Things to Improve the Sale of a Home

Selling a house as-is or with no recent improvements can significantly reduce your sales price. Making the wrong upgrades can be an even bigger misstep. You don’t have to be a DIY pro or cash in your 401(k) to improve your home for sale. Meeting with a real estate agent, you will be able to find out which improvements will help your house sell quicker, and which will bring you a higher price.

Many home upgrades will bring a higher sales price, offsetting your investment.

Curb Appeal

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression when it comes to selling your house. When buyers arrive, if they see an unkempt exterior, they might question everything that’s inside, especially what they can’t see. If you can’t afford an exterior paint job or new siding, consider having your house power washed to clean it up. Take a look at re-painting shutters or adding new ones for color contrast. Get rid of that old bush or sickly tree that’s always bothered you. If you’re short on cash and won’t be selling for more than a month, fertilize and re-seed your lawn instead of adding sod. Adding colorful flowers is a great way to improve curb appeal.


New appliances not only make a kitchen or bath look great, they add value to a home by decreasing electric, gas and water bills. Look into an energy efficient washer, dryer, dishwasher and water heater. Many utility companies offer rebates to homeowners who swap out old water heaters for new ones. You might also qualify for a tax credit if you buy a low-flow toilet. Check with your real estate agent to make sure you don’t buy the wrong appliances for your sales price range and target buyer.


Re-facing cabinets is an excellent way to update your kitchen pop on a budget. Instead of tearing out and replacing cabinets, you remove the doors, repaint them and add new handles. Granite countertops are common selling points in new and used homes, but the color you pick may not be everyone’s choice. Consider offering a credit for new countertops. If you’ve got old linoleum on the floor, lay down tile. Tiling the backsplash along countertops and repainting the walls are other means of improving a kitchen.


Baths are a key room for many home buyers. Replacing toilets and showerheads with water-saving, low-flow models gives you two selling points to potential buyers. Get rid of tired wallpaper and paint the room a bright, neutral color, adding new light fixtures to give the room an updated look. Bathroom conversions can cost significant money, but might bring you a profit and get your house sold sooner if you invest the money. Ask your realtor for advice on what you should do in your bathroom.

Paint and Carpet

New paint and carpet are common upgrades in many homes. Use neutral paint colors homeowners can live with while they decide if they want to re-paint. Consider traffic patterns when choosing carpet. A three-bedroom home that targets families with children will need a darker, more durable carpet than a two-bedroom house aimed at young, single professionals. Before you jump at a sale price on hardwood flooring, paint or carpet, talk to any contractor friends you have who might have access to better deals.


Replacing windows can be a big expense, but can increase your sale price. Energy efficient windows might be enough to qualify your house for a tax credit or rebate. Look for Energy Star-approved products and ask your power company to guide you – – they might come to your home and provide a free audit of your home’s energy efficiency.


If you have a fireplace, make it the centerpiece of the room. Clean it up, add a new grate and tools and consider re-doing the mantle. Don’t clutter it with decorations or personal items and move large pieces of furniture away from it when you are showing the house.