You don’t need a big budget to get a big return on your home’s value. Invest in these inexpensive and easy updates.
Tune Up Home Systems
When it’s time to sell, can you show that you’ve maintained your residence? Beyond fresh coats of paint, buyers want to see that your home’s HVAC is fully functional. “Ninety percent of home inspections recommend furnace servicing and certification,” says Jeff Hebeler, associate broker with FourStar Realty, Inc. in Boulder, Colo. Stay ahead of the curve with a yearly furnace inspection. It costs less than $100 and lends longer life to your HVAC. Keep a record of your tune-ups to give to potential buyers, says Hebeler.
Power Wash Dirty Siding
You don’t need to live in a construction zone for the exterior of your house to accumulate dust, grime and even mold, a very unwelcome visitor and home value killer. Brighten and cleanse your home’s exterior by having a professional power wash as needed. For 500 square feet of siding, you’ll generally pay in the $200s for a licensed, bonded and insured contractor, according to Homewyse.
Create Curb Appeal
A yard full of weeds is more than an eyesore — neglected landscaping can lower your home’s worth. “Updating the exterior of your home can be a quick and easy way to build instant value,” says Jenna Fulk, broker associate with PorchLight Real Estate Group in Denver. Start by clearing overgrown landscaping and adding potted and hanging plants to your entryway. “Also try updating the front door light fixture, replacing dated house numbers and painting the front door a bright, contrasting color to boost value and curb appeal without breaking the bank,” she says. These exterior updates can run from $100-200, depending on the materials you already own.
Paint and Caulk (Interior and Exterior)
“The most bang for your buck comes from a fresh coat of paint, which can freshen the looks and smells of an entire house,” says Hebeler. If you have a stale-smelling house, many eco-friendly paints (ranging from $30 to $90 a gallon) now contain compounds that absorb and improve air quality in a home. Select neutral colors, especially if preparing your home for sale. And don’t forget to caulk around windows, tubs and counters to give your home’s surfaces a clean and protective finish against water damage.
Add a Steel Entry Door
One of the easiest changes you can make to your home is right in front of you: the entry door. Boost value and security with a replacement steel entry door that will recoup 100 percent of its cost during resale. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report , the replacement steel entry door is the only project that nationally more than pays back its investment with a better home resale price. For increased durability and peace of mind, a steel door itself (not the framing) will set you back around $200 compared with a cool $900+ for a wood door.
Give Kitchen Cabinets a Facelift
With some elbow grease, a few gallons of paint and new drawer pulls, you can bring kitchen cabinetry into the twenty-first century without breaking the bank. “Try a warm gray paint color on the cabinets with modern silver or black hardware,” recommends Fulk. This do-it-yourself project will likely cost around $200, but the added value to your home is easily in the thousands.
Expose Hardwood Floors
If what’s lurking under worn-out carpets are hardwood floors, then by all means nix the carpet! Pulling up staples takes patience, but your work will be worth it when those wood floors are exposed. You might get off easy with no refinishing needed — which means this update is free — but if not, supplies to restore wood floors will run about $200.
Remove Popcorn Ceilings
Used in the late 1950s to ’80s, this stucco ceiling became popular to hide imperfections, but in today’s housing market it screams outdated — and that’s exactly why it has to go. “A home that looks modern will fetch a more modern home value,” says Matt Blashaw, host of Money Hunters on DIY Network, who recommends removal. As long as your popcorn ceiling doesn’t contain asbestos, remove it yourself with this DIY Network tutorial. This project runs $100-200.