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How to Make an Old House Look New: 6 Inexpensive Tricks

There are plenty of ways to give your old home a new look. Not all of those updates have to break your bank. Making a few, small improvements can add value to your property and give you a greater return on your investment. Read on for some budget-friendly ways to spruce up your old home.
There are plenty of ways to give your old home a new look. Not all of those updates have to break your bank. Making a few, small improvements can add value to your property and give you a greater return on your investment. Read on for some budget-friendly ways to spruce up your old home.

There’s something special about an old home. Whether it’s the dramatic peaks of a Tudor roof or the regal pillars on a Colonial Revival design, old homes have craftsmanship, charm, and character that is hard to resist.

These same stunning homes can also pose challenges for homeowners preparing for sale. From dark corridors to chipped molding, the number of fixes on the to-do list — not to mention the possible costs — can be daunting.

Fortunately, there are several low-cost ways to make your old house look new again before you list it.

Dive in for a Deep Clean

Before you bust out paintbrushes or pull up carpets, give your house a deep clean. Even the tidiest housekeepers will miss certain spots. Wipe the cobwebs from the tops of your cupboards, remove the dust from floorboards, and wipe clean the water spots on all windows.

Spend a little extra time in frequently used places, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Don’t forget to scrub the marinara splatter from your stovetop.

Do you need to replace the carpeting? That depends. If it’s overly frayed and no amount of cleaning will remove the stains, it might be time. Do your research before making an investment.

You’ll be surprised by how new a home can look and feel after a thorough cleaning.

Use Paint Effectively

You likely fell in love with the crown molding in your dining room when you bought the house. If the charming wooden trim is starting to show wear, a fresh coat of paint is the best way to cover imperfections. Try painting the walls, ceiling and trim the same neutral color to create smooth lines and draw attention to the natural architecture.

By comparison, if the trim work and walls are in good condition, try painting the trim in a contrasting, neutral shade to the walls and ceiling. This will draw attention to the trim, making it a focal point. Use the same color on trim throughout the house to create a consistency that draws the architecture together.

Are you wanting to add some pops of color to your house? There are plenty of paint colors that appeal to today’s buyers.

Let There Be Light

While a dark corridor will set the mood for a haunted house, it’s doubtful it will make a positive impression on a prospective buyer. There are few ways to brighten up a home more than to add more lighting.

Replace old or damaged light fixtures in living areas, bathrooms and the kitchen, as they often serve as a focal point of the room. You might also consider replacing dated curtains. Select curtains that allow light in when desired and show off windows.

You can also create the illusion of more light by strategically placing table lamps and floor lamps throughout the house.

Update Dated or Broken Fixtures

You might have fond memories of the leaky faucet, but broken or outdated fixtures aren’t a selling point. In addition to updating your lighting, replace old outlet covers, light switches, and plates. These fixtures can show their age after years of use. Consider bulk buying these parts to create a cohesive look from room to room while also saving money for other projects.

Consider replacing old door handles, curtain rods, and other minor fixtures throughout the house. This is a simple and inexpensive way to update kitchen cupboards or bathroom drawers without doing a full renovation.

Draw Attention to Unique Features

Often the most charming parts of an old home are the traditional features that set it apart from others. For example, paint the front door a different color or use a glossy paint to make it stand out. Try a bright color for the exterior paint and a white or neutral for inside. You can effectively draw attention to windows with curtains and draping.

If your home has a fireplace, clean it thoroughly and stage it with fresh wood. Draw attention to the mantel by power-washing the brick or painting it a complimentary neutral color. Add a fresh coat of stain or varnish to a wooden mantle and keep it clear of clutter.

Add Curb Appeal with Landscaping

A little curb appeal can go a long way to attract prospective buyers. There are many ways to use landscaping to your advantage. Keep your grass cut short and properly edged to give order and symmetry to your home. Plant a few flowers and water them regularly to add a pop of color.

If you have privacy trees on your property, make sure they are trimmed regularly. These statuesque trees can draw a premium. A large tree in a front yard can increase a home’s sale price by as much as $7,130. Use that to your advantage by drawing attention to it.

Are you curious about what home buyers are looking for in old homes in your neighborhood? Consult with one of our Clever Partner Agents. These top-rated real estate agents from major brands — like Century 21 or Keller Williams — are experts in their local markets.

Partner Agents can provide specific tips about what buyers are looking for in your area. They offer the same full service as other agents, only they work for a flat fee of $3,000, or 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000. This means the same quality service as other agents, but more money in your pocket.

You only get the discount if you connect with the agent through Clever. Contact Clever to learn more and get connected with a top, local Partner Agent who can help you maximize the return on your old home.



Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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