Let’s be honest: That other guy, the one you kind of hate, has been completing DIY projects for years and improving the value of his home. When he’s ready to sell his house, he’ll be happy with the selling price.
But you, me, and most people are selling our homes with a timeline of months or even weeks. We don’t have time to spend more than a few weekends sprucing up our homes, and we don’t have the expertise of master carpenters, electricians, and plumbers.
That said, if you’re thinking of selling your home, you should make the time for these quick DIY projects, which can drastically improve the look and feel of your home in ways that can add four figures to your sale price.
7 Quick DIY Jobs to Increase the Sale Price of Your Home
1. Add Kitchen Backsplashes
A backsplash immediately improves a kitchen’s whole look compared to paint or wallpaper and adds the convenience of being easier to clean. Though the best (and most expensive) backsplashes are full tile jobs, you can buy backsplash materials with sticky backs and press them onto your wall. This job won’t take more than a day, and you’ll be surprised how many options exist for color, material, and pattern.
If you don’t have time or budget for a new tile backsplash, you can purchase 12-by-12-inch stickers. These are essentially fancy wallpaper just three-dimensional enough to look like standard square tile. They’re not as durable or nice as a larger project, but they’re visually appealing, and most people can mount a wall’s worth in an afternoon.
2. Paint the Interior
You’ve likely painted a room before, and you already know how much better it looks afterward. This treatment can make your whole home feel newer and more intact and generally increase its selling price. Bonus points for using light, bright colors on the main walls, which makes every room feel larger. You can set aside one day per room, which will help you keep on schedule.
If you don’t have time to completely repaint each room, add a few accent walls instead. Just paint one wall in a room or the drywall beneath the breakfast bar a complementary but contrasting color to the rest of the house. You can do this in one day and add decorative flair.
3. Replace the Light Fixtures
You probably haven’t thought about your light fixtures in years, but we promise prospective buyers will notice. They’ll take a good look, both at the fixtures themselves and the quality of light they cast into your home. You should replace anything broken or outdated, which only takes about 30 minutes per fixture. Also consider upgrading one or two not-so-bad fixtures that don’t offend but don’t impress, replacing them with something that has more of a "wow" factor.
Replacing light fixtures requires working with electricity. It’s not that hard, and you can find hundreds of tutorials on the internet, but be sure to follow safety precautions. If you’ve never worked with electricity before, get a handy friend to walk through it with you the first time.
If you don’t have time for that, replace the wall plates of your electrical outlets and light switches. You can do a whole house in the morning, and it will spruce up your rooms cheaply and quickly.
4. Replace the Shower Heads
Your old shower head probably has hard water stains and enough sediment to slow water flow. A new one only takes about 30 minutes to install, looks clean and bright and will probably improve the water pressure. If you’ve had your home long enough to have replaced one shower head but not the others, use this opportunity to make all the fixtures match.
If you don’t have time or aren’t comfortable with basic plumbing, install a new towel rack instead. You can install the rack, along with a matching toothbrush holder and a toilet paper holder, in under an hour.
5. Hang Some Mirrors
A handy person such as a contractor or lifelong DIY maven could expand their living space by knocking out an unnecessary wall. Anybody up for that probably won’t be reading this particular article. The rest of us can improve our aesthetics by putting mirrors in strategic locations.
Mirrors create an illusion of space and amplify light. It only takes about 10 minutes of effort per mirror. Even better, you don’t have to leave them behind when you move. They can make your new home feel bigger, too.
Hanging mirrors is a very easy but effective way to make your home more enticing to potential buyers.
6. Do Some Simple Landscaping
We’re not talking about major rearrangement of your lawn here. That’s a big and expensive task that can significantly improve your home’s value, but it also takes a long time. Instead, do as many of these quick, affordable tasks as you can:
- Mow the lawn.
- Edge your lawn carefully.
- Weed any flower beds.
- Put a new layer of bark dust or mulch down over any area without grass.
- Cut trees and bushes so they have straight, well-groomed lines.
- Add cheap solar stake lighting along your path.
- Fill cracks in your driveway with sealant.
- Kill any weeds growing in your sidewalk or where the sidewalk meets the street.
- Power wash every patch of concrete in your yard.
How long any of these tasks takes varies too much to give you a reasonable estimate, but a family working together can usually get most of it done in a weekend or two.
If you don’t have time for this, just focus on the biggest things. Go out to your street and look at your home. What’s the first thing you notice? Be sure to make that one thing beautiful.
Curb appeals matter. You don’t your home to turn off buyers before they even set foot in the door.
7. Power Wash the Exterior
An exterior paint job can boost your home’s value but can cost more than $1,000 and take a week. If that’s not in your financial or time budget, renting a power-washer from Home Depot and scrubbing down your exterior walls can accomplish many of the same goals.
Budget a day for this, including renting the equipment and learning to use it.
Warning: If you haven’t repainted your home’s exterior in five years or more, there’s a possibility the power-washer will flake off so much old paint you might as well redo the whole exterior. Test on a small corner before starting.
If you don’t have time to power wash, repaint your door frames, window frames, gutter, and trim. Use a bright, complementary color, and watch your facade shine.
If you don’t have time to do all seven of these DIY tasks, triage your tasks and identify the three or four you feel would have the most impact when selling your home.
Generally speaking, start with anything that looks shoddy, worn or outdated. After that, work from the outside in.
Somebody who approaches your house thinking it’s beautiful is more likely to forgive the 1970s wallpaper in the bathroom. Conversely, somebody who walks up a cracked sidewalk stepping over weeds will not give proper credit to your updated bathroom. You’ve probably already lost their interest based on their first impression.
Ideally, you’ll be able to sell a home that’s in pristine condition, but that’s not realistic. Make a few updates that need it the most, and you’ll get more offers for a higher price when you sell your home.