Increase your home value

Eliminate clutter inside the home. If you’re going to be showing the house to potential buyers, get the house organized and get rid of clutter or put it in storage. A nice, tidy house will seem larger and more elegant.

Wash walls and windows. It’s a lot cheaper to wash walls or siding than to repaint or replace siding, and many times a good cleaning will make your home’s finishes look good as new. Pressure-wash your home’s exterior, and wash interior walls. Clean your windows so that you can’t tell they’re there.

Add a fresh coat of interior paint. Sometimes you really need to repaint, but you can do it yourself relatively cheaply on interior walls. First, patch up any holes, no matter how small. To get a silky smooth finish, apply a coat of primer. After the primer dries, lightly sand it with a fine grit sandpaper (220 grit). Apply the first coat of latex paint, and then lightly sand that layer also. Wipe the walls down with a damp cloth after each sanding session. Then apply the final coat of latex paint.

Up the wattage of your light bulbs to make things even brighter. Just make sure you don’t exceed the maximum specification for lamps and other lights. (You could use compact florescent light bulbs in order to make the room brighter without getting new fixtures, plus they save electricity meaning they save you money.)

Upgrade the interior walls to level 5. Finish in order to give your rooms a “luxury” appearance. Simply use 60 grit sandpaper to lightly score the surface of the walls. Add two coats of joint treatment (USG Total or All Purpose works great), one after the other. On the second coat, sand lightly with 220 grit sandpaper. This will give you a level 5 finish over any textured wall.

Refinish kitchen cabinets. Outdated or worn cabinets can bring the whole kitchen down, but refinishing them is relatively cheap and easy to do. If you have a dark or small kitchen, make it look larger and brighter by using a lighter finish on the cabinets.

  • An inexpensive way to replace the kitchen cabinets is to find a store that makes them, have them made but have a handyman install them instead of a kitchen remodeler. This cuts down the cost 2 to 3 times.

Put up fresh curtains and blinds. Blinds and curtains are relatively inexpensive. Over time, the sun fades the colors from your blinds and curtains, so new ones will make a better impression than old ones.

Clean up the carpet. You can shampoo or steam clean your carpets, or you can use a dry cleaning system (available from various sources, such as Oreck), which requires no water or steamer rentals, and which dries instantly and kills virtually all mold and bacteria. Apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and then vacuum. If all else fails, get a professional to do the carpets for you. You’d be surprised how much better your carpet will look after a good cleaning.

Install modern light switches and outlets. Some of the new style switches can be easily installed using the wires already running to the old switches. Just be sure to turn off the power to the room or entire house before doing any work. The new outlets look nice, and give the impression that the electrical wiring in the house is newer than it really is. Dimmer switches are especially desirable. It can be illegal to replace the outlets with the three prong type while the wiring is for two prong (not grounded). It could lead to trouble if the buyer’s home inspectors catches on.