Thinking of selling your home?
Naturally, you want to get the best price for your home in the shortest time possible.
There are a few key things you can do to improve the resale value of your home without spending a lot of money on expensive renovations.
Your potential buyers are going to be buying with their hearts, not their heads. We like to think we’re all rational buyers, especially when it comes to such a big investment, but the truth is, we are all emotional buyers.
And so to get the best price for your house, you want to appeal to your buyers heart and nurture their emotions so they fall in love with your house at first sight.
By increasing the perceived value of your house and selling an ideal of homely comforts and happiness, you’re increasing the likelihood of selling your house at the price you’re hoping.
Here are 9 ways to increase the value of your home on a budget.
1. IMPROVE CURB APPEAL
First impressions count.
And for your potential buyer, first impressions start before they even walk through the front gate. You’re appealing to their emotions and you want this first meeting to be love at first sight.
This doesn’t mean spending thousands on landscaping. Here are some budget tips to improve the curb appeal of your home:
- Clean and / or paint the front fence and mend any part that is broken
- Mow the lawn
- Trim the edges
- Clean paths and the driveway
- Weed the garden
- Prune trees and bushes
- Put away junk in the yard and hide the garbage bins
- Place pot plants near the front door or front step in attractive pots
- Mulch the garden
- Add low maintenance, architectural plants suitable for your climate
- Repair anything damaged
- Clean and / or paint the front porch
- Clean and / or paint the front door
- Put down a welcome mat (to keep visitors tracking dirt through your house)
2. CLEAN YOUR HOME
Your buyer walks through the front door. What’s their first impression?
What do they see? What do they smell?
Does your home welcome them with open arms and promises of future familial bliss?
While a messy, smelly home doesn’t impact on the actual value of the home, it will definitely reduce it’s perceived value. And making sure your home is spotless will cost you nothing but is essential for snagging the sale.
We once looked at a rental property that had been on the market for months. The moment we walked in the door we were put off. It wasn’t a bad place. It was just a pigsty.
There were weeks of old food and containers strewn all over the floor. The stove was mouldy. The tenants were smoking on the lounge in their pyjamas. I felt sorry for the owners. They continually dropped their asking price to try and sell the property, which they finally did – after the tenants moved out and they could give it a good clean.
Your first step in improving the value of your house is to give it a deep clean. Here are some things to focus on:
- Wash exterior walls, paths and the driveway
- Clean the front door and screens
- Wash the windows
- Wash down interior walls (particularly if you aren’t going to paint)
- Get the carpets professionally cleaned, stain treated and deodorised, especially if you have pets or smoke
- If you have stained carpet and don’t want to replace it, place a strategically placed rug to decorate and hide the stain
- Clean and deodorise your furniture
- Clean curtains and blinds
- Get rid of mould in the bathroom
- Get rid of lime scale, rush and stains
Finally, prior to inspection, wash the dishes, put away any clothes toys and mess on the floor and tables, clean toilets, vacuum, make beds and give your home a subtle refreshing scent.
Spend a few minutes looking through home magazines at the checkout and you will notice the minimalistic decorating. By removing clutter, you’re making your home fresh, bright and airy, which is appealing to buyers.
Here’s a few ways to reduce clutter:
- Clear kitchen benchtops
- Pack away books
- Pack away all your nick-knacks, collectibles and personal affects
- Clear table tops of stuff
- Remove excess furniture
- Keep pictures on the walls to a minimum
The bonus, of course, of all this decluttering, is it will make packing and moving a whole lot easier when your house sells.
You want the potential buyer to be able to picture themselves living in your house, you want them to become emotionally invested in the property.
So if you have a huge collection of porcelain frogs on display, some questionable artwork or photos of the kids and their kindergarten finger paintings all around the house, then it might be a good idea to pack them away – just for a little while.
You will be giving the buyer a blank slate in which they can mentally “move in” and start decorating, placing their own furniture and hanging their own pictures.
Don’t get rid of all the pictures, however. Some well-placed “in-fashion” art pieces, particularly grouped pictures, can add a touch of warmth that makes a house home. You can purchase a couple of cheap but classy prints from a big box store. It shouldn’t cost a fortune – making your home more neutral is more about getting rid of stuff than adding it.
An old couch can be covered with a cheap slip cover and the floor covered with a rug.
Then, against all that beige and neutral, add a smattering of colour with an accent pillow or two. The look you’re going for to entice buyers is modern, clean and sophisticated.
And don’t forget to spruce up window treatments with inexpensive white or neutral blinds or curtains.
5. LET THERE BE LIGHT
A light, bright house is an emotionally appealing house that sells.
Real estate agents know this, which is why you often see house photos with all the lights on.
When it comes to open day, open all the blinds, curtains and doors as much as you can to let all the natural light in. Make sure the windows are clean so that the light can enter unfiltered.
Turn lights on and if necessary, change to bulbs to high-wattage bulbs to maximise light.
A well-placed skylight can be a small investment that improves the desirability and value of your property.
If you’ve got money to spend, one of the biggest return on investments is paint.
A coat of paint is a cheap way to freshen up a house, especially if you do it yourself.
Stick to the neutral theme and go for clean and sophisticated colours like “greige” and white trim.
If you can’t afford to paint, clean the walls well and consider painting wood trim white to modernise your home.
7. REPLACE FIXTURES AND FITTINGS
Replacing fixtures and fittings are a cheap way to transform a room, even if it’s the only change you make.
Replace old light fittings, fans and door fittings. We replaced a floral glass light fitting that was straight out of the 70s (not to mention it was cracked and broken) with something new and modern and for a tiny outlay, it made the whole room look new.
If you can’t renovate the bathroom and kitchen (two rooms that buyers look at first), just updating the tapware and the handles on the cabinets can improve the look and increase the perceived value.
8. COSMETIC UPGRADES
Renovating can be costly and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the cost investment back when you sell.
However, you can spruce up your home with cosmetic upgrades that increases the perceived value.
Here are some relatively inexpensive cosmetic upgrades to consider:
- Paint kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors
- Replace just the doors on the kitchen cabinets rather than doing a full renovation
- Paint or replace laminate benchtops.
- Install a new splashback
- Paint tiles
- Re-grout tiles
- Install a new show screen or curtain
- Replace the bathroom vanity cabinet
- Replace the toilet to a modern dual-flush
- Replace old blinds
- Lay new carpet
- Install a shade sail to create an outdoor entertainment space if you don’t have one. Place a table and a few large potted plants to demark the space.
- Add storage space or maximise what you have
If there is anything broken or in need of repair, this is also a good time to do it.
If you’ve come this far, if your house is clean, decluttered and spruced up, you’ve already increased the marketability and perceived value of your home.
Staging is like icing on the cake that sets a welcoming scene to entice buyers. You’re using emotion to show that your house isn’t just any house, it’s the home you want to come home to.
Here are some tips for irresistible staging:
- Add potted plants inside your home as well as out. Vases of flowers also make a room more appealing
- Add mirrors to cramped rooms to open them up
- Style your dining table so that it isn’t bare
- Remove old and tired bed linen and replace it with clean, crisp, gender-neutral fabrics that appeal to all buyers.
- Rearrange the furniture in your lounge room so that it is symmetrically arranged to create an inviting conversation area. Pull furniture off the walls to create the illusion of space
- Declutter your closets and open the doors. Storage space can make or break a sale so make your storage space look more spacious by taking stuff out and organising it well
- Turn your junk room into a guest room to define and sell the space
- Stage the outdoor area too
- Sell the lifestyle, not the house
Before open day, give your whole house the going over with a critical eye. Think in terms of buyer not seller. What does the buyer see? How would you feel if you were buying this house?
You don’t need to spend a fortune to get your home ready for resale. With a few smart strategies and a good clean and spruce up, you will turn your house into a home buyers will be fighting over to own. A good real estate agent will be an expert on improving the value and sale-ability of your house, so ask them exactly what you should consider changing and improving to increase the resale value of your house.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.