Top 5 Inexpensive Renovations To Sell Your Home

When you’ve made that decision to sell your house, your house no longer becomes the home where you’ve raised your kids, or started out as a new young couple or was that first home which you were so proud of being able to buy.  Your house becomes a business!  You need to do everything that you can to make the house sell for as much as possible and as fast as possible.  Is it inconvenient to live in a house while you’re getting it ready to sell and have the property listed?  Heck YES!

But the question is, are you willing and able to live with some inconvenience for a couple of months to get top dollar for your home?

1. Paint

A couple of years ago, I was getting our house ready to sell.  We were painting EVERY square inch of the house and installing hardwood floors on the ENTIRE second floor. To my surprise, the house next door went up for sale BEFORE we were ready to list! Yikes!!!  The ideal situation is to list your house first before any other houses in the neighborhood go on the market.

So I did what any homeowner would do!!!  I went to their Open House on the weekend to check out my competition!!! When I went to the Open House, I was shocked.  There was too much furniture in every room making the rooms appear small.  They did alot of entertaining so they needed the additional seating for living in their home but not for selling.  There were numerous personal pictures & items that made you feel you were intruding into someone’s space.


Needless to say, I was quite relieved after I went through the house knowing that my house showed 1000 times better than my competition!!!

But my next door neighbors lost out on alot of money as do others as well when they don’t paint their house in neutral colors which is pleasing an attractive for potential buyers.  Potential buyers need to feel and visualize their furniture & accessories in YOUR home.  The best way to do that is by painting the walls neutral and adding color with accessories  like pillows, pictures, vases, candles etc.

 Read: Top Paint Colors to Sell Your Home

My Next Door Neighbor LOST $80,000 on the sale of their house because they did NOT paint & stage their home!!!

All home renovation projects are not created equal. When renovating your home, it pays to consider which projects will bring you the best return when it’s time to sell your house. What we think may appeal to a potential buyer, may in fact have been a “wasted” renovation. Of course, when renovating, your personal taste and preferences will play a role in the choices you make.  But be sure to choose trendy styles & finishes that are in keeping with your neighborhood in order to appeal to the majority of potential buyers. Keep an eye on the renovation projects and $$$ that consistently provide home owners with a positive return on their investment.  After all, for most of us, our house is our biggest investment that we have.

2. Lighting

Upgrade those builder lights!!!  


In one house I staged, the homeowners had done an AMAZING job renovating their builder grade home.  A new kitchen that was stunning, new hardwood floors throughout, painted a beautiful neutral throughout and the basement WOW!!  So my staging consult was fairly easy.  It was mainly tweaking the layout of their furniture so it flowed better for staging to sell vs. living to stay.  They wanted TOP dollar for their house.  I looked at their lights and they were BORING BASIC BUILDER lights! YIKES!!!

We talked about how important it was to have updated light fixtures to showcase their house in the best possible light (NO pun intended LOL) and that lighting is the icing on the cake.  For the relatively low cost of lighting, its worth to upgrade your lighting.  Builder lights or dated lights can date a house!

Updating your builder lights is a relatively inexpensive way to increase the value of your home by a significant amount. Upgrade your hallway “boob” lights and the builder lights in each bedroom.

When I came back a few days later to stage, I saw that they had not only replaced their builder lights in the hallway, they had replaced the bedroom lights to chandeliers.  The house received the highest amount of money for a house in their neighborhood at that time!

 3. Repairs

On one staging consult, I was going through the home taking the lead from the clients. The first room we started with was the living room of course. Their concern was the layout of the living room, and if the couches were too big for the room which they were.  We discussed several options and came up with a solution that they were happy with.  The next was a spare bedroom that had a mattress on the floor.  We discussed several options of making the room look great which they agreed to.  We went into their bathroom and they said they would declutter but there wasn’t much to be done there. I opened up the shower curtain and found MOLD all around the bathtub.

We went into the kitchen and their big question was what light should they use for their eat-in area since it was their only eating space.  I looked up and noticed the ceiling had had water damage. The focus of the staging consult moved from showing casing their house by rearranging furniture and bringing in accessories, to defining and repairing the necessary repairs needed for the home if they wanted to get a good price for their house.

One of the best things you can do for your house, is to go through your home, room by room, and make a list of repairs that need to be done and do them!!!

If you have repairs like mold in your bathroom, or a leaky ceiling or a repair that was poorly done, this will effect the sale of your home. Potential buyers will either move on to the next home, especially in a slower market, OR they will low ball an offer and probably one that you won’t be happy with.

4. Door Hardware

The old gold brass door knobs date a house!  Replacing these knobs gives your house a needed lift for a relatively low cost.

Gold hardware is definitely having a moment and is currently in style. BUT the dated old brass door knobs from the 50’s & 60’s definitely dates your house. Levers are very popular right now for appearance & functionality.

Cabinets and drawer pulls for kitchen & bathroom cabinets are also relatively inexpensive for the rate of return that you will receive on your dollar.

Alot of big box stores sell hardware in value packs so you can save on money.  Make sure that the style you pick is in keeping with the décor in your home and suits the price range of your neighborhood.

The old brass door knobs from the 50’s and 60’s dates a house so fast. Potential buyers will look to see what else is dated. If its not in your budget to do the whole house, you should do the main floor at the very least. 

5.  Lights switches & Wall Covers

Most people do some upgrades or small renovations to get their house ready to sell.  Some homeowners do amazing renovations to their house in order to get top dollar for their home.   Homeowners do extensive basement renovations, bathroom transformation, complete kitchen renovations and most home owners nowadays totally renew their home with freshly painted walls throughout their house.

But most people stop at one place where their renovation dollars can have a HUGE return on their investment for a small amount of money spent – the hallway lights. Most people keep their dated hallway lights or their cheap basic boring builder lights instead of upgrading to trendier look.  Keeping your original lighting when you’ve done renovations is like buying an expensive Yves Saint Laurent evening dress and wearing an old piece of jewellery that you’ve had for years to show it off.

Replacing relatively inexpensive items like door knobs, faucets, sinks, toilets and drawer pulls can also make a big impact.


Switch plates run around $2.00 at your local
hardware store so it’s an inexpensive and easy fix to update your switch plates and wall covers.

Designer Tip:  Watch how much money you spend.  If you spend too little money the renovations may not reap the amount of $$ that you were expecting.  Likewise, if you spend too much, you could see some of your hard earned money go down the drain.


What About a Kitchen & Bathroom Renovation?

We’ve all seen the renovations shows on HGTV where the designers & contractors go into a older home and demo the kitchen and/or bathroom to something more updated and contemporary in order to increate the property value of the home.  And NO doubt that it does this. However, these renovations are big budget jobs and not the expensive renovations that we are talking about here.  In a slower real estate market, you need to calculate the profit potential in your home to see if doing a major kitchen and/or bathroom renovation in your neighborhood will be profitable for you. In some situations, depending on the kitchen and/or bathroom, it may be worthwhile to do a renovation if it needs upgrading to sell your house. But in other situations, you may be better off not renovating your kitchen and/or bathroom to sell your house.

Read: Should I renovate my house before selling? What’s my profit potential?

Do you need help picking out a paint color to get your house ready for sell?

When people walk into your home, is their IMMEDIATE first impression WOW?!!  Or do they say it needs painting?
One of the most inexpensive & easiest ways to update your home when you’re getting it ready to sell is by painting it.  It looks fresh & updated.  

Painting is one of the best and most cost effective renovations that can give you the biggest return on your investment for the dollars spent. Choosing the RIGHT staging paint color for your home can have a HUGE impact on how your house appeals to potential buyers. This package will give you 2 paint colors that are trending in your area plus trim color, and 1 – 2 trending accent wall color that will suit your home’s elements, furniture and accessories.


Hi! I’m Debi Collinson. Designer. Color Consultant & Real Estate Investor. I grew up looking at blue prints, going on construction sites and helping my dad, an Engineer|General Contractor|Co-Owner of a Design|Build|Engineering firm pick out paint colors for his buildings. Since 2006, I have been styling & staging hundreds of homes to make them look like they belong in a magazine page whether the client is styling to stay or staging to sell. 

In my spare time, LOL, I buy “fixer uppers” to fix up & either sell for a healthy profit or to rent. I’m currently looking for my 10th “fixer upper.” Sign up to receive my e-mails of how to make your home stunning, how to sell your house for top dollar AND how to become financially independent one fixer upper at a time! Read my full story including my design credentials here.

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  1. I think these are really good things that you can do to your house before selling. I am sure that we can get the most profit from selling the house if we do these changes.

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