Affordable Home Improvement Tips: What You Need to Know

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One of our favorite parts about spring is the opportunity for a fresh start and to clean house, so to speak. As the spring selling season kicks into high gear, it is an excellent time to encourage your sellers to make a few low-maintenance home improvements to help speed up the selling process. While being mindful of a budget, keeping the home up to date is an important component when it comes time to sell. We have compiled some ideas (so feel free to pass along to your clients and take the credit!) to guide homeowners to make the right changes necessary to sell their house. Below are three categories that can make a big difference in updating a listing without breaking the bank.Affordable Home Improvement Tips

Interior updates:

  • Encourage replacement instead of remodeling in areas that need improvement. Replace only items that need fixing, rather than doing a complete overhaul on the room.
  • The best way to maximize a home’s resale value is to focus on remodeling the kitchens and bathrooms. A good rule of thumb is kitchens and baths get dated in five years, so if your clients prefer the trendy route, it’s best to choose items like cabinets and countertops from a big box retailer, such as Ikea. This is the least expensive route and allows for easy updates at a later date.  
  • Crown molding is an excellent way to quickly dress up a home. Locate a good trim carpenter to install, and this will instantly freshen up the interior of the home.

Exterior updates:

  • Exterior replacement projects, such as a new garage door and a new entry door offer some of the best returns at time of sale. 
  • These replacements allow homeowners to recoup close to 70% or more of the costs of the project at times of resale.

Pre-plan and get advice:

  • Plan out the necessary renovations ahead of time to avoid spending a lot more money than intended.
  • If your seller is using a contractor, make sure he or she gets all the details of the renovation in writing from the contractor up front, before signing. Also, don't make the final payment until all renovations are complete.
  • If your seller’s home is higher-end and they need to spend money to keep with the property's price point, consult with a designer to help select neutral, less trendy finishes.

According to a recent consumer survey, 80% of site visitors are actively in the market for a new home. Since so many first glances occur online, first impressions can be formed solely on digital images so it is important to put the best images forward. Any remodeling efforts should be photographed upon completion to produce clean, bright photos. These photos will be a huge benefit for your digital marketing efforts, including building a Single Property Website

We hope these tips help you sell your listings quickly and put your seller’s home in the hands of a new buyer! Do you have any great remodeling tips that you always encourage your sellers to implement? Share with us below or take the conversation to


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Comments (8)

Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

All great tips. .thank you for posting it. .have a great day! 

May 07, 2012 12:12 AM
Anthony Daniels
Coldwell Banker - San Francisco, CA
SF Bay Area REO Specialist

Always good tips for home improvement.

Thanks for sharing them.

May 07, 2012 01:51 AM Real Estate - Chicago, IL

We're glad you found these helpful! 

May 07, 2012 01:54 AM
penelope Lash


I'll pass this on to some of my sellers!

May 07, 2012 07:53 AM
Ben Ganje + Partners
Lakes Sotheby's International Realty - Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis Market Leader

I hope every agent understands the importance of having professional photos taken for all of their listings.  Makes a huge difference if you want to properly market a property.

May 07, 2012 11:57 AM Real Estate - Chicago, IL

Great tip, Ben. Thanks!

May 07, 2012 11:39 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Dear Home finder, I like that many of your tips are fairly inexpensive but I do have a concern with the following statement:

These replacements allow homeowners to recoup close to 70% or more of the costs of the project at times of resale.

if they are only going to recoup 70%, wouldn't they be better off not doing the project and reducing the price by 70% of the cost of the improvement.

It always bothers me when real estate agents suggest expensive improvements to try to sell the property easier, when they know that the seller is only going to recoup a portion of the cost.  it seems the agent is giving the seller very poor financial advice in order to put a slightly higher commission in their pocket.

May 07, 2012 11:43 PM Real Estate - Chicago, IL

Thanks for your feedback, Bob!

May 08, 2012 02:28 AM