By Jennifer Lynn Walker

We all know it: the better your place looks, the easier it is to sell.

But many people don’t realize that upgrades don’t have to be major renovations. Here are some low-cost ideas that will give you a solid return on investment.

Love the Exterior for a Good First Impression

First impressions are important so give the outside of your house the most love. Choose exciting colors like grey/mauve, terracotta, or sage. Paint everything that needs it: wood trim, railings, the mailbox, light fixtures, etc. Be sure to have some black or white in there for contrast. If it can’t be painted, replace it.

Do some basic landscaping

Take out or trim everything that is overgrown. Be ruthless. Cedars are great when they are green and small but get rid of them if they are yellow and too tall.  Keep the look short, so you can see the entrance. Weed the grass and add more seed. Clean debris and weeds from the garden and add more dark earth and mulch. Make a nice clean line between the grass and garden. Consider investing in a couple of contrasting bushes and some bright annuals to light up the front.


Inside: Start with Floors

Floors make a big impact. If there is hardwood, refinish them. You can modernize 1970s parquetry by staining it chocolate. If the floors need to be replaced, bamboo and other sustainable flooring are trendy right now. If there is old linoleum, change it. If you can afford tile, do it.


A Little Paint Goes a Long Way in the Kitchen

There is no need to rip out old wooden kitchen cupboards. Instead, paint them a glossy cream and add stylish knobs.

If they are white melamine, you could either paint them with special paint or keep them as is. Revamping the surrounding area distracts the eye from the not so nice features. Add a trendy tiled backsplash, a new countertop, and knobs. If the melamine has a 1980s border, take it off for a cleaner look.

If there is cabinetry hanging from the ceiling, take it down to reuse somewhere else. Perhaps you can create a kitchen island.

Finally, an investment in crown molding adds so much value to any room if it’s done right. (No need to put it in the bathroom!) Paint it glossy to give it a vintage look.


Bathrooms are Easy

Your choice of tile and countertop make the bathroom come together. White tub, sink and toilet are always in and if they are in good condition they won’t need replacing. To update the cabinetry, paint it black, chocolate, white or cream. Good faucets can be a focal point in the kitchen or bathroom. You don’t have to go high end to have a polished modern look.


Pull it All Together with a Few Extra Touches

Keep paint colours simple and light. Painting one wall in a room dark grey or another trendy colour is fine but use it minimally.  Make sure the flow of colour from one room to the next is not alarming.

Clean windows are a must. Pot lights and dimmers add ambience. Trendy light fixtures can make a huge impact on a room if you use them strategically as a centerpiece. 

Staging your house for sale doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. A few, strategic, low cost upgrades can make a big difference.



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