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What Are Quick and Inexpensive Improvements When Selling?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty 91362

Selling a home can be stressful, but making quick and cost-effective improvements can significantly boost your home's appeal. This advice will be beneficial if you sell a home for the first time.

I will provide the following information to increase your chances of a fast and profitable sale:

  • Practical home improvement tips to increase your home's value.
  • Estimated costs and time required for each fix.
  • Real-life examples to illustrate each improvement.

From nearly forty-years of experience selling homes, these are some of the best tips I provide my clients. Selling a house in bad condition is never a wise move. The more you can do to improve the appearance of your property, the more likely you'll get excellent results. This has been proven over and over again in real estate sales.

Read on to discover these valuable home improvement tips.

1. Fresh Coat of Paint

Explanation: Painting is one of the easiest and most effective ways to transform a space. I often recommend home sellers make minor improvements through painting. Neutral colors like beige, grey, and white appeal to many buyers, making rooms more inviting. Avoid bold colors that might not suit everyone’s taste.

  • Estimated Cost: $100 - $300 per room, depending on the size of the room and the quality of paint used.
  • Time Required: 2-3 days per room, including preparation and drying time.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Prepare the Room: Remove or cover furniture and lay down drop cloths to protect the flooring.
  2. Repair Walls: Patch any holes or cracks with spackle, sand smooth, and wipe down the walls.
  3. Prime the Walls: Apply a coat of primer if the walls change from a dark to a light color or have stains.
  4. Paint: Apply 1-2 coats of high-quality paint, allowing each coat to dry completely.

Example: A recent seller client of mine repainted the family room in light grey, making it look more modern and spacious and attracting multiple offers. The previous color was a Mediterian orange, which would not have appealed to the masses.

2. Improve Curb Appeal

Explanation: First impressions matter both in photos and viewings. Showcasing your home's strengths is always essential. Enhance your home's exterior with simple landscaping, clean walkways, and a welcoming front door. Potential buyers often decide within seconds whether a house feels like home.

  • Estimated Cost: $200 - $500 for basic improvements like planting flowers, adding mulch, and painting the front door.
  • Time Required: 1-2 days, depending on the extent of the work.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Clean and Tidy: Remove debris, power wash walkways, and mow the lawn.
  2. Plant Flowers: Add colorful plants and flowers to garden beds and pots.
  3. Mulch: Apply fresh mulch to garden beds for a neat appearance.
  4. Paint or Replace the Front Door: Choose a welcoming color that complements the house.

Example: A homeowner increased curb appeal by planting flowers and painting the front door, leading to a higher selling price. Simple things like this can make a significant difference.

3. Declutter and Depersonalize

Explanation: Remove personal items and excess furniture to make rooms appear larger and more inviting. Buyers need to envision living in a more manageable space without personal clutter. Sellers must understand that many buyers lack visualization skills. This is one of the most cost-effective DIY tips when you want to sell a home fast.

  • Estimated Cost: $0 - $100 for storage bins or renting a storage unit.
  • Time Required: 1-2 days, depending on the amount of clutter.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Remove Personal Items: Store family photos, memorabilia, and personal collections.
  2. Declutter Surfaces: Clear kitchen counters, bookshelves, and coffee tables.
  3. Organize Closets: Tidy up closets to showcase storage space.
  4. Furniture Arrangement: Remove or rearrange furniture to improve flow and make rooms look bigger.

Example: A recent couple selling their home stored personal photos and knickknacks in a neutral space, helping buyers envision living there. It was an excellent decision that made the rooms look far more spacious.

4. Make Minor Repairs

Explanation: Address minor issues like leaky faucets, squeaky doors, and cracked tiles. These minor fixes show the home is well-maintained and prevent buyers from seeing it as a fixer-upper. From years of experience selling homes, I know that every little thing you do counts.

  • Estimated Cost: $50 - $300, depending on the repairs needed.
  • Time Required: 1-3 days, depending on the number and complexity of repairs.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Leaky Faucets: Replace washers or faucets to stop leaks.
  2. Squeaky Doors: Lubricate hinges or tighten screws.
  3. Cracked Tiles: Replace or repair damaged tiles.
  4. Wall Repairs: Patch holes and repaint areas as needed.

Example: A homeowner received better feedback from potential buyers after fixing cabinet doors, a leaky faucet, and a strong smell in the basement.

5. Update Light Fixtures

Explanation: Modern light fixtures can make a home feel updated and stylish. Replace outdated or broken fixtures with contemporary designs that complement the overall decor. If you shop carefully, you get some excellent fixtures inexpensively.

  • Estimated Cost: $50 - $200 per fixture, depending on the style and quality.
  • Time Required: 1 day for simple replacements.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Choose Fixtures: Select modern fixtures that match the room’s style.
  2. Turn Off Power: Ensure the power is off before starting any electrical work.
  3. Remove Old Fixtures: Carefully remove old fixtures.
  4. Install New Fixtures: Follow manufacturer instructions to install new fixtures.
  5. Hire an electrician: If you're not handy, hire a local electrician.

Example: Replacing old ceiling fans with modern fixtures brightened a home and made it look more attractive. Dated fixers will stand out like a sore thumb.

6. Deep Clean

Explanation: A thorough cleaning makes a home feel fresh and well cared for. Focus on carpets, windows, kitchens, and bathrooms to ensure every corner shines. I recommend this to all my clients as it is one of the highest ROI improvements.

  • Estimated Cost: $100 - $400 for professional cleaning services.
  • Time Required: 1 day for a professional deep clean.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Carpets: Steam clean carpets to remove stains and odors.
  2. Windows: Clean windows inside and out for a sparkling finish.
  3. Kitchen: Scrub appliances, countertops, and cabinets.
  4. Bathrooms: Clean tiles, grout, fixtures, and mirrors.

Example: A deep clean of the carpets and windows made a noticeable difference in the home's presentation during showings.

7. Stage the Home

Explanation: Staging helps buyers visualize each room's potential. Arrange furniture to highlight the space and functionality and add decorative elements to create an inviting atmosphere. It is one of the best value adds you can do before listing your house for sale.

See how both real and virtual staging can help.

  • Estimated Cost: $200 - $600 for DIY staging, higher for professional staging.
  • Time Required: 1-2 days for DIY staging.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Furniture Placement: Arrange furniture to create open, inviting spaces.
  2. Decor: Add neutral decor items like throw pillows, rugs, and artwork.
  3. Lighting: Ensure all rooms are well-lit with natural and artificial light.
  4. Final Touches: Add fresh flowers or plants for a touch of life.

Example: After rearranging furniture and adding decorative elements, a staged home sold quickly and for a higher price.

8. Enhance the Kitchen


Explanation: The kitchen is a crucial selling point. It is one of the most vital rooms in any home. Minor updates like new cabinet hardware or a fresh backsplash can significantly impact without a complete remodel.

  • Estimated Cost: $100 - $500 for minor updates.
  • Time Required: 1-3 days, depending on the updates.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Cabinet Hardware: Replace old handles and knobs with modern designs.
  2. Backsplash: Install a peel-and-stick backsplash for a quick refresh.
  3. Countertops: Clean and polish countertops for a pristine look.
  4. Appliances: Ensure appliances are clean and functioning well.

Example: Replacing outdated hardware and adding a peel-and-stick backsplash gave a kitchen a modern look, impressing buyers.

9. Refresh the Bathroom

Explanation: Home buyers scrutinize bathrooms, along with the kitchen. New shower curtains, fresh towels, and modern fixtures can make a bathroom feel new, and buyers appreciate a clean, updated bathroom.

  • Estimated Cost: $50 - $300 for minor updates.
  • Time Required: 1-2 days.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Shower Curtain and Towels: Replace old items with fresh, neutral ones.
  2. Fixtures: Update faucets, showerheads, and towel racks.
  3. Mirror: Install a modern mirror to enhance the space.
  4. Clean: Deep clean tiles, grout, and all surfaces.

Example: A client updated the bathroom with a new mirror and light fixtures, making it a home selling point.

10. Update Flooring

Explanation: Clean or replace worn carpets and refinish hardwood floors. Quality flooring enhances a home’s appeal and gives a polished look.

  • Estimated Cost: $200 - $1,000, depending on the type of flooring and area size.
  • Time Required: 2-4 days, depending on the scope of work.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Carpets: Clean or replace old carpets to eliminate stains and odors.
  2. Hardwood Floors: Refinish or polish hardwood floors to restore their shine.
  3. Laminate/Vinyl: Consider affordable options like laminate or vinyl for a quick update.
  4. Tile: Clean and re-grout tile floors as needed.

Example: A couple replaced the old carpet with laminate flooring, resulting in a modern look that attracted buyers.


These quick, cost-effective improvements can significantly boost your home's appeal and value. These changes will help your home stand out, attracting more potential buyers and higher offers.

Never underestimate the importance of putting your touch on a home sale. It makes a difference!

Posted by

With three decades of experience, Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate sector. Bill writes informative articles for numerous prestigious real estate sites to help buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, Realty Biz News, Credit Sesame, and his own authority resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. Reach out to Bill Gassett for his real estate, mortgage, and financial expertise.


Sham Reddy CRS
Howard Hanna RE Services, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Great blog Bill, thanks for sharing!!!

Painting is one of the easiest and most effective ways to transform a space. I often recommend home sellers make minor improvements through painting. Neutral colors like beige, grey, and white appeal to many buyers, making rooms more inviting. Avoid bold colors that might not suit everyone’s taste.

May 19, 2024 08:57 AM
Bill Gassett

I am glad you enjoyed it.

May 19, 2024 10:41 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Bill - your quick yet inexpensive advice can help wannabe sellers understand that effort and thought can go a long way in improving their home sale experience.   

May 19, 2024 09:17 AM
Michael Elliott
Fathom Realty - Burlington Township, NJ
Burlington, New Jersey Residential Sales

These are all great tips, Bill!   Flooring can be more expensive, though, as we know.

May 19, 2024 09:20 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is very good advice to share with home sellers. I posted your blog on X.

May 19, 2024 09:59 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

Thanks for sharing, make it a great Sunday and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Bill Salvatore, Realtor- Arizona Elite Properties

May 19, 2024 11:48 AM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Hello Bill Gassett these are very valuable list for quick and inexpensive improvements when selling.

May 19, 2024 04:18 PM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Thanks for all the compliments on the article guys.

May 20, 2024 04:27 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Bill... as with many things in life... it's all about going back to the basics. These tips were good 10 years ago and they are still good today.

May 20, 2024 05:09 AM
NK Sharma Group
Savitry Greens

Excellent! Home improvement is essential before selling your old home. It helps to sell fast and at a good price.

May 30, 2024 03:27 AM