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5 Ways to Inexpensively Improve Your Home Before Selling

One of the top questions that I am asked as a real estate agent is, “how can someone inexpensively improve their home to increase the chances of selling for the most amount of money”? The key word in this question is “inexpensively”. It is common knowledge that a high end kitchen remodel or finishing off your basement is high on prospective home buyers list of wanted upgrades. However, not everyone has the 10’s of thousands of dollars to spend on these items. So what can a home seller do to inexpensively improve their home? Below are 5 ways to do just that!

1) Freshen up your walls with a neutral paint color

While living in your home you decided to express your love of your favorite sports team by painting the walls their colors. Or you just went through a purple phase. While this is perfectly acceptable while you are living there and one could argue that someone else could have the same love of purple, what you really are doing is shrinking your buyer pool. It’s funny how many buyers can not see past minor items such as paint colors. However, that creates a perfect opportunity for you to “neutralize” both the situation and your walls. The general rule of thumb is to paint your walls a nice neutral color if you are planning on selling your home. This will not only make the colors more appealing to a broader range of home buyers but will also create the illusion that the rooms are larger then with a darker color.

When selecting a neutral color for your walls, take a trip to your local paint or hardware store and ask the employees or even the designers (if they are on staff) what would be a good color choice. Keep in mind not every employee is a rock star and you might have to ask around or go to a couple stores to find that special person who can help you. If you are looking for some immediate recommendations take a look at these best selling neutral paint colors.

Check out this article I wrote on a great FREE app to help you choose the correct paint color!

2) Brighten up the inside of your home

Nice Airy Window Sheers

Personally, I love drawing the shades turning off the lights and watching a good movie in as much darkness as possible. When selling your house this is the exact opposite of what you want to do. The goal here is to let in as much natural light as possible and to ensure your light fixtures are brightening up the room as much as you can. If you have heavy, bulky window treatments, consider replacing them with light and airy window sheers. Also, make sure shades are up and letting sunlight in.

Also, consider replacing old or low wattage light fixtures. You will be surprised what a nice new $100-$200 light fixture can do for a room. Be sure to get rid of track lights, nobody likes those anymore, period. Light bulbs should be at least 60 watts but consider 75 or even 100 watts if the fixtures can support them. Prospective home buyers want to see your home bright and lit up and this will also create the illusion of larger rooms. Quick tip! Check out overstock.com for great deals on both window treatments and light fixtures.

3) Consider going green

Going green seems to be all you hear about now and it is a good thing if done correctly. You would be surprised how much energy can be saved by making a few small and inexpensive changes to your home. One way to make sure you are focusing your efforts on the correct items is to get an Energize CT Home Energy Assessment or Audit from a authorized contractor for just $99. You can view the program here or watch the short video below to explain the program. Once you have the audit done and perform some or all the recommendations, we can market your house as a “green” home to prospective home buyers!

4) Create an amazing first impression with your porch and front door


“You will never get a second chance to make a first impression” – Will Rogers

The above quote is so true and undoubtedly applies to selling your home. When people walk up to your home and the real estate agent is opening the lockbox and front door, the will be making their first impression of your home. They will be taking a look around and inspecting what they can see. This would be your front door and porch. Before listing your home, take some time and check out how your front door looks. Does it need a fresh coat of paint or is it in need of serious repair or replacement? If your front door sticks and doesn’t open easily, you need to get that fixed. After all, how would that leave an impression on you if the first mechanical item in the home did not work correctly?

The same goes for the front porch. Can you get by with a quick power washing or do you need to repair or replace some of the porch? How about decor? Depending on the season, put out some mums or flowers. If it is winter, how about a sled or some other decorations to make it stand out. My wife always is coming home with some great items from the Christmas Tree Shop that she picked up on the cheap!

5) Create the illusion of a bathroom upgrade

A full blown bathroom upgrade is a sure fire way to grab a buyers attention. However, you are probably not wanting to spend the time, effort and money to do that just so a new homeowner can enjoy all your hard work. So what is the alternative? Create the illusion of a bathroom upgrade. A few small changes can really go a long way. For example, do you have a shower curtain? Replace it with a brand new white cloth curtain, here is one for $40.

Do you have shower doors that are dated? Replace them with new doors or see if you can take them down and replace them with a shower curtain above.

Make sure your toilet seat cover is new and also your bath mats. Don’t go crazy with oversized bath mats that will make the room look cramped, keep them small and decorative. The goal here is not to keep your feet warm at all times when your are in the bathroom but rather to make the room look it’s best.

Lastly, consider a light fixture upgrade to a nice new modern style to grab your buyers attention. Here is a link to some on overstock.com


As you can see, you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money and you CAN find ways to inexpensively improve your home before selling! By just applying these 5 steps you will most likely be putting forth much more effort than the average home seller.

If you are seriously considering a sale, you can download my home sellers guide, which includes a great section called “99 Ways to Stage Your Home to Sell” which is straight from a professional home stagers playbook! Just enter your email below for INSTANT access!

Download Sellers Guide

About the Author: The above real estate information on 5 Ways to Inexpensively Improve Your Home Before Selling was provided by Sandy Smith, a local Connecticut real estate agent serving Hartford and Tolland Counties.

Are you currently thinking about selling your home? I have an awesome marketing plan that focuses on what works to sell your home! Contact Sandy Smith for a no obligation discussion, call or text 860-455-1371.

Sandy Smith services real estate sales in the following Hartford and Tolland County towns: Andover, Avon, Berlin, Bloomfield, Bolton, Bristol, Burlington, Canton, Columbia, Coventry, East Granby, East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Granby, Hartland, Hartford, Hebron, Manchester, Mansfield, Marlborough, New Britain, Newington, Plainville, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, Somers, South Windsor, Southington, Stafford, Suffield, Tolland, Union, Vernon, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Willington, Windsor, Windsor Locks Connecticut

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