15 Ways To Add Value To A Home Going On The Market (Without Breaking The Bank)

Selling homes is a tricky business. There are so many facets of the transaction that need to be taken into account. During this time, many homeowners are also looking for ways in which to increase the value of their home before placing it on the market. Yet, no homeowner wants to pay out massive sums to increase the value when they will be selling it soon.

A much preferable alternative is to consider low-cost maintenance or improvement strategies that can boost the home’s value without digging too deeply into the homeowner’s wallet.

To help you find the ideal low-cost maintenance or improvement strategy for your home-selling situation, we asked 15 experts from Forbes Real Estate Council to share their top tip for adding value without breaking the bank. Their answers are below:

1. Declutter, Tidy Up, Repaint

While there is no need to jump into costly renovations or style upgrades before selling, getting the home to look as tidy and uncluttered as possible will surely make the listing photos stand out. I would suggest repainting the walls white or a light neutral color for the effect of a bigger, brighter space. For curb appeal, I recommend planting flowers and resodding any dead patches of grass. – Beatrice de Jong, Open Listings (YC W15)

2. Put Lipstick On The Pig

Focus on low costs and value add. The three most inexpensive ways to increase the value of your home when it’s time to put it on the market are simple: 1) A fresh coat of paint inside and out; 2) new ground cover or bark for landscaping; and 3) great cleaning service. If your house is spotless and looks fresh, it will sell for more. – Scott Menard, The True Life Companies

3. Make Sure The Kitchen Looks Clean And Updated

Typically the kitchen is one of the most important decision factors when viewing/buying a home. For reasonably cheap you can add a new kitchen faucet, cabinet door handles, lighting fixtures and, last but not least, look for a refacing company for the cabinets. – Joshua Fraser, Data Nerds

4. Handle The Handles

Keep your door handles/locks and hinges working perfectly and consistently; no one wants to jiggle the front door key to get in. That makes buyers think, “What else is wrong?” right out of the chalks. – Michael BuiEquity One Real Estate

5. Update The Fixtures

One thing that homeowners can do which makes a big difference in the feel of a house is updating the fixtures. The light fixtures, faucets, door handles and even cabinet knobs can make a huge difference in the feel of a house and be relatively inexpensive. – Mark Ferguson, InvestFourMore

6. Give It An Exterior Shine

Pressure wash the exterior, including all drive and walkways. Always keep the lawn well-maintained to ensure when someone drives by it looks as good as possible. Freshen up landscaping with seasonal plants, new bark, stone, etc. – Justis Smith, Rowe Enterprises, Inc.

7. Buy Inexpensive Smart Home Devices

If you want a relatively inexpensive way to capture the interest of the rising tech-savvy or millennial market, smart home devices are the key. On the cheaper side, smart/learning thermostats and video doorbells are excellent options. Both can be purchased for less than $200 each while giving off the smart home feel that buyers are coming to expect in high-value listings. –Daniel Huertas, Washington Capital Partners

8. Keep It Clean, Fresh And Light

Clean it thoroughly; throw away ugly furniture and replace it with affordable but well-designed pieces from one of the low-cost, high-variety furniture outlets; clean the windows; remove anything that obstructs views to let in as much light as possible; install more powerful and more beautiful and economic LED light fixtures, door handles and faucets; and install new doors and new closet shelves. – Elliot Bogod, Broadway Realty

9. Install A Water Softener System

While not always the most visible improvement, the installation of a water softener system — especially for homes located in areas with hard-water supply — can significantly improve the value and appeal of a home for the right buyer. Water softener systems can decrease the costs associated with cleaning, maintenance and replacement of plumbing fixtures as a result of mineral build-up. – Bryan McLaren, Zoned Properties, Inc.

10. Make Your Front Door More Inviting

Replace the front door and/or garage door. First impressions make a dramatic and lasting impact. You want to make sure that when a buyer first gets out of the car and walks up to your home, they’re not turned off by an old, discolored front door or garage door. Those doors are often the focal point of your home, so it’s worth the investment. – Brad Le, Compass

11. Sweat The Small Stuff, Not The Big Stuff

Many people get it wrong when they decide to do renovations before they sell. Here is a cheat sheet on where to put your money for the best return: paint, landscape and carpets. Change that carpet because nobody wants to play the game “guess where the stain came from.” – Chris Ryan, BEYOND Properties Group / eXp Realty

12. Take Out A Few Walls And Make It Look Bigger

We built a predictive machine learning algorithm that collected data on homes that were sold twice within five years and narrowed that list by checking if a renovation project took place in between. We were able to determine by neighborhood the projects with the best recoup values. The winner was open space (taking out walls) followed by a new front door and entryway. – Raf Howery, Kukun and PropenCity

13. Focus On Overall Maintenance First

When you go to sell your home, no buyer is entering the home with intentions to buy that home unless the exterior draws them in. Basic things to do are paint and caulk. This will also help on the inspection. Make sure the mailbox isn’t rusty or crushed. And if you paint the front door, do a good job or hire someone. Overall maintenance needs to come first, before any renovations. – Michelle Ames, HorsePower Team Texas/Independent Realty

14. Separate Your Living Spaces

Is there a relatively easy way for you to separate your living spaces in order to create an accessory unit? If so, you’ve just broadened your market significantly to investor buyers who are seeking income-producing properties. A home with a dedicated short-term rental space that can help pay the mortgage is one of the best investments you can make, whether you keep the property or plan to sell. – Garratt Hasenstab, The Mountain Life Companies™

15. Go To A Local Hardware Store

Instead of staging, ask a local hardware store to virtually render your home with modern furniture or different designs and finishes for the bathroom or kitchen. You could even print these renovation designs out and put them on easels during showings. This allows prospective buyers to see the potential of your spaces without the pain and cost of actually renovating. – Robert Rahmanian, REAL New York

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