Lay Some Laminate Flooring
Flooring may not be the most glamorous feature of a home, but it's an element prospective buyers notice immediately—and bad flooring could be a deal breaker. No new homeowner wants to contend with severely damaged floors or seriously stained carpet. If your floors need a fast refresh, try laminate. Designed to snap easily into place, this low-cost material can be installed by homeowners of all skills, which means you'll save yourself the expense of a professional installation.
Spread Fresh Mulch
When it comes to making a good first impression, nothing beats well-manicured landscaping. Even if you're not a master gardener, you can still boost your yard's appeal with one secret weapon: mulch. Pick up a few bags of mulch from the garden center, and heap it up in your planting beds and around small trees and shrubs. The fresh wood chips will add a touch of polish to the yard and may even let you water a little less often. Bonus tip: Your local municipality may offer mulch for free—many cities do. Call 311 to find out.
Refresh Your Kitchen Cabinets
They say that kitchens sell homes. That may be true, but don't worry—you can create a fetching kitchen without having to sink your hard-earned dollars into a full renovation. Simply redoing dated cabinets might be just enough of an improvement to catch a buyer. It doesn’t take much to give your cabinets a brand-new look. First, remove the hardware from the doors, and take the doors off their hinges. Next, clean them with TSP and sand everything down. When the surfaces are clean and dry, apply a fresh coat of oil-based paint or stain.
Deep-Clean Your Bathroom
You're smart enough to scour the bathroom before an open house, but what are you going to do about that stained grout that's bringing down the look of your freshly cleaned tile? Because it's porous, even clean grout can look grungy, and that's a major turnoff for buyers—but it's also an easy fix. Start out by trying baking soda, vinegar, and a toothbrush, but if the grime won't budge, escalate to a commercial grout whitener. These concoctions can clean, whiten, and seal grout, making a bath look decades younger—and cleaner.
Clear Out Closet Clutter
Every home buyer is looking for more closet space, right? Well, even if storage space isn't one of your house's strengths, you don't have to start knocking down walls to carve out more appealing closets. A much cheaper way to show your closets in their best light? Declutter. Cluttered closets—even large ones—look cramped and inconvenient. Weed through your closets and linen cabinets, and remove about half of the items. Box everything up and put it in storage until your house is sold. Or, better yet, use this opportunity to jettison some of it—packing and moving will be so much easier!
Clean Out Your Garage
Potential buyers will want to picture their car safely sheltered in your garage, alongside their landscaping tools and other items they plan on keeping there. Whether your home has a one-, two-, or three-car garage, visitors will probably fixate more on the functionality of the space than its total square footage. Here's another instance where disciplined decluttering pays off. If your garage has become a dumping ground, get rid of the junk and install budget shelving and pegboard to hold the necessities neatly. You—and everyone who attends the open houses—will be delighted by your orderly, spacious garage.
Rent a Pressure Washer
There's a squeaky-clean concrete walkway and a spotless stone patio hiding under those years of backyard dirt and grime. Rediscover them with the help of a pressure washer, which will set you back about $75 a day. A quick wash will refresh driveways, walkways, patios, and decks, saving you the cost and effort of replacing, resealing, or restaining. You’ll be amazed by the difference this powerful sprayer can make, and buyers will be blown away by your pristine hardscaping.
Related: Ready to Sell? 17 Things to Do First
Consider a New Paint Job
If your home could do with a paint pick-me-up, either indoors or out, pick up a brush and roller before you list. Be forewarned: Home sellers often confront color conundrums. Paint a room a shade too dark, and it can seem small and cramped. Paint a room a stark white, and it will feel cold and uninviting. Choose light, neutral colors with wide appeal, as bold hues can scare off buyers.
Related: 11 Problems You Can Solve With Paint
Swap Out Hardware
Sometimes small things can make a big difference. Take drawer pulls and knobs, for instance. Dated-looking hardware ages a room almost as much as outmoded cabinets. Fortunately, swapping out hardware is a much cheaper fix than refacing cabinets. Bring a few of your current knobs, pulls, or handles with you to the hardware store so you can make sure the replacements will fit the existing holes. Once you have new hardware that fills the bill, use a screwdriver to remove the old and install the new.
Related: 18 Tiny Kitchens We Love
You work hard for your money, so keep more of it in your pocket! Sign up for the Two Cents newsletter to receive money-saving advice delivered right to your inbox.