If you're planning on selling your home, you want to put your best foot forward and showcase a tidy, well-maintained property to potential buyers. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to embark on any major renovations, unless of course your bathroom dates back to the 80s, or there are holes in places there shouldn't be. If your home is structurally sound and well looked after, you should be able to get away with a few easy updates, a fresh coat of paint, and a bit of garden maintenance.
Not only will these home updates make your property more appealing to potential buyers, they will most likely increase the value of your home, meaning more money in your pocket come sale time. While every home is different, here are 10 simple ways to update and add value to your home without spending a fortune.
1. Refresh with paint.
Painting your house can lift the mood of your home, and it's inexpensive if you're willing to do the work. If your budget allows, tackle walls yourself and get professionals in to do the ceilings, as these can be hard on the neck. As for windows and door frames, you might be able to get away with giving them a good scrub rather than an entire paint job.
If you're taking the DIY approach, tackle one room at a time. Choose a warm, dry day to start, move all of your furniture into the middle of the room, and do the first coat in the morning. As most paint needs only a few hours between coats, you can do the second later in the day and have the room finished by the evening. Bigger rooms will take more time of course, but the one-room-at-a-time method limits disruption.
2. Revamp the entrance.
First impressions count, particularly if you're about to put your house on the market. By painting the front door in a strong color, such as red or blue, and updating doorway furniture and the entrance mat, you're sending a message that your home is up-to-date and well maintained before anyone even crosses the threshold. Give the area around the entrance the once-over by cleaning the path, removing cobwebs, and trimming plants. Check that your mailbox isn't shabby, and fix any loose bricks or crumbling pavement in front of your home.
3. Update your flooring.
Getting carpets cleaned can make a huge amount of difference to the look (and smell) of a home, so calling in the professionals is well worth considering. However, no amount of cleaning is going to lift a floor covering beyond its use-by date, so it may be time to replace what you've got.
If floorboards are showing a little too much wear and tear, have them re-sanded. This opens up myriad options, as you could have them lime washed, stained, painted, or simply resealed.
If you decide to rip up old carpet and find old dirty floorboards underneath, mix up a solution of boiled linseed oil, turpentine, and white vinegar in equal parts and test a patch with a lint-free cloth to clean and feed the timber. If the wood looks good, you may have unearthed a gem.
4. Focus on quick kitchen fixes.
New cabinet doors and handles update a kitchen in a budget-friendly way. "For a pre-made cabinet door off the shelf, the cheapest option is a laminated door for around $15," says Amanda Falconer, author of The Renovator's Survival Guide ($45.98, Amazon). If you're not trying to replace your doors entirely, consider giving them a fresh coat of paint instead.
Another option is to replace the kitchen countertop, but consider what will work with your floor, says Judy Dymond, a color consultant. "As your floor is probably the largest area of singular finish, ensure you take the color and pattern into consideration."
If you can stretch to changing cabinet doors and countertops, "think about combining timber looks for lower and upper storage with a solid color that complements and links into your countertop selection," says Dymond. "You can create impact with contrasting lower and upper cabinetry with your countertop acting as the link."
5. Makeover the bathroom.
"You can get a quick lift by replacing the toilet, sink, and tapware," says Falconer. "A new toilet gives the impression of cleanliness and a new sink and taps can also help turn an ordinary or tired bathroom into something more modern. There are sinks of almost any shape and color available, but more organic shapes are the current trend."
If you want to go purely down the DIY route, think about painting the existing tiles. High-gloss tile paint is nifty for painting over discolored grout, as is spray-on tile paint that provides coverage in either white, cream, or black.
6. Change the light switches.
Oftentimes, it's the details that count, and standard white light switches tend to look yellow over time. Getting an electrician to replace them isn't a costly exercise, and you can often pick up everything you need at a big hardware store, so the major expense will be labor. Many brands make colored or metal switch plates, but consider the fact that switches tend to be utilitarian items that don't need to be made into a feature.
7. Rethink window treatments.
Sometimes, you don't realize how grubby a window is until it's obvious. In the meantime, the dirt is building up and affecting the quality of light. Get the glass sparkling, check that latches are working correctly, and contact a glazier if any panes are cracked or need replacing.
"Putting up a new blind or curtain can be a great start to adding or changing the style of a room," says interior designer Shaynna Blaze. "For a sleek look, use roller (also known as Holland) or Roman blinds made from simple fabrics and colors. To add extra warmth and style, use shutters or timber venetians, and then there are curtains to add luxury. Window treatments aren't something we change often in the lifetime of the house, so make sure you wait and save for the best quality you can afford."
8. Replace splashback.
Sometimes making one major change in the kitchen is enough to lift the whole room. If you don't want to mess with the cabinetry, cast an objective eye over the splashback, as it's a way to inject some personality into the room without going over the top.
Glass splashbacks are still popular, but at about half the price, acrylic is a cheaper alternative. There's a great color range on the market as well as clear options so you can personalize your selection with wallpaper, for instance. The only limitation is that acrylics can't be used directly behind stoves.
9. Fit new taps.
If the bathroom and kitchen are basically in good shape but just in need of a little updating, look at the taps. By fitting new, good-looking, matching taps, you're bringing a sense of cohesion to the house. Good taps also suggest good plumbing.
10. Groom your garden.
Now is the perfect time to pull on the garden gloves and get to work in the backyard if it isn't too cold. After a general clean-up, look at any gaps in planting that need to be dealt with. If you're putting the house up for sale, gather reasonably established potted plants to fill up these holes, as you can take them with you when you go. Get a hold of a pressure washer and give paths and paintwork a once-over. Clean the barbecue and give outdoor furniture a scrub and, if needed, an oil.
This article was originally written by Homes to Love editors. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.