10 Easy Tips Under $150 to Increase Your Property Value

Everyone has heard the old expression “first impressions are everything.” This is particularly true when it comes to increasing property value and buyer appeal of a home or piece of property.

While people with enough money can easily contract major home improvement remodeling to increase the real estate market value of their home, they can accomplish the same thing for a lot less money. DIY home improvement might be more difficult, but not impossible. And it represents the homeowner's best real estate value option.

Following are10 easy tips for under $150 each for how to increase the value of your home. None are rocket science, but combined they can give your home a high level of buyer appeal, increase the real estate value of your home, and help make it more sellable.

1. Clean Up and Groom the Yard or Landscape

When a potential buyer or real estate appraiser shows up at your property, the first thing to greet them is the house exterior and the area around the home. Cleaning up your property is one home improvement at very little cost. You definitely do not want to leave those old cars, lawnmowers, bicycles, pet toys, lumber, trash, or whatever else might be strewn around the yard. Now is the time to pack things away, or load things up and haul it to the dump.

Once you get rid of clutter and all debris, assess the landscape. Trim shrubs and hedges, trim trees of any dead or dying branches, mow and weed the lawn. If there are bald patches, lay turf or plant grass seed - whichever best suits your needs.

2. Power Wash the Exterior Walls and House Foundation

As a visitor approaches the house, the exterior surface of the structure will be scrutinized. Soiled siding or exterior paint and cobwebs might make the buyer feel that house maintenance is lacking. So spruce up the outside of your home with a thorough house power wash. In most cases, exterior house cleaning can make the outside of any home drastically brighter.

For smaller homes of 2,000 to 2,500 square feet, professional power washing services are available for under $150. For larger homes, you may want to consider renting a power washing unit for $50 to $75 per day and tackling the job as a DIY project. While you're at it, why not give the walkway and driveway a good going over, as well.

3. Make Entrances and Windows Visually Appealing

The next thing an appraiser or buyer will see is the entrance. Whether main front entry, or secondary entry, make sure all doors are clean and in good repair.

The last thing your want them to see is a torn screen, cracked window, badly weathered paint, or a broken door closure dangling loose. Spend the extra time detailing thresholds, which seem to catch a considerable amount of dirt and debris, and make them sparkle.

Faded or tattered curtains in windows seen from the outside are another highly visible eyesore. And once inside, those grungy dark green curtains can infect your home with the feel of a funeral parlor.

Light colored or sheer window covering can brighten up a room and let the sunshine in - making it feel much more inviting.

4. Eliminate Foul Odors

Once a buyer or appraiser steps over the threshold and into the home, the next thing that will stick out like a sore thumb is any discernable bad odor, especially pet urine odor.

For simple cooking odors, light scented candles in the house well before anyone arrives. Not only will the lit candles create a relaxing ambiance. But pungent food odors will be masked - avoiding any negative feelings. Or the risk of the buyer hurrying through the house inspection just escape odors they find offensive.

Get rid of the cat box, take out the garbage, and treat carpet or floors for any lingering pet urine smell. If your pet has had indoor accidents but you are not sure where, darken the room and use a black light to inspect the carpet.

Pet urine spots will glow fluorescent yellow under the light. Apply an enzyme pet urine cleaner, such as Odormute, directly to the stain; carefully follow directions for use. Odormute comes in a concentrated powder form, widely available from online veterinary suppliers.

For other extreme malodor sources such as decay or mold, use Odorcide, a concentrated product readily available from almost any professional carpet cleaning supply store.

5. Remove Clutter, Mop Floors, Clean Sinks, Tubs, Faucets, and Windows; Don't Forget to Dust

Once visitors are in your home, you will want it to look as clean and clutter free as it smells. Pick up trash and put away any clutter. Most kitchen counters and sometimes kitchen tables end up being a “catch all” for miscellaneous items; snacks, papers, toys, and various clutter. Get rid of it all and put it out of sight; not in just the kitchen, but in every room of the house.

Mop and shine hard floors; refinish hardwood floors, if necessary. Wash or dust baseboards. If you have washable paint, wash walls and ceilings as well. Clean all light fixtures of dust, bugs, and cooking residue. Make everything sparkle!

Clean and scour sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets; clean and polish plumbing fixtures - if there are any remaining or difficult stains, consider replacement.

Thoroughly clean windows and mirrors to a sparkle. A mild ammonia and warm water solution is often the best window cleaner; polishing with old newspapers works extremely well. Don't forget to clean window sills and frames.

Make sure all surfaces such as counters, table, stoves, mantles, shelves, refrigerator tops, door sills, etc. are wiped clean and dusted.

6. Clean Carpets

Research shows that attractive carpeting is a BIG plus when it comes to selling your home. Having a professional carpet cleaner steam clean carpets can drastically revitalize even the most hopelessly soiled and worn carpet. Most cleaners charge by the square foot, usually $.25 to $.45 per square foot. Since an average home may have 600 to 800 square feet or more of carpeting, steam cleaning the whole house may not be feasible for under $150.

However, many companies run living room/dining room/hall specials ranging from $99 to $149. Another option is to have one or two of the most soiled areas professionally cleaned, and supplementing with a rental machine or home unit for cleaning remaining carpets.

7. Paint or Wallpaper Using Different Colors and Textures

By carefully selecting certain areas of the home for color-coordinated paint and wallpaper, a dramatic effect can be achieved which seems to open up and brighten a whole room or area.

Using different wall or ceiling textures can enhance the over-all effect. Decorating schemes that utilize lighter calming interior paint colors such as pastels or earth tones usually work best to achieve an aesthetically pleasing and soothing atmosphere, sure to enhance property value of any home.

8. Remove Excess Furnishings; Open up the Home with Careful Furniture Placement

Over time many homes seem to accumulate furnishings to the point where it starts to get crammed and cluttered. Preparing a home for potential buyers or appraisers is a perfect time to pack up all that extra “stuff” and haul it into storage, or have a yard sale. Creating a clutter free home inside and out is extremely important for improving over all appeal and to make rooms seem as spacious as possible.

Consult home decorating magazines or even a professional home stager for tips on the concept of “less is more.” Careful placement or downsizing of dining room sets and other furniture with skillfully placed accent pieces and mirrors can make a room look considerably larger, brighter, and more inviting.

9. Create a View

Careful placement of an outdoor flower garden, shrubs, hedges, or garden pond or fountain can dramatically enhance the scenery from key indoor viewing points; such as living room picture windows, French doors, bay windows, or the patio.

Even the addition of a simple arbor with vegetation of choice can create an enchanting view from an indoor vantage point. Strategically placed living floral arrangements in hanging baskets utilizing shepherd's crooks can add additional accent to any front or back yard.

10. Make Necessary Minor Repairs

Home repair improvement of those annoying little things may not improve overall property value; however they will help decrease selling potential.

When a potential buyer or appraiser views the home, little things in bad repair stick out like a sore thumb. And might suggest that if these things have not been attended to, other “hidden” flaws that are more serious might also exist.

Now is the time to get a washer kit and repair that leaky faucet, and buy any other replacement hardware to “de-bug” the home. Replace all burned out light bulbs and repair any faulty switches or light fixtures. Beef up that loose handrail on the basement staircase. Replace the toilet tank kit so that the toilet flushes properly and water shuts off when tank is full.

Use 3-in-1 oil or graphite to lubricate that sticky kitchen drawer. Get thin-set mortar and repair that loose tile on the front step or in the shower. Get extra-strength liquid drain cleaner and make sure that the tub, shower, and all sinks are draining quickly and smoothly. Use toothpicks and wood glue to shim the screw holes where the hinge is loose on the porch screen door.

You get the idea - scrutinize the home like a potential buyer, and make a list of the little miscellaneous things that need repair, and then punch them out!

Buy using these ten easy tips - each one a valuable low cost home improvement idea - your home is sure to pass the discriminating gaze of any buyer or appraiser. And you will be amazed at how much your property value just increased!

Posted by: TrustedPros
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area. Read real customer reviews, browse photos and compare credentials.

Find your home service pro
comments powered by Disqus

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get quotes from top-rated contractors