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Your goal is to get the best possible price for your home, right? And it’d be ideal to do all of this without exhausting your budget or yourself.

If you’re nodding your head yes, then consider installing a few inexpensive home upgrades before putting it on the market. Upgrades can be anything from replacing light bulbs to creating new rooms that didn’t exist when you purchased your home.

Bear in mind that not all house upgrades are created equal when it comes to getting a solid return on your investment. The good news, is that many profitable upgrades can be handled without the help of a professional or incurring ridiculously high expenses.

5 Home Improvement Ideas

Not convinced? These five affordable improvement ideas won’t break the bank, but will get you a valuable return on your investment when the time comes to sell.


According to Minnesota-based realtor Joe Houghton, giving your home a good cleaning and fixing anything that needs attention will bring excellent returns on your investment. Your house needs to smell, look and feel clean. “A buyer will decide if they don’t want a house within the first 30 seconds, so a favorable first impression that’s appealing to all five senses is extremely important,” says Houghton.

Interior decorator Meghan Butte agrees. You need to get scrubbing, cleaning and laundering. You may especially want to go the extra mile and hire a professional cleaner if you have a pet or if there are smokers living in the house. Odors from “pets, cigarettes, even last night’s dinner, can set the wrong tone during a showing,” adds Butte.

When it comes to dealing with small problem-areas inside a house, the first on your list should be the things that you can easily fix yourself: oil squeaky door hinges, tighten cabinet knobs that have come loose, fix leaky faucets, replace broken light bulbs, glue back peeling linoleum. All of these projects won’t take more than a weekend, but they will remove all the potential minor objections that a home buyer might have.

Jordan Sanders, a 26-year-old copywriter who recently became a homeowner, was impressed with the superficial makeover her seller had done. “He had fixed everything, including water spigots, and he’d replaced the windows,” Jordan shares.


Major bathroom renovations are typically expensive, and you run the risk of not appealing to others’ styles. What you can do, however, is make sure your prospective buyers won’t see anything dirty, rundown, or leaking.

That’s where caulking comes in handy. Meghan Butte advises sellers to apply new white caulk around the toilet, bathroom and sink. She also suggests they splurge on a new sink and bathroom faucets. A minor bathroom upgrade could bring a return on investment of about 102 percent.


An inexpensive kitchen remodel is one of the best investments you can make to ensure your home sells quickly. Fresh caulking in the kitchen is a quick and affordable home improvement solution. You can also replace cabinet knobs and drawer pulls to make the cabinets look more modern. Light fixtures and faucets are also inexpensive to replace and can really change the feel of a room. If you’re confident in your DIY skills, you can watch some videos online and learn how to install a new tile backsplash as a final touch to upgrading this space in your home.

“Kitchens sell homes,” Butte agrees. While she doesn’t suggest going broke trying to remodel your kitchen, she does recommend sellers freshen up their kitchens by organizing, decluttering, depersonalizing and doing some major cleaning.

“Chances are if your kitchen isn’t the latest and greatest, a buyer will want to upgrade this room when they move in,” says Butte.

“So save yourself the money on new appliances, cabinets and quartz countertops, and let the new owner do the expensive upgrades.”

Removing any personalized decor will also work in your favor. Your taste in window ornaments can make the kitchen feel homey to you, but don’t be surprised if potential buyers don’t share your preferences.


Have you ever considered what type of first impression your outdoor space gives to potential home buyers?

Landscaping on a budget is possible with a little sweat equity: mow the lawn and add some flower pots. Remember that tall grasses and weeds may be big turn-offs for some buyers. The more freshly-trimmed your garden looks, the less your buyer will feel like they’ll have to put in work to maintain it.

A simple change with a big effect is creating a backyard focal point by grouping together plants of a similar nature in matching planters or adding a cafe table and chairs for early morning coffee rituals.


Don’t underestimate what a fresh coat of paint can do for your home.

Repainting interior walls in a neutral color can do wonders for the entire house. Just make sure the paint job looks professional. Realtor Joe Houghton emphasizes that flawlessly painted houses can be priced higher.

Speaking of quick fixes, don’t overlook another significant selling point: the front door. If you can afford to replace the front door, realtor Dan Frank strongly recommends doing just that, as a new steel door can deliver a 104 percent return on investment. “Even just upgrading the door hardware and painting the existing door will be a huge improvement over an old, faded door with worn hardware,” says Frank.

There you have it

Love at first sight (and upon further inspection) definitely exists when people go house-hunting. With a few inexpensive home upgrades – a bit of cleaning, fixing, painting and landscaping – you can sell your house at a higher price. All you need to do is roll up your sleeves and apply one or more of the tips listed above!

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