Small, manageable projects to make home more welcoming that won’t break the bank
Thinking about selling your well-lived-in home in a hot real estate market but don’t have the budget for a major renovation?
Demand for remodeling has soared during the pandemic as homeowners spent more time inside theirhouses. That has exacerbated delays and supply shortages, putting major renovations out of reach for some people.
But there are plenty of small fixes that can make your home feel refreshed – and increase its value for buyers who have typically already been online looking at dozens of homes, experts say.
“For under $1,000 you can do so many things,” says Lisa Resch, real estate agent with Compass whose own long-term projects include restoring her 1913 home in the Chevy Chase area of Washington D.C.
Nine projects under $1,000
Here are nine mini-projects under $1,000 experts recommend:
1. Paint the front door and put on new house numbers
Don’t have the money to paint your home’s entire exterior? Try the front door instead.
Another easy fix? Try affixing new house numbers. However, don’t use off-the-shelf stickers. Get something substantial, Resch advises.
“I always put on new house numbers, especially if they’re replacing the kind that were just off the rack from your local hardware store,” she says.
2. Spruce up landscaping
You’ve likely heard of “curb appeal,” the phrase real estate agents use to describe the visual aesthetics of a home’s outside yard and entryway.
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, basic lawn care typically costs $49 to $209 per project, according to HomeAdvisor.
3. Build a fire pit
Building a fire pit can make your yard its own retreat. And it’s less expensive than installing a fireplace inside.
What’s more, they can be easy to build yourself.
4. Paint one or more rooms
A recent survey from HomeAdvisor found it costs between $2 and $6 per square foot for an interior paint job, with most averaging about $3.50. Thumbtack, a similar service, found interior painting averages about $385 a room and wallpaper about $580.
5. Spruce up the bathroom
For a client in Maryland with a vintage tub in the bathroom, Resch bought a new vanity with storage at Home Depot, added new black matte hardware and added new light fixtures.
“It looks so pretty. And this had a nice vintage vibe to it,” she recalls. “Even with labor for installation, we weren’t even up to $600.”
If your bathroom tile has moldy or worn grout, you may want to have it cleaned and repaired. The average cost for tile grout cleaning and professional touch-up is $225 to $300. A high-end job can cost just less than $1,000, according to Thumbtack.
► Choose your color wisely
Try a “super clean, simple palette,” Resch says.
If you’re planning to sell, paint the interior top-to-bottom. Popular colors have shifted from a light beige to gray or greenish color, she says. Also consider white trim, which makes the color stand out.
“You just want it to look fresh and clean. People want to come in and picture their own stuff,” Resch says. “That’s why we always have people de-personalize. Take your crazy art off the wall.
6. Get your windows washed
Get both the interior and exterior windows washed, Resch says.
“It makes a massive difference and, depending on the size of the house, it’s anywhere from $400 to $800 because they (cleaners) do the inside and the outside and often they wash the screens,” Resch says. “It’s imperative.”
7. Add open shelving
Home improvement shows made open shelves popular.
The addition adds a bit of personality to your home. It also can speed a home sale.
Listings that mention open shelf designs sell six days faster than expected.
8. Replace the light fixtures
Simply changing light fixtures can modernize a house, Resch says.
“I always try to swap out the primary fixtures where I can,” Resch says. “Even outdoor lights can change the vibe of a place.”
9. Clean the carpets and the floors
Floor cleaning prices range from $250 to $400. Carpet cleaning costs about $94 per room, with two rooms costing about $120 and three about $146, according to Thumbtack.
Refinishing hardwood floors can cost between $3 and $7 per square foot, an average of $1500, with a wide range of prices depending on condition and square footage, according to Thumbtack.
If a full refinishing is out of your price range, a “light buff” may do the trick Resch says.