from the editorial


How to Affordably Fix Your House and Sell it for More Money

May 23,2017

It is important to estimate if there is more value in your home if you invest in fixing it up or if it is a better financial move to sell it in its current condition.  This is a very individual decision and not always easy to make on your own.  If you’re not handy with household projects, this might also be an intimidating process, but not all upgrades are costly.

Deciding Whether to Sell Your Home in its Current Condition or Fix it Up

  • Estimate your costs to buy a new home.
  • Add up the realtor and home selling costs (i.e. packing, moving, new loan financing).
  • Potential repairs? (We can advise how to do it cost-effectively)
  • Make your best effort to include everything it will cost in time and money to sell your home and buy a new one.
  • Estimate what you may get for your house and how much cash you will be left with to put down on a new home.
  • Make a decision about how much money you can spend on repairs.

What will Definitely Increase the Sale Price of a House:

  1. Paint and carpet
  2. Kitchen (remodel cost: $6,000-unlimited)
  3. Bathrooms (remodel runs between $2,000-6,000 per bathroom)
  4. Replacing the inside doors to more modern looking ones
  5. Landscaping can make or break a home. The front of the house needs good curb appeal (homes needs to be inviting from the outside in)

Note: Windows are not a good return on investment. Why? Most buyers overlook if the house has newer windows until they close escrow.

Tip 1: Repaint the Walls

One of the simplest, most cost effective improvements to make is painting! Paint the rooms (and possibly the outside of the house) in light, neutral colors. Light colors make rooms look more spacious! So, paint is a great way to visually increase your home’s square footage.

Tip 2: Front Yard: Curb Appeal Matters!

Landscaping matters: Despite the drought, the lawn should be mowed, weeds pulled, and shrubs trimmed.  Plant flowers that are native to our region and are drought- tolerant (e.g. Iris Douglasiana, Geranium).

The front of the house should be tidy and uncluttered. Curb appeal is not only the yard, but the entire front of the house. Before having buyers visit your home, wash the front windows and door, make sure there are not waps nests along the roof overhang, and make sure all porch furniture is clean. If needed, replace the cushions with new bright ones.

Tip 3: Is There a Popcorn Ceiling?

If you still have a popcorn ceiling, it is time to hire ceiling contractors and change it. NOTE: Some older ceilings could contain asbestos, which has been classified as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Before undertaking this project, have professionals test it and remove it, if needed.

Tip 4: Kitchen the Heart of the House

One of the main areas of a home is the kitchen. In fact, it is often called the heart of the home. It should be clean and look reasonably updated. If you have an old, outdated kitchen, there are numerous ways to upgrade it within any budget and time constraint.

Less than $1,000:

You can do a mini-remodel:

  • Add an undermount sink
  • Replace the faucet set
  • Add new cabinet and cupboard door handles
  • Replace old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy efficient ones
  • Replace stove burner liners and rims


  • Install granite or marble countertops


  • Paint the cabinets and cupboards; add new handles — or —
  • Hire a refacing company to refinish the cabinet boxes and add new doors, drawers, and handles

With the cost of new cabinets, the price difference might make it worth just replacing the everything.


  • Replace the cabinets


  • If your kitchen appliances don’t match, order new doors or face panels for them. Matching appliances speak volumes and help the kitchen appear more modern and attractive.
  • Replace your appliances. We suggest going stainless steel.


  • Replace the flooring. Depending on the size and type of flooring, a linear foot ranges from $3-$8. Keep in mind that the kitchen floor should match the rest of the house and we recommend combining no more than three different kinds of flooring.

Tip 5: Bathrooms

Upgrading/remodeling the bathroom(s) results in a good return on the investment. Similar to the kitchen, noticeable improvements can be made for any amount of investment. Simply replacing the light fixtures, faucet, cabinet and door handles, and towel bars can make a big difference. If the bathroom is very dated, replacing the floor, vanity, toilet, and tub/shower could be well wroth the time and money. Be sure any mold or mildew has been cleaned off. As with all rooms, paint the bathroom in a light, neutral color.

Another cost-effective change — like replacing an outdated vanity, old plumbing and lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor — will not only guarantee your bath an updated, modern look but will also give a nice return on your investment.

Tip 6: Replace Worn Carpets or Rugs

Take a look at your home’s soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Hire a carpet cleaning company to clean them or replace the carpets if they are old and worn.

The actual cost and payback for each project can vary, depending on both your home’s condition and overall real estate market values in your region of the country.



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