6 simple improvements to boost your home sale value

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Ask a Lender
November 9, 2016 | Updated September 20, 2017


Key Points

Inexpensive ways to make your home shine before selling

  • Declutter so buyers can see the house and not your stuff.
  • Paint walls to brighten up rooms and clean away years of grime.
  • Clean carpets and floors to return their previous luster.
  • Replace old, broken or outdated fixtures with matching new fixtures.
  • Trim or replace oversized bushes so buyers can see the house behind them.
  • Don't neglect the exterior of your house; curb appeal starts at the curb.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Never is this adage more true than when you put your house on the market.

Your house is full of memories that you see every day, but it also is full of flaws that you have learned to overlook over time. You want your house to shine when potential buyers come through, but you also want to save money to invest in your next home.

In addition to a deep cleaning to remove years of grease and grime, here are some inexpensive ways to improve the inherent beauty of your home.


The cheapest way to improve the look of your home is to remove excess stuff so buyers see the house and not the clutter. Rent a storage unit and put half of your belongings there. Cabinets and closets filled to the brim will make your storage space seem too small. Furniture lining every wall and knickknacks on every surface will do the same to your rooms. The same is true for a garage that can't hold a car.

Paint rooms

With a can of paint, a few rollers and brushes and some painter's tape, you can make any room in your house look new again. Pull down outdated wallpaper, and roll out a fresh coat. Don't forget to fill nail holes and fix small cracks before painting. Choose light, neutral (off-white) colors for a clean, bright look. While you're at it, paint the garage floor.

Clean carpets and floors

Remember how beautiful your carpets looked when you moved in? Buyers want that. Rent a steam cleaner for a day and use it to brighten up all of your carpets. If you have stubborn stains, hire a professional. Give your kitchen and bathroom floors a hard scrub with bleach if necessary. Hardwood floors in high-traffic areas may need professional help as well to return them to their original color.

Replace fixtures

Updating old, dated, worn, broken or mismatched light fixtures can modernize a room and catch a buyer's eye. You can find many fixtures under $100, and replacing them is fairly easy. Just be sure to turn off the electricity first. Other quick and cheap improvements you can do yourself include replacing outlet and light-switch covers, AC/furnace-register covers and door handles — for cabinets, closets and rooms.

Spruce up the exterior

After you paint the inside, check the exterior. Staining a deck can make it look almost new again for a season. Repairing and repainting the trim and gutters can make your house really pop from the road and won't cost as much as painting the whole house. If you live in a damp area, treat your roof for moss and clean your deck, fence and house to remove dirt and mildew.

Maintain or update landscaping

In addition to routine lawn maintenance, which you should perform at least twice a week while your house is on the market (including pulling weeds and trimming), look into replacing or at least trimming your bushes and trees. If you can't see your house from the road behind your landscaping, potential buyers won't be able to either. So, trim that foliage back or remove oversized bushes and replace them with smaller versions.

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