5 Home Improvements Under $500 to Sell Your Home Faster

5 improvements under $500 to help your house sell faster and for more money

5 Home Improvements Under $500 to Sell Your Home Fast

If you want your home to sell for the highest possible price in the least amount of time, doing a few updates will payoff big time. These suggestions are also good to think about even if you are not planning on selling anytime soon and just wanting to update your space. Change is good and a quick sale is even better!

1. Decluttering & Poor Man’s Staging – Cost: Mostly Free (unless you need a storage unit)

GET RID OF IT – Start going through your home one room at a time.  This can get overwhelming if you let it, so just focus on the one room until it is finished and then move to the next.  Look at the shelves–are they cluttered? Cluttered (full) shelves make it seem that you don’t have enough storage, which is not the impression you want to give to buyers.  Be ruthless when decluttering–if you haven’t used it in 6 months, donate, sell or trash it!  Dont forget to declutter the exterior too!  Many buyers drive by homes they are interested in before scheduling a tour so they can narrow down their list.  Don’t let your exterior kill all your interior efforts.  If you simply cannot get rid of the excess clutter, box it up and put it in storage for the duration of your home’s sale.

“FREE” UPDATES – If you declutter enough, you can sell the items you are getting rid of on a local “for sale” site (there are several on facebook for Anderson County, or craigslist, or even on eBay) or have a garage sale.  You might make enough to pay for all of these updates and also live in a clutter-free home! Clutter and stress are closely related, so not only will it help your home sell, you will be living the zen lifestyle while its on the market and you’ll have much less to pack when you move! WIN-WIN-WIN!

2.  Curb Appeal – Cost: $20+

MULCHY – Add fresh mulch to your flower bed to give it a fresh and maintained appeal.  Cost: $50-200 (depending on size of flower beds and depth of mulch layer)

INSTANT MOOD BOOST – Add a few seasonal flowers by the walkways that give a happy vibe when buyers come to tour property–or even a pretty potted plant near the front door would work too! Cost: $20-50

FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER – Pay special attention to where the lockbox is located.  If the lockbox is on the back door, do anything you can to create a great first impression (or get your agent to move the lockbox to the “pretty entrance”.)  The front porch may be great but if the lockbox is on the back door, that is the first impression you’ll be giving, so make it count!

3.  Paint – Cost: $50+

WHEN IN DOUBT, PAINT IT OUT! – You don’t necessarily have to paint every room.  Focus on the most personalized rooms first–kids rooms that are painted in wild shades, the orange bathroom, or that creatively sponge painted accent wall.  Pick a neutral grey or cream and give the room a quick facelift.  Painting out the hot pink bedroom walls or the sponge painted accent wall in the dining room will make buyers feel more at home in the environment.  When buyers walk into hot pink rooms, all they see is a project they will have to complete after purchase.  Don’t let them walk away from buying because of something that is so easily fixed! A light bright neutral paint color also makes the room seem bigger which will definitely help with a sale!  Paint can make many things feel new again and there are so many things you can paint instead of buying to save big bucks!

4.  Kitchen Makeover – Cost: $25-$500

Don’t be scared, I’m not talking about a full kitchen remodel.  Just a few updates that can make your home sell faster and for more money! A few dollars spent before your house is listed for sale will get you a top dollar offer!

OLD CRUSTY FAUCETS – If your faucet is more than 5 years old, it’s time to replace it.  You can give your kitchen a more updated look by switching out the kitchen faucet for a new model. Cost: $75-200 (depending on the faucet you select)

FANCY KNOB – If your cabinet knobs are old and dated looking, consider buying new knobs or drawer pulls in brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze finish.  If the shape of the knobs is still fashionable, give them a quick coat of spray paint! Rustoleum makes a spray paint that matches the oil-rubbed bronze finish and also a hammered metal silver-toned paint (sold at Lowe’s or Braly’s).  New pulls don’t have to be the fancy ones–the hardware store (and even Wal-Mart) sells contractor packs of 10 for around $25.  If you choose the spray paint method, you’re looking at $7 or less.

CABINET UPDATE – Have your cabinets seen better days? The good news is, you can paint them instead of replacing them!  It will make your kitchen feel much larger if the cabinets are painted a lighter color.  It is a bit time consuming, but will feel fresh and updated and buyers will love it!  I would suggest painting with a glossy oil-based paint for cabinets.  Cost: $100 +/- (depending on which painting supplies you already have on hand)

COUNTER OFFER – Is the counter-top in good condition but a dated color?  There is a relatively new product for Formica counter tops that will change the color.  It is made by Rustoleum.  I have tried it on several rent properties that had orange kitchen countertops (eek!).  The counter-tops were in good shape but the color was horribly dated.  We painted them with the Rustoleum countertop paint and they have held up through 2 tenants and counting! (Money saving tip: Rustoleum sells the full kit for the counter-top Transformations for $250–or you can buy the paint only for less than $25 and buy the roller and other accessories separately. It will save ALOT. The colors are a bit different, but not worth the difference in price, in my opinion.  Be sure to follow the directions.)  Cost: $30-$250

 5.  Bathroom Makeover – Cost: $50-250

Many of these bathroom tips are similar to the kitchen tips.  But both kitchens and bathrooms help to sell a house (or kill a sale!), so it is always money well spent in these two rooms.

KNOBBY – Just like in your kitchen, if your knobs are dated (if it’s brass, then it’s dated!), buy new knobs or paint the existing knobs for a quick update.  Cost: $7-25

QUICK CABINET UPDATE – Paint the cabinets a crisp white or cream to make the bathroom bigger and feel fresh and clean.  Always use enamel (oil based) in kitchens and bathrooms.  Cost: $40 (free if you use the leftover paint from the kitchen!)

COUNTERTOP – If you’ve got that orange formica, then give it the same treatment as the kitchen. Instant Ooomph!  If you have the infamous Palestine pink or baby blue tile, consider having the tile painted with epoxy tile paint (or DIY) if you can’t afford to replace it.  (Important note:  Be sure to verify that the epoxy paint you are using will work in moist areas such as bathrooms. NEVER paint tile with anything other than an epoxy paint.  It is a complete waste of time and you’ll create an even bigger problem.)  There are several services that offer a “re-bath” type service for recoating ceramic tile in more neutral colors.  The epoxy tile paint is only a good option for you if the tile is in good condition, otherwise, you need to bite the bullet and pull it out.  Cost: $35-500

PAINT OUT THE FUNK – The bad news is that bathrooms tend to get disgusting more quickly than other rooms.  The good news is, bathrooms are a small and quick area to paint.  Pick a neutral color and paint the walls.  Finish off the new clean feeling with bright white painted baseboards and woodwork.  You’ll likely be able to use the leftover paint from your other projects to paint the bathroom, saving even more! Just make sure the color is NEUTRAL! (I can’t stress it enough! 😉 )Cost: $20-75.

CLEAN, CLEAN AND CLEAN SOME MORE – If there is mold, mildew, pink stuff, hair balls, general nasty funk in your bathroom–you need to deep clean it.  It’s just gross and makes the whole house seem like it is not maintained.  Bleach the mildew, hardcore scrub everything and caulk the tub, if necessary.  Cost: $10 if you have to buy cleaner

These things matter, especially to your wallet!

These small updates will make a difference.  I know it’s not fun.  Nobody wants extra projects, but buyers don’t like projects either.  If your house has too many projects, they will just move on to the house down the street and buy it instead.  You don’t have to do everything on this list, but the more you do, the more you’ll make on the sale and the faster the sale will happen.  A few dollars spent and a little hard work can pay off in a big way.