Inexpensive Tips for Increasing Property Value Before Selling Your Home

by Reader Contributors

DIY Landscaping for Less photo

When selling your home, of course you want to get as much as you possibly can for it. So what are some inexpensive updates you can make to increase property value and what projects should you avoid?

Dear Dollar Stretcher,
We’re pretty sure that we will be selling our home at some point in the coming year, and obviously, we wish to sell it for as much as we can. Is there anything we can be doing over the next number of months that will help increase our property value? Are there updates we should avoid that will not add any real value to our home?

We are looking for inexpensive solutions. We can’t afford new kitchen cabinets or a bathroom remodel, but we are very handy and can do smaller updates and upgrades ourselves.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
A.J. and Lisa

Inexpensive Ways to Increase Property Value?

We asked our frugal readers for their suggestions on affordable home updates that can possibly make a home more saleable as well as updates that probably should be avoided. Read on for their suggestions for inexpensive ways to increase property value before you sell your home.

Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today

The first thing you could do would be to go through and do all those nagging little repairs that have been waiting on “tomorrow.”

Secondly, a fresh coat of paint in light or neutral shades will help in terms of giving people a palette in which to view their own furnishings in your space. It is kind of like how art galleries leave the walls plain so as to show their items without distraction.

Thirdly, I would recommend that you start decluttering and packing away non-essentials now. When you want to hold showings, a clean, organized environment does wonders for other’s perspectives.

Lastly, I would recommend you put aside a little money now so that just before you show your house you can save yourselves a little work and headache by hiring a person or small team to give your place a thorough deep clean to prep for visitors. If you save a little more, you can get an hour or two from a house stager to plan and arrange your things to their best advantage. Even if you don’t want to invest a lot of money in a house you will sell a year down the road, if it looks clean, well-appointed, and in good repair, you ought to do just fine.

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Paint and Clean Everything to Increase Property Value

Using an off white paint color is safest. Don’t try to guess what colors someone might like. I put a hint of peach in my white paint to give a slightly softer color. The buyers were happy that they did not have to paint right away and could “live” with the white until they had time to paint the colors they wanted. Make sure there are no smells, animals and personal “stuff” and have the yard very neat and clean.
Dee in FL

Go to the Pros

Since you are already planning on selling your home in the near future, you can start interviewing realtors right now. They will give you some great ideas on putting your best foot forward. One realtor we talked with even had some lighting suggestions for a northern facing room in our home. They will also point out more serious issues that should be addressed, so your home will be in a good competing place (against other similar homes) when you do decide to put it on the market.

Clean, Tidy and ‘In Good Repair’ Can Increase Property Value

I think the most important thing is to make sure everything is sparkling clean, tidy, and in good repair.

How long has it been since you’ve painted? If any rooms look dingy or if any outdoor trim is looking dirty or faded, a fresh coat of a pleasant neutral color is a small investment that will make a big difference. You should also consider removing any dated wallpaper and simply painting the wall.

Could your siding or deck benefit from pressure washing? Do you have squeaky doors, lose floor tiles, or cabinet drawers that don’t open/close properly?

How is your lawn and landscaping? You may want to do a winterizing lawn treatment to help the lawn green up faster in spring. Any bare spots should be seeded now so they’re filled in by the time you hang the for sale sign. Could your landscaping benefit from a couple colorful perennials? They’re on sale this time of year. If you have overgrown shrubs, could you remove them and plant smaller tidy ones? (See DIY Landscaping for Less.)

Repair or replace any plumbing fixtures that drip or that take a lot of muscle to turn on/off. Also, extreme decluttering is technically not a home improvement but it will make your home look more attractive to a buyer.

Don’t Ignore the Little Things

Fix any holes in the walls and make sure all the light switches and electric outlets have covers. Make sure no cupboard doors are falling off their hinges. It’s easy for homeowners to assume that homeowners can see past the little flaws. However, in reality, many of them are turned off by little flaws.

Avoid Shots in the Dark

There are a lot of things to do that can increase the value of a home and some that can subtract value, but without knowing the location of the home, most suggestions will be shots in the dark. The best way to find out which improvements will add the most value is to partner with a reputable local realtor and ask advice on what buyers in a given area are looking for and what to avoid.

Clean From Top to Bottom

When we were planning to put our house up for sale, the main thing we did was to remove as much clutter as possible and clean the house from top to bottom. Go through each room and clean it and arrange it as if it were going to be photographed, because it will. Baseboards, doors, air vents and windows should be cleaned. Make sure it smells good.

On the outside of the house, we put fresh mulch in the landscaping, pressure washed the house and driveway, and painted the mailbox and post. First impressions are everything. Our realtor commented that the first thing he noticed was that we had wood stairs instead of carpeted stairs, which is a plus. This was one of the first things we did when we moved in because I hate vacuuming stairs, but it might also increase the chances of a sale.

Reviewed October 2022

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