8 Low-Cost Ways To Increase Home Value

Most people aren't looking to put much money into a home they’re leaving. Here are some cheap, easy measures sellers can take to increase returns.

Every homeowner thinks their home is unique, so when it comes time to sell, there are things they fail to consider. ESTATENVY’s tip: think like a buyer. Ask yourself, what would you want in a house today? To answer this question and more, we sought out real estate pros for the best ways to maximize home value without a huge investment.


“Right off the bat, I tell sellers to remove all personal items from the home because buyers want to picture themselves there,” @properties broker Karla Katz Oberholtzer said. Things like family photos and religious icons are among the many things that can distract buyers during showings, making it harder for them to picture themselves in the space.

“Create wall space, counter space and floor space. A rule of thumb I tell sellers to use in every room is to remove one-third of its large furniture and 50 percent of knick-knacks,” Jeanette Madock of Weichert Realtors Nickel Group said. “Purging and neutralizing will increase the illusion of space, which makes buyers happy,” she added.

Brighten rooms with a new coat of paint

A can of paint goes a long way! Touch up any areas that need it and if sellers do opt to make a change, go for anything but antique white. “I always tell sellers to stick with neutral colors, but variety can be found in that. Lately, I’ve really liked Accessible Beige by Sherwin-Williams because it’s warm and versatile,” Madock said.

Oberholtzer echoed the same sentiment. “Grey walls are extremely popular right now because it enhances a home’s natural light. The red dining room trends of old are fast disappearing,” she noted.

Give kitchen cabinets a facelift

Updated kitchens and baths are extremely important to buyers. “Sellers can refinish cabinets and change out their closures or pulls at a relatively low cost, giving a kitchen the desired contemporary feel without a total renovation,” Oberholtzer said.

Update bathroom

Bathrooms are second only to the kitchen when it comes to importance in home value. “Updating faucets and other fixtures provide an easy but noticeable revamp. Anything is better than outdated gold and contractor’s brass,” Oberholtzer said.

Madock suggested that instead of opting for a full renovation, sellers can spruce up an old bathroom by reglazing the tub. “The project costs less than $450 and when paired with an updated vanity or mirror, it can make a bathroom look brand new,” she said. Oberholtzer recommended sellers check out Pinterest for cost-effective mirror replacement ideas, specifically opting for more current options like farmhouse mirrors.

Replace and add lighting

On top of making sure all fixtures have working light bulbs and have been de-spider webbed, sellers should take a critical look at their home’s lighting when seeking ways to add value. “Buyers are looking for modern, and updating light fixtures is an instant way to modernize a room without changing much else. Replacing old with new will make your home brighter and more energy-efficient, both extremely welcoming to buyers,” Oberholtzer said.

Additionally, Madock pointed out that improving lighting in areas of the home that are natural-light deficient like finished basements can make a huge difference. “Adding more can change the comfort level of a darker room, making a space like a basement become more of a selling point.”

Drop the heavy, old window treatments

“Natural light is always appealing,” Madock said. “Decorative treatments matter much less than increasing the brightness of a space. Anything that looks and feels old is going to work to the seller’s detriment,” she added. Oberholtzer said her mantra when it comes to window treatments is that less is best. She advises sellers to ditch the heavy drapes in favor of sheer shades or indoor shutters and to keep everything open during showings.

Add storage

Madock stressed the value in highlighting any and all storage space a home has. “If a home has limited closet space, add a storage unit in the closets that aren’t as big. Modernizing basement storage rooms with new shelving units will be wildly appealing to a seller seeking more space,” she added.

“Buyers are becoming more and more into open and informal spaces,” Oberholtzer said. Sellers need homes that look spacious and organized. Adding storage, whether in the form of a sub-$200 wire closet system or a standing wardrobe, makes miscellaneous rooms more versatile.

Spend some time on the exterior

“HGTV has really changed how much is expected of sellers,” Madock said. “Outdoors, landscaping is really important to nailing the first impression, but don’t underestimate the difference cleaning windows, painting the front door a new color, or replacing a door knocker can make,” she advised.

“When someone first pulls up, their initial takeaways will last and the seller should make sure they are positive. Simple measures like planting flowers and smaller bushes instantly make your homes attractive from the outside,” Oberholtzer pointed out. Even small things like mowing the grass, fixing cracked walkways and touching up dull paint have a positive effect on curb appeal.