When putting your house on the market, one of the biggest questions is how you can ensure that your home will be greeted warmly by buyers in your area. Often, it only takes a little bit of outlay to create big results.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ Remodeling Impact Report, it’s not always the expensive upgrades that get the attention of eager buyers. In fact, you can make a splash with a budget of as little as $500. Below are some of the best wallet-friendly exterior and interior upgrades. Take a look around your house and see which of these will give you the most bang for your buck.
Of course, curb appeal is an important element of marketing your home. Upgrading that first impression may make all the difference when it’s time for a buyer to see your place in person.
One of the most cost-effective upgrades you can make is an exterior door refresh or replacement. If you currently have a hollow door, upgrading to a heavier metal door is affordable and adds value to your home. If you already have a nice door but it’s looking the worse for wear, a fresh coat of paint and some updated hardware may be all you need to make your home’s entrance more interesting.
Want to go a little further? For under $500 you can upgrade the curb appeal of your home with a new mailbox, new street numbers, and new light fixtures alongside your freshly painted front door. Add a pot of petunias on the front steps, and your home will be ready to make a great impression when buyers come calling.
If you have deferred lawn care, getting your lawn in shape can take a little time but will go a long way to making your home more marketable. In addition, adding a tree or an attractive planting bed is among the best ways to upgrade the look of your home dramatically while holding down costs.
If the outside of your home is looking good, you may want to consider spending that $500 on the inside. Afraid it’s not enough? Remember, the key to making an impact with your small remodeling budget is cohesiveness. Don’t just make a change here or there. Make a number of small changes that all hang together and create the effect of an updated space.
If the lighting in your home looks old-fashioned, consider updating the fixtures. You may want to spend your $500 on one big statement piece, like a chandelier in the entry hall, or you may want to replace smaller ceiling fixtures throughout the home, including outdated vanity lights in the bathrooms.
One way to make a big impact on a small budget is by replacing things that don’t match or that have been changed out over the years in order to create a more unified look. Look around at your light switches and outlet covers. If they are old fashioned or have a mix-and-matched look, take the time to trade them out for a matching set throughout your home.
Look at interior doorknobs as well. Are they unmatched or do they feature a metal finish that looks outdated? That’s an easy, quick, and affordable repair. Take a look at your kitchen cabinet and drawer pulls. Again, these are easily replaced with an updated metal finish and style.
If you don’t mind doing it yourself, you can get a long way with a $500 budget when it comes to repainting your home. Use paint to neutralize outdated or overly dramatic color choices. Alternatively, you may want to repaint the entrance hall or kitchen in order to make a more powerful first impression.
Believe it or not, your $500 budget can help you create a smarter home. Add a smart thermostat, doorbell, and front door lock to make your home feel more up-to-date and appealing. A smart home makeover will also make it more convenient to host showings since you can let buyers and their agents in and out remotely when they come to see the home.
Kitchen or Bathroom Mini Makeover
Of course, you know that a great kitchen or bathroom is a huge selling point. How can you make that work with your $500 budget? In reality, it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference in the way your kitchen or bathroom looks.
For the Kitchen
When it comes to changing the look of your kitchen, think square footage. What elements fill the space visually? These could include:
- Refacing the kitchen cabinets by painting them and adding new hardware.
- Adding an attention-getting backsplash, especially in an otherwise neutral space.
- Replacing the kitchen faucet with an attractive, updated version.
- Repainting the room and adding a new light fixture in an eat-in kitchen nook.
- If you’re particularly handy (or have handy friends), you may be able to replace a countertop or flooring on your $500 budget.
For the Bathroom
When it comes to changing the look of your bathroom, determine which is the most attention-getting element. It may be ugly tile or an unattractive vanity. Some possible budget-friendly upgrades include:
- Adding a shower door in place of a shower curtain.
- Installing a new bathroom vanity.
- Repainting the room and replacing the light fixture and sink faucet.
If you’re particularly crafty, you may be able to paint over tile or make a big splash with a DIY upgrade. However, remember this is no time to experiment. If you’re not experienced with do-it-yourself design, it’s better to keep your goals a bit more modest.
It doesn’t take a full-house renovation to perk up your space before it goes on the market. Drive up to your home, walk through the front door, and tour it as if you were seeing it for the first time. Ask your real estate agent to do the same, then compare notes. You may be able to identify some easy, affordable changes that will pay dividends at the closing table.