending on the profile you select, you might be able to do a room for $100-$300... or possibly less.  If you have a home priced over $150k, buyers like to see crown mouldings.
  • Paint is the ULTIMATE low-cost upgrade. Face it, for a couple hundred dollars you can paint the inside of your whole home.  You can knock it out in a weekend.  Select neutral colors that are currently popular and enhance the space and you can "Wow!" buyers touring your home.
  • Scrape the ceiling... This one isn't easy.  I'd find someone to hire to do it...  But, smooth ceilings are WAY more popular than popcorn painted ceilings.  Scraping the ceiling and repainting will make your home more desirable than other comparable homes with popcorn ceilings.
Loue's Home improvement
Image by mattbatt0 via Flickr

Of course, hiring a stager to talk with about how to make your home show better is a great idea.  The stager can help with color selection and ideas to easily improve the "showability" of your home.  Many times those ideas are inexpensive.. and even free.

And if you aren't looking to sell, focus on improvements that make you happy.  Add wainscotting to the garage (I like the polished aluminum diamond plate...) or more light in the garage.  Upgrade flooring.

When we moved into our home we changed to Decora style rocker switches for all of the lights.  It cost us less than $50 for the whole house and updated the look.  We got rid of the old ivory switches and plates and went with much cleaner pure white.

Have fun...


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Don Eichler
Eichler Properties - Granbury, TX

Lane, I agree that the ceiling change is very important in to-days market.  The change to smooth or textured to match the walls really improves the overall look for the homes.

Feb 09, 2010 02:53 AM #1
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


All good ideas at more reasonable costs, while good results.  Great to start at the front door, just like the buyers do!

All the best, Michelle


Feb 09, 2010 05:17 AM #2
Mike Sparks
The House Company Galveston Texas - Galveston, TX
Galveston Island Real Estate

I'm glad you mentioned crown mouldings.  I have a seller that does minor rehabs on starter homes built in the early 80's.  Typically, he buys a trashed rent house, puts in new builder grade carpet, repaints, often new builder grade appliance package, and crown mouldings.  It's the crown moulding that makes the house look expensive and shouts quality.

Feb 09, 2010 11:57 AM #3
Cynthia Bartch
Home Stager/Property Stylist & more! Granville, Ohio - Granville, OH
Redesigned Spaces; All Round Nice Gal

Lane, really like your suggestions of crown moulding and paint, lots of lasting impressions there.

Since you're the gearhead 'car guy' do you have the aluminum diamond plate in your garage? I'd like to see a photo. I love the look of it and this gal has always been a fan of the material. Still looking for a small space where I could put it inside the home, not for selling but for dwelling ;)

Feb 13, 2010 08:31 PM #4
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Thank you all - I'm a home owner, too.  And I don't have an unlimited budget... so I look for ways to maximize the impact of the money I spend... just like my clients and many other consumers. 

Apr 05, 2010 03:35 AM #5
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