9 Home Renovations Under $200 You Should Do Before Selling Your Home
It’s still a hot market for selling your home, but with high interest rates on mortgages making everything more expensive, buyers expect top quality when searching for a home.
Completely renovating your kitchen or hiring a professional stager can certainly help sell your house faster — and at a higher price — but that requires more money upfront before you actually sell your home.
If you’re hoping to attract more buyers with some simple updates but need to do it on a tight budget, consider one or more of these ideas under $200 before listing your home.
Cheap Home Renovations to Help Sell Your House
The renovations, repairs and updates below can help your home sell faster and at a higher rate. The key to the savings here is to do the work yourself, as professional labor can make the tasks much more expensive.
1. Paint the Interior
When was the last time you painted the interior of your home? If the color is dated or the walls are covered in nicked paint and scratches, you should consider freshening up the interior of your home with a fresh coat of paint.
Stick to neutral colors that allow potential buyers to envision themselves living in your home. Even if they plan to repaint the walls in a fun, quirky color that’s more their style, they’ll likely be more attracted to a fresh shade of white, gray, taupe or beige as a starting canvas.
Depending on the size of your home, you can likely afford all the materials you need, including the paint, for around $200. If you don’t have enough in your budget to paint the whole house, prioritize rooms that have more chipped paint or nail holes.
Alternatively, the living room, kitchen, primary bedroom and dining room are often the most important rooms for buyers, so focus on these.
2. Update the Landscaping
Curb appeal can make or break a home sale. Some potential buyers may not even enter your home if they pull up and are turned off by unmown grass or unsightly lawn furniture. At the very least, keep up with yard work even if you’ve already moved out.
Beyond regularly mowing your grass and pulling up weeds, you can freshen up your garden. Plant some flowers in the spring and summer, frame your door with symmetrical planters and add attractive path lighting leading up to your front door.
Pay attention to things like the edging of your garden bed and the state of your porch railings. Simple updates and repairs can make the property more attractive.
Here are 10 budget landscaping ideas to get you started.
3. Deep Clean the House
Paying for a professional cleaner is worth every penny, especially if you don’t have the time, energy or know-how to thoroughly clean your house after moving out.
We’re talking about more than just vacuuming the carpet and wiping down the countertops. You’ll need to scrub the baseboards, dust in hard-to-reach places and wipe down all the doors and walls.
If you can’t afford to put in new carpet, thoroughly carpet cleaning is your next-best option. If you have wooden or laminate floors, mop after every showing — buyers may tour your home with muddy feet.
Bleach your tubs and toilets, and pull out kitchen appliances to clean behind and underneath them. If you’re still living in the house, keep your bedrooms spotless. That means making your bed every morning.
4. Update the Kitchen
A complete kitchen remodel costs an average of $26,200, according to HomeAdvisor. While a wholly renovated kitchen will certainly attract buyers, it’s impractical for most people who are about to list their homes.
Instead, focus on more manageable and affordable kitchen updates. Upgrade an outdated appliance (this may go above your $200 budget, so consider this carefully), or try repainting dated cabinets. Just be warned: Painting cabinets yourself may only cost a couple hundred bucks, but it’s a lot of work.
You can also freshen up your kitchen by swapping out the hardware on cabinets, replacing sink fixtures for something nicer or even just leaving fresh flowers in a vase on the counter. Staging the counter with a bowl of fresh fruit, a clean hand towel and a bottle of wine can go a long way as well.
5. Make Simple Repairs
A prospective home buyer may not notice a damaged window frame when touring your home, but things like that are sure to come up during a home inspection. Get ahead of these problems by tackling known issues before listing.
Simple repairs might include replacing rotted deck boards, fixing (or replacing) a garbage disposal or ceiling fan that no longer works, repairing a leaky toilet or just swapping out any light bulbs that have burnt out.
If you have any windows that are painted shut, those won’t pass an inspection — it’s a safety hazard in the event of a fire — but you can break through the paint with a simple putty knife from Lowe’s or Amazon for $10.
6. Update the Lighting
Lighting fixtures can make or break a home sale. If your lighting fixtures are dated, head to the hardware store or IKEA to find some more modern-looking overhead lights.
You don’t need an electrician to do the work. Just make sure you shut off the power before replacing a lighting fixture.
Upgrading the whole home to LED light bulbs is also a great selling point. LED bulbs last significantly longer than traditional incandescents, so home buyers may appreciate that they won’t have to budget for that upgrade themselves.
7. Repair Grout and Replace Tiles
Dirty grout in a bathroom shower or kitchen backsplash can be immediately off-putting to a prospective home buyer. You can make your own grout cleaner at home with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap or buy a bottle online for about $20.
If the tile grout is crumbling or missing — either in wall or floor tile — you’ll need to replace it. Regrouting tiles will be a little more involved than cleaning existing grout, but it’s a doable DIY project under $100.
Similarly, if you have any chipped tiles, you’ll want to replace them before listing. If you previously installed the tile, you may have had the forethought to store leftover supplies in the attic or basement, so it’s just a matter of removing the chipped tile and installing a new one you already have on hand.
If you don’t have any left over, find an exact match — or as close of a match as possible — for your replacement tiles. If there’s no clear match, you may be better off skipping the replacement.
Tiles are just one thing you can update on a budget. If you want to make your bathroom more appealing, check out these budget bathroom makeover ideas — there’s a lot you can do under 50 bucks.
8. Pressure Wash the Exterior
If you own a pressure washer, you can give new life to your home’s siding, porch, deck, fence and driveway without spending a dime (outside your monthly water bill).
If you don’t own a pressure washer, ask a friend or neighbor to borrow theirs, or rent one for under $100 a day.
9. Stage Your Home
Hiring a professional home stager will cost you a lot more than $200, but you can do a lot of the work yourself.
The most important thing to keep in mind when staging your home is to depersonalize. You want prospective buyers to envision themselves in your home, which means taking down family photographs, removing kids’ artwork from the fridge and putting away any religious relics, political merch and artwork and memorabilia without mass appeal.
You’ll also want to declutter. Even if you’re still living in the house, keep your fridge and pantry organized to showcase how spacious it is, and take clothes you don’t wear often out of your closet and store them outside your home. Keep your desk tidy, your counters and tables clear and any kids’ playrooms clean at all times.
Too much furniture can also make rooms feel smaller. Make rooms look spacious by cutting down how much furniture you have in them. If possible, prioritize neutral furniture pieces over quirky accent pieces, though you can make rooms pop with throw pillows, blankets or even an accent wall with an on-trend color. Fresh plants, unassuming accent rugs and generic artwork can also make a space more inviting.
If you’re still living in the house, vacuum daily (especially if you have pets!) and keep up with washing dishes. Avoid cooking fragrant meals, as the smell can linger — and you never know when a real estate agent might request a showing. Don’t forget to make your home smell pleasant with diffusers and plug-in air fresheners.
Timothy Moore is a freelance writer who covers banking, loans, credit cards, taxes, insurance and travel on a budget for The Penny Hoarder. Find his work on sites like USA Today, Forbes, INSIDER, Chime and SoFi.