Simple Tips to Add to Your Home's Value

Real Estate Sales Representative with The Doss Team @ REMAX 1st Choice

How to Inexpensively Increase the Value of Your Home

Are you looking to increase the value of your home while staying within your budget?

Full remodels, even for one room, can cost many thousands of dollars, and while the cost

may be worth it if you're planning on staying put, most remodeling projects increase your

home's value by at most 80 or 90 cents for every dollar you invest. Thus, if you're

looking to sell your home right away, or if you're buying and selling a home for profit,

you want to keep your improvements simple and cheap. Here's how.


1. Spruce up the yard. Get rid of trash and yard waste. Keep your lawn in good

condition and mow it. This includes using a weed whacker to get in the tight

corners and along the edges of sidewalks and the house. Trim the hedges, get rid

of weeds, and mulch the flower beds. If you don't have much to work with, plant

some flowers or install some landscaping appropriate for your home and climate.

2. Eliminate clutter inside the home. If you're going to be showing the house to

potential buyers, get the house organized and get rid of clutter or put it in storage.

A nice, tidy house will seem larger and more elegant.

3. Wash walls and windows. It's a lot cheaper to wash walls or siding than to

repaint or replace siding, and many times a good cleaning will make your home's

finishes look good as new. Pressure-wash your home's exterior, and wash interior

walls. Clean your windows so that you can't tell they're there.

4. Add a fresh coat of interior paint. Sometimes you just really need to repaint, but

you can do it yourself relatively cheaply on interior walls. First, patch up any

holes, no matter how small. To get a silky smooth finish, apply a coat of primer.

After the primer dries, lightly sand it with a fine grit sandpaper (220 grit). Apply

the first coat of latex paint, and then lightly sand that layer also. Wipe the walls

down with a damp cloth after each sanding session. Then apply the final coat of

latex paint.

5. Put up fresh curtains and blinds. Blinds don't cost much, and curtains can be

cheap also. Over time, the sun fades the colors from your blinds and curtains, so

new ones will make a better impression than old ones.

6. Clean up the carpet. You can shampoo or steam clean your carpets, or you can

use a dry cleaning system (available from various sources, such as Oreck), which

requires no water or steamer rentals, and which dries instantly and kills virtually

all mold and bacteria. Apply according to the manufacturer's instructions, and

then vacuum. If all else fails, get a professional to do the carpets for you. You'd be

surprised how much better your carpet will look after a good cleaning.

7. Install modern light switches and outlets. Some of the new style switches can

be easily installed using the wires already running to the old switches. Just be sure

to turn off the power to the room or entire house before doing any work. The new

outlets look nice, and give the impression that the electrical wiring in the house is

newer than it really is. Dimmer switches are especially desirable.

8. Refinish kitchen cabinets. Outdated or worn cabinets can bring the whole

kitchen down, but refinishing them is relatively cheap and easy to do. If you have

a dark or small kitchen, make it look larger and brighter by using a lighter finish

on the cabinets.

9. Up the wattage of your light bulbs to make things even brighter. (Just make sure

you don't exceed the maximum specification for lamps and other lights.)


Improve the things people can see. Getting rid of highly visible eyesores will add

the most value per dollar to your home.

Remember the senses. Put out fresh flowers for your open house; they make even

the most dungeon-like house look inviting. Bake some oatmeal or chocolate chip

cookies--they invoke good thoughts for most people. Then leave them out for

visitors. If you don't have time to bake, burn a candle or use potpourri. Use smell

sparingly; some people are more sensitive than others. Consider playing some

very soft classical music in the background.

Consider turning on all the lights when the real estate agent arrives with potential

buyers. On the one hand, this will help to brighten up your house. On the other

hand, lights on in the daytime is a huge "red flag" for some buyers. Either way, it

will make a lasting first impression.

Do it yourself when possible. If you know what you're doing, a little elbow grease

can add a lot of value.

As a last resort, consider flooring options. If your carpet is in really bad condition,

you can replace it, or you can restore the original hardwood floor. Hardwood

floors are very popular right now, and in a lot of cases old houses have nice

hardwood flooring underneath the carpet. Rip up a bit of carpet in a closet or other

inconspicuous area to check the floor's condition, and compare the price of

restoring the hardwood to that of installing new carpet.

Don't be afraid to spend a couple of extra dollars on good paint rollers. Those 5-

for- $10 rollers will make your walls look blotchy.

Paint with a neutral color such as beige. It will make the house seem larger, and it

will be inoffensive to buyers.

Semi-gloss paint will make your walls seem brighter. If your walls have

imperfections, such as dents in the drywall or cracks in the plaster, consider using

flat paint to hide those imperfections. Keep in mind that flat paint shows dirt

easily and is difficult to clean, so leave it until just before your open house!

Install ceiling fans. If you live in an area where warm weather is common,

replacing built in ceiling lights with ceiling fans will improve the form and

function of your home. You can find ceiling fans at a "big box" retailer or at your

local hardware store.

Use floor and table lamps in every room and sheer curtains to make your open

house more inviting. Lamps give a softer light, and the curtains let in sunlight,

which makes the room more home-like and less clinical. You can pick up decent

stuff from garage sales if you don't have any. Check the main circuit breaker panel to see if the bathroom and garage circuits are

protected by GFI breakers. If not, install GFI outlets in those locations.

Clean, clean, clean. Nothing improves the value more for so little of an

investment than a good cleaning. Houses that look and smell clean have great

market appeal. Even an older house with older appliances will fare well if

everything is sparkling clean!


Before doing any electrical work on the house, shut the power off to that room

from the main circuit breaker. Shutting power off to the whole house is even


If you don't feel comfortable making a repair or improvement, call a professional.

It's better to pay to have the work done than to have to pay for extra damage you


Follow the manufacturers' recommendations for cleaning walls or carpets, or you

may do more harm than good.

Always try to compare the cost of any improvement to the value it will add to the

house. Many times, the improvement simply won't be worth it.

Improvements that might not be cost-effective in most housing markets might pay

off in highly active or inflated

Comments (3)

Joni Van Deventer
RoomByRoomRedesign - Midland, TX

Lisa, you were around and my Realtor when I first got into staging.  Is it a fair estimation that because it is a 'sellers' market and home owners just don't feel like they need this service.  I have had little or no interest in staging services, my client's are the ones who are upgrading or making changes because they want a new look.  I staged one vacant here in Midland and in Odessa I more or less told the client that it was not feasible to do furniture rentals here/there because of the money committment both were getting ready for an Open House on Sun.  The first one in Midland  went very well because we all pitched in and improvised, however, it was the second Open House on Mother's Day and the first one was Super Bowl Sun., that tells me the 'somebody'

 dropped the ball not once but twice.  This client was great, needless to say she didn't have a big turnout.  Vacants are not my bag because I don't have the inventory, however, I'd love the opportunity to stage an owner/occupant.   Just want your imput, you have been a Realtor for long time and I always appreciated everything you have done for us.

Sep 10, 2007 06:43 AM
Lisa Buescher
The Doss Team @ REMAX 1st Choice - Midland, TX
Homes for Sale - Midland Texas
You are correct, Joni... the market here is so good that staging just has not been necessary.  We DO occasionally have a few folks who need an organizer and a de-clutter person, but they usually won't PAY for something like that,  You will probably not see a need for staging "for sale" unless in a more competitive market.  Seller's market don't need much help to get things SOLD.  You price it right here and it is GONE.
Sep 13, 2007 08:42 AM
Cheri Smith
Prudential Gary Greene, Cypress TX - Cypress, TX
Realtor Prudential Gary Greene
I would add one thing.....remove nails, screws, tacks, etc, from the wall BEFORE you paint. DON'T just paint over them like I see soooooo many people doing. lol.
Sep 14, 2007 04:06 AM