Homeowners often get emotionally and financially overwhelmed when they take on home improvement projects. Replacing flooring, cabinets, and kitchen appliances can cost thousands of dollars, and some sellers never recoup all of the money they spent when it comes time to sell their house. Whether you’re considering selling your home or simply want to get a good return on your investment, here are 7 inexpensive home projects that will add value to your home. And based on our 14 plus years in real estate, these suggestions should pay for themselves several times over!
Painting your front door, trim, and porch railings
Estimated cost: $50 should cover 2 cans of paint and brushes.
First impressions count – whether it’s potential buyers or guests. This is one of the easiest, most affordable do it yourself projects. If you’re a seller looking to maximize your ROI, we’d recommend using a traditional front door color such as black, dark gray, chocolate brown, or navy because these tend to be the favorites among buyers when they have an entire color palette to choose from at new construction home models. With the rest of your paint bucket, you might consider repainting your window shutters to match in order to get the biggest bang for the buck.
If home buyers are not a concern, you might consider choosing a trendy pop of color such as red, light blue, lime green, turquoise, pumpkin orange, or mustard yellow. We’ve estimated in our costs a second bucket of paint (in white) to make your door trim and porch railings look new again!
Mulch, weed, and plant flowers
Cost: We think you should splurge and spend the entire $100!
Again, based on the first impression of good curb appeal, you should focus your money and energy on your front yard. If your budget and time allow for backyard improvements, this is also an important selling point among home buyers (especially with the outdoor entertaining trends we’re seeing right now). However, they will probably have decided whether they want to buy your home before they even make it to the back yard.
Avoid using the bright red mulch sold at your gardening center because it tends to turn off home buyers. Part of ensuring that you get a good return on your $100 investment is making selections that appeal to as many buyers as possible. Follow this basic rule of real estate: the larger the group of buyers, the more money a property will sell for.
For your $100 budget, we recommend buying pine straw or pine bark mulch. Talk with your local gardening center about which plants or flowers will give you the lowest maintenance and best sun tolerance for your yard. For sunny yards in Charleston, we’ve had good experience with marigolds, lantana, sweet potato vine, blue daze, and vinca.
Hire a professional cleaner
Cost: Look for a Groupon to make this fall within your budget, since you can usually find deals on house cleaning for $85-100.
You might be surprised to hear us recommend a service that you can do yourself. Why pay someone to clean your house? This is a trick we recommend for many of our listings because a professional will be able to see problem areas that go unnoticed. Owners sometimes get so used to seeing dirty floors around a dog food bowl, kids’ hand prints on the fridge, or toothpaste splatter on a bathroom mirror that they don’t notice these issues anymore. Getting a fresh pair of eyes and a helping hand is well worth the money since cleanliness makes a huge impression on our clients.
Power wash your home’s exterior
Cost: $99 with a good Groupon
Especially if your home has a vinyl siding exterior, accumulated dirt and pollen can seriously detract from the curb appeal of your home. With brick exteriors, the light gray grout can blacken over time, making buyers wonder how much maintenance has been deferred in your home. Getting a professional power washing is well worth the money because it can make your home look brand new again! If there’s room in the budget, you might also consider getting the driveway, back patio, and sidewalk cleaned as well.
Repaint any rooms that have bold colors or accent walls
For the price of a can of paint and some brushes, you can prevent buyers from getting turned off by bright, dirty, or scuffed walls. Since we’ve already emphasized the importance of neutral colors that appeal to as many people as possible, we won’t reiterate this golden rule again!
Replace hardware on cabinets
Cost: $30-60 depending on how many cabinets and the style of hardware you choose.
Whether your 30 year old cabinets look outdated or your newer home has builder grade, plain door pulls, replacing the hardware on your cabinets is easy and inexpensive. Usually all that’s required is a screwdriver, which makes this one of the easiest DIY projects possible. We’ve found that especially with the basic white, vinyl builder grade cabinets, simply upgrading the knobs/handles can make the entire kitchen or bath appear nicer.
Steam clean carpets
As parents and dog owners, we say this with the utmost compassion: other people notice the smells in your home more than you do! Replacing carpet can cost thousands of dollars, but hiring a professional cleaner can make your carpet look, feel, and smell almost new again for a fraction of the cost!
Selling a Home in Charleston?
Real estate in Charleston is our specialty! If you’re considering selling your home, contact The Keadle Group to learn why we’re one of the top performing teams in the area!