14 Frugal Fixes to Do Before Selling Your House 

 September 20, 2020

By Scott Teesdale  

minutes read time

As you begin to take steps to sell your home, you’ll want to ensure that it’s as attractive as possible to prospective buyers. It is easy to miss the little things, especially if you’ve lived there for so long and have grown accustomed to its appeal.

That’s why in this article, we wrote about a handful of quick and frugal fixes you can do to improve curb appeal and prepare your home for selling. From the entrance way and exterior to the family rooms and interior, we got you covered.

Before diving in, one crucial tip: ask your real estate agent (if you have one) for their opinion about essential renovations and repairs that you could do. If you found a good home agent, they should be able to provide helpful recommendations.

If you are working with a budget, do not panic, there are various strategies you can apply to make essential changes inside and outside your house without getting too stressed out.

1. Improve the exterior / curb appeal of your home

The first thing that a customer will notice when they arrive for a showing or drive by your home is the house’s exterior. Its appearance is their first impression and will immediately inform their opinion of your house. For this reason, it is wise to prepare your home’s exterior for selling. To improve the curb appeal, consider the following:

  • Clear the trash
  • Repair cracked concrete
  • Put down fresh sod
  • Mow the lawn 
  • Remove tired bushes and plant new ones.
  • Paint the exterior of the house
  • Add some color with potted flowers or flower beds.

It is not hard to find landscaping companies who will improve your curb appeal. You can ask for a referral from family or friends or research online.

2. Give your entryway a facelift

Preparing the interior of your home is the next step. Your entryway is another crucial aspect of your home because it’s one of your home’s first areas that visitors will see. Paint the old front door or potentially buy a new one if you have the budget, and it needs that much of an upgrade. If your mailbox or house number is old, replace them with new ones.

3. Declutter

If you have excess items in your home, get rid of them. You may throw them away, give them away, sell them, or put them in storage. Hosting a yard sale is a great way to make some money while decluttering your home. Also, consider replacing big furniture with smaller ones because big pieces of furniture make a room appear small. Too much clutter will make it hard for buyers to envision themselves residing in that house. Most families can follow the rule of thumb to remove 50% of the household items.

4. Renovate the kitchen

A kitchen is one of the biggest selling points for a house. In this age, many people entertain their guests while cooking. Therefore, you want to make it as appealing as possible by focusing on high impact but affordable projects. These include projects like:

  • Installing new countertops
  • Updating hardware
  • Painting wood cabinets.

Your goal should be to make your kitchen sparkle. Renovating the kitchen does not have to be expensive.

5. Spruce up the bathroom

Besides the kitchen, the bathrooms are another area that can mean the difference between selling the house quickly or staying in the market for years. There are so many easy ways to fix up a bathroom. The right bathroom renovations could even increase your home’s resale value. Look for leaky faucets or running toilets. If you aren’t sure about the toilet, simply put dark food coloring in the tank and see if it bleeds through to the bowl. 

Other inexpensive updates you can make are to clean the grout, replace missing tiles, and give the walls a fresh coat of paint. Your goal with bathrooms specifically should be to make them look as clean and bright as possible. If you’re looking to save as much money as possible, you can always do some easy bathroom renovations yourself.

6. Repair or replace light fixtures

A critical home selling mistake you can make is trying to sell a darkly-lit house. Lighting is magical. It’s used to add warmth to a home, illuminate it, and make the most of space perception. Before selling your house, check to see if all the lighting fixtures are functional. After that, change the faulty light bulbs with new ones. Also, place bulbs with high wattage in dim rooms to light up the spaces. Consider letting in more natural light. Replace heavy drapes with light ones. Besides appeal, your house will appear more prominent than its actual size since lighting has that influence on space perception. We’ve noticed that gold fixtures are old-fashioned, and brushed nickel fixtures are more popular than brass. 

7. Remove water stains

If your house has unsightly water stains on the roof or the floor, potential buyers will assume that there are numerous hidden problems beneath the surface. Call a plumber and have them check whether there are leaking pipes or poor drainage in your basement. Once the issues have been fixed, replace the ceiling with a new one and have drywall installed.

8. Depersonalize

Depersonalizing your home is one of the quickest and cheapest wins you can do to get your house ready to sell in 30 days. Removing personal items to you or your family makes it easier for prospective buyers to picture themselves in your home. For example, temporarily putting away items such as children’s drawings on refrigerators and family photos on walls will help the buyers visualize themselves living in the house with their families.

9. Do a thorough cleaning

We never thought we’d have to list this as an item but you’d be surprised how dirty some of the homes on the market are. Even a basic cleaning goes a long way, and yet too many sellers forget this step. It would be displeasing for a buyer to find a dirty house when they come for a viewing.

Ensure that everything is sparkling clean from the windows, floor, walls, toilets and bathtubs, and even the carpets. Replace dusty and worn out carpets with new ones. A clean house will make everything else pop out.

10. Buy supplies yourself

When you are making improvements to your home, try to source and purchase fixable items yourself. Many times when choosing to hire a contractor, they find something that does not work with an appliance or aspect of your home and will recommend a new part. Usually, they add about a 10% to 20% markup on that item.

Where possible, buy the parts and supplies yourself to reduce expenses. Sometimes though, maintenance specialists can get discounted rates, so it’s worth checking. By doing this, you will only pay for labor.

11. Be clear about the use of every room

If you are using a room for a purpose other than the one initially intended, convert it back to its original use. For example, you may have been using the spare bedroom as storage or the dining room as a playroom. The reason is that you want the buyer to be able to picture themselves in your home. You also want them to imagine how they will use the space. By having weird use of your home’s rooms, it may give the buyer reason to pause.

12. Paint using neutral colors

You may love colors that others might consider odd and unpleasant. So if you are selling or renting your home, make sure to paint all rooms in a neutral color. A freshly painted room also tends to look cleaner and more modern. Remove old wallpaper and if there are nail holes, cover them using sand and putty before painting over them. If you do not think you can paint well, hire a professional to do it for you.

13. Consider removing window treatments and popcorn ceiling

If the window treatments are cheap and outdated, consider removing them because they might put off buyers who do not have the same taste as you. Remove them and replace them with a new ceiling.

14. Repair damaged floors and window screens

Clean the floors thoroughly if they do not have hardwood. If the floors are hardwood, retain and sand them depending on their state and your budget. If you have carpets, clean them thoroughly or replace them if they are too worn out. Install a new vinyl floor in the bathroom or kitchen as long as it matches the space and the entire floor area. If you want to install hardwood flooring, choose engineered hardwood because it has good quality, and it is quite affordable. Repair window screens as well.

Saving money feels great

Prospective customers would like to see a beautiful place that they can call home. Instead of selling your house as it is, work on the few damages and necessary changes to add more appeal to your house. As shown above, the changes don’t need to be expensive—they’re easy, quick wins that go a long way. Fixing the damages and improving its appeal will keep and add value to your house and increase the likelihood of selling your home. Go ahead, give your house that magic touch!

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I use data and technology to help Millennials navigate the ins-and-outs of buying or selling a home in today's market. From appraisals to mortgages to zoning, I cover it all with the goal to teach others. Connect with me on social via the icons above.