What Improvements Are Worth Doing Before Selling?
Find out the easiest DIY projects to give you the most ROI in this post on how to get your house ready to sell in 30 days.
Do you want to maximize the return on your investment when updating your home to sell? Do you wish you could shorten the amount of time your home is on the market?
I’m sharing my best tips for selling your house fast. Because of these same tactics, our old house had 24 showings and 12 offers within 24 hours.
In this post, I share the easiest and cheapest way to update your house that will increase your ROI the most. Also, don’t forget to download the staging tips which will be the icing on the cake for potential buyers: FREE Ultimate Home Staging Checklist PDF printable.
Not just any updates will help your home sell. Being strategic about making upgrades where you get the greatest return on your investment is critical. I’ll also show you how to make your money go even farthest on these projects even if you are wondering how to sell a house fast in a slow market.
How to Sell Your House Fast, 2024
This post includes great tips for people who:
- Are selling a house and don’t want to make a huge investment for it to look amazing
- Just moved into a house and want to do some low-cost updates with a big impact
- Want their house to look great all the time.
- Need some encouragement to overcome home sellers’ anxiety in this week’s Renovate Your Faith devotional at the bottom of this post
How Can I Get My House Ready to Sell Fast?
I have to be honest… As I look at the pictures of our old house when we first moved in, I have to wonder what we were thinking.
We were newly married and I was in graduate school (seminary) full-time. We wanted out of our apartment but needed a low monthly mortgage. So that meant buying a fixer-upper! It was in rough shape, to say the least.
We spent a lot of time updating and had our daughter Morgan in that home. At a year old, my daughter contracted a rare autoimmune disease called Autoimmune Neutropenia, which meant we spent a lot of time at home and we also had lots of medical bills.
My daughter is in FULL remission and I wrote more about that experience HERE in my post Coping When Your Child Has a Long-Term Illness. The reason I bring this up is that our tight budget forced us to do all of our home projects ourselves.
Sometimes necessity breeds opportunity. DIY was my outlet for stress and there were lots of “opportunities” to unwind.
In that little house, I learned how to paint cabinets, gel-stain furniture, install wallpaper, lay flooring, and even drywall. As a result, when it came time to sell we were able to sell our house for so much more because of the hard work we did ourselves.
So let’s get started with my best tips for selling your house fast!
The post will show you every easy home upgrade that will give you the greatest return on your investment but don’t forget to download this list of home staging tips that are just as important: FREE Home Staging Ideas 2024
How to Get a House Ready to Sell Quickly
If you have considered giving any part of your house a face-lift, turn your attention to the kitchen. It will absolutely give you the most bang for your buck.
1. Start In The Kitchen! – Paint Those Cabinets
The first step is to assess your kitchen cabinets. The greatest way to make an impact in your kitchen is to paint cabinets if they are in need of a makeover – as ours clearly were. Unfortunately, in an attempt to save money, we bought really cheap paint which meant that I had to paint on so many more coats to get full coverage – 13 coats to be exact (that’s not a typo). So check out the posts below to find out the best-performing paints on a budget and my recent tutorial on painting cabinets like a pro:
2. Choose the Right Cabinet Color
“When in doubt, paint it white.” Allow potential buyers to envision themselves making your house their home so white cabinets are not only neutral but give them a proverbial blank slate. I know of someone who flipped a house and put it on the market a few months ago.
The house looks great but they opted for blue cabinets. They are absolutely beautiful but they don’t fit everyone’s tastes. That house is still on the market.
3. Backsplash and Countertops
Just updating the tile and backsplash dramatically enhances the look of a kitchen and will help to sell your house in 7 days or less. These updates give your kitchen a fresh new feel and brighten up the space. Our former backsplash and counters were bright yellow laminate. I have nothing against laminate but these were very dated and needed a change!
To update the counter, we used the Rustoleum Transformations kit in Java (click HERE). It took only two days and was kind of messy but the results were absolutely amazing! We only spent $300 on the countertops and they made a world of difference in the look of the kitchen.
They were also super durable and I loved the look. In fact, I prefer them to the granite countertops in our current home!
For the backsplash, we used beadboard – but not just any beadboard! That is actually beadboard wallpaper which is vinyl and paintable. It’s extremely durable and the vinyl is actually raised, giving the same contour as actual beadboard – you cannot tell a difference! See my full tutorial and video on how I installed the backsplash here: How to Apply Beadboard Wallpaper
I added the wallpaper and then installed some chunky trim at the bottom. Then I painted the trim and wallpaper in – you guessed it, white!
They were stunning and the backsplash cost less than $50! I’ll be doing a tutorial soon on how to install beadboard wallpaper but you can check out what I used HERE.
How To Get Your House Ready to Sell in 30 Days
Think about the route you take from the sink, stove, and frig, and does it make sense? We had to move around some things. For example, the oven was basically an antique so we pulled it out and put it in an oven and range next to where the old oven used to be. We did this early on but it’s something to keep in mind for future buyers.
Also, we built a surround around the refrigerator because it was just kind of hanging out by itself. If you have to take up any square footage, make sure it adds functionality or storage as the other side of the surround is actually a second pantry.
Even though we built an entire surround around our refrigerator, our kitchen looked bigger because of the white cabinets and backsplash.
5. Update Your Home’s Lighting
Update old fixtures. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes to an old house. Also, provide a little more light than you think you will need to open up the space and offer that light and airy look that potential buyers love. Don’t have much money for under counter lights?
Those are battery-powered puck lights that I put in to give our kitchen a little more light while we cooked. They even come with a remote control! For some easy, budget-friendly ideas on updating old fixtures, click my post here: Modern Light Fixture Makeovers on a Budget
Pro Tip: If you dislike your wall color, try changing your light bulb color first. You might be surprised at the difference changing a few light bulbs to daylight bulbs will make!
6. Wall Colors To Sell Your House Fast
Pick colors that are visually appealing to a wide audience. Blue and yellow with coffee cup border? Not so much. Pick wall colors that are used often on Pinterest and in magazines so you can see how they actually look in real-life rooms. You can’t go wrong with a light greige and you can see my Pinterest board for Greige wall colors HERE.
7. Give The House a Feminine Touch
Let’s face it. Women make more purchasing decisions in the home than the rest of the family members combined and that’s also the case with real estate. If Mama’s ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Therefore, appeal to the woman who will one day live in that home.
We had a blank space over where the phone jack used to be so we built out a new counter, I gel-stained it (read more here about gel-stain) and then I made the wall above it an Organization Station! (You can see mine here and other ideas on my Pinterest board)
What woman wouldn’t want a house with a place to stay organized (or at least seem organized)? Check out other feminine touches to add to your home in my printable home staging checklist.
8. Entry Way Updates to Make A Good First Impression
There is a psychology of marketing that comes into play here. Research says that when a consumer enters a store, they are more likely to go to the right first after walking through the front entrance. Also, they will not spend much time looking at anything close to the door. This area by the door is called the deposition zone and the same applies to real estate. You want that potential seller to have a good impression of your home the second they walk in. That means…
- no clutter by the front door
- no furniture to the immediate right or close to the front door
- make sure your front door has a fresh coat of paint.
- ensure the front door does not stick and is easy to open
First impressions matter. If the door is difficult to open, prospective buyers will wonder what else has not been cared for in the home.
9. Change the “Ugly” or Embrace It.
You can see there were some built-in shelves in the corner of our living room. I tried to decorate them but they were just an eyesore. So, we tore them out and it really frees up that corner of the room as a cute sitting area.
Now, notice the blocky boring fireplace. We did what we could by painting the mantel and taking out the brass fireplace cover. However, there was still an odd empty space between the actual fireplace at the bottom and the mantel.
So, we embraced the awkwardness by hanging a curvy metal art piece that countered the straight lines of the fireplace and created a new focal point in the void.
On our current fireplace, I did a faux German smear in my post How to Whitewash a Brick Fireplace. It amazed me how such an easy and inexpensive process could update our fireplace and brighten the whole room. See the before and after below:
10. Easy Curtain Updates On a Budget
Speaking of ugly, our windows were not very large, so we made the room look larger by hanging the curtains so they covered part of the wall outside the window. I explain how to do this in my post DIY Curtain Rods where I also show you how to save money by using electrical conduit to make curtain rods. I promise, you will not be able to tell the difference and you save money on something you can’t take with you anyway.
11. Flooring That Appeals To Potential Buyers
Get old carpet out. You can save money by buying vinyl plank and installing it yourself as we did. This is Home Depot’s Allure Flooring in Teak. It was really easy to put down and the flooring was very durable. We were so impressed with vinyl plank flooring, we just had it installed in our entire house after our flood.
12. Clean Your Carpets and Rugs
If you can’t remove carpet or if it’s in really good shape, make sure you get old stains out and have it shampooed. For pet stains, I did lots of experimenting and this is the best product out there. For all other stains or spots, I use Folex. There are times I will spray it on the spot on my rug and when I come back later, I can’t find the spot to wipe up. It’s that good! I also wrote a post on how to get smells out of furniture and many of the same tips apply to carpets (click here).
13. Repair Walls
Repair and paint over any cracks or picture holes in walls. When we bought our old home, it had some cracks in the ceiling of the hallway. My husband is a civil engineer and could tell the cracks were just from a poor drywall job but to someone else, they might have suspected a serious foundation problem.
When it comes to picking a paint color, click here for a review on the best paint color to sell a house: My Favorite Light Greige Paint Color
How to Sell a House Fast for Top Dollar – Bathroom Updates
14. Update Bathroom Fixtures
Update all light fixtures and sink fixtures. If you can’t afford to update sink fixtures or cabinet hardware, you can spray paint them. While there are some learning curves to some of these projects don’t think your new-found skills are “nontransferable”.
These aren’t just tips for selling your home fast but great ways to update your new home as well. What I learned in our old house’s bathroom, I’ve applied in our current Master Bath to give those mauve-brown walls a blue spa-like feel. Click here to see the before and after.
15. Update Bathroom Mirrors
To give our bathroom an added touch, we made our own mirror frame and then painted it white. We just attached it on top of the existing beveled mirror and it freshened up the whole room without the cost of a new mirror. We used this tutorial HERE from Shanty 2 Chic.
16. Caulking Cracks
Make sure all caulk in kitchens and bathrooms is clean and bright white. Fill any cracks in baseboards with some new caulk. You will be surprised what a difference it makes with very little cost and effort!
17. Easy Garage Updates
Don’t forget the garage. It’s not a huge priority but don’t let the state of your garage allow potential buyers to question the integrity of the entire house. Our garage had been drywalled and then wasn’t taped and floated incorrectly. So, and this is where learning new skills come in, I had to retape, float, and repaint the whole garage.
MONEY SAVING PAINT TIP: For the garage, I actually went to our local Restore where they had some unused cans of white paint in the Sherwin Williams brand. I mixed them all 3 in a 5-gallon bucket and got a sample container of black latex paint to add in to make the paint gray. That gray paint cost me $8 for three gallons of paint to paint our whole garage.
18. Curb Appeal Updates To Sell
This is our new house below and you can see the difference that some new flower beds and fresh paint make. In my post 8 Steps to Affordable Curb Appeal, I explain how to make the biggest impact on your home’s exterior on a small budget.
“If your hair is done properly and you’re wearing good shoes, you can get away with anything.” – Iris Apfel When it comes to houses, the porch is your shoes and the landscaping is your hair.
WHAT TO DO TO SELL YOUR HOUSE – ADD CURB APPEAL:
19. Quick Front Porch Updates
Here’s an example of how adding some extra touches to your porch can get the attention of potential buyers. I added a hydrangea wreath and some DIY topiary trees. It gives buyers a homey feel before they even enter the house. First impressions can never be made twice! You can see more of my ideas for curb appeal by clicking HERE.
20. Remove Any Signs of your pets
Ridding your home of any signs of pets is one of the most important tips for selling your house fast! I’m a dog lover myself and although you might have the cleanest puppy on earth, potential buyers don’t know that. Remove any signs that a pet lives in the home. I go into more detail in my printable home staging checklist but be sure to put away water bowls and food bowls.
Tips for Living In Your House While Selling
If you are trying to simplify your life while your home is on the market, here are some tips for living in your house while selling.
- Simplify Your Home – Pack up items you won’t be using to make your house look more streamlined and less cluttered. It also helps to minimize prep time before showings because there will be less to declutter at the last minute.
- Have a ‘Go Bag’ – Have a bag with kids’ snacks, bottled water and anything else you might need while your house is being shown. Have it close to the door so it’s handy.
- Laundry Basket – Instead of cleaning up clutter, just stick it in a laundry basket and take it with you. It will be much easier and less stressful than putting it where it goes at the last minute.
21. Update Your Door Hardware With Spray Paint
Be sure to update old door hardware. I saved over $200 by refinishing old door hardware in our house. I spray-painted the knobs and bought other hardware. The results make a huge impact on the look of our home and you can see the full process of how to spray paint door knobs here. Here is a post that tells you how to refinish your door hardware on a budget: How to Spray Paint Your Door Knobs the Easy Way.
How To Paint Any Metal or Fiberglass Door to Look Like Wood
Did you know you can use any faux stain on a metal or fiberglass door to make it look like its made out of real hardwood? To see how I painted my metal back door, click here: The Easy Way To Paint Any Door To Look Like Wood
22. Light Switches and Plate Covers
Make sure all light switches are in working order and update all plug and switch plate covers to white.
23. Don’t Forget Vents
Spray paint all vent covers the same color as the trim. Take them off and use gloss or semi-gloss spray paint as this will be a lot easier and will dry faster.
24. Depersonalize Your Home
Take down family photos or any personal items that have your initials. For example, I had some family tree wall art that I replaced with a free chalkboard printable that said “Home Sweet Home.”
You want the buyers to visualize their family living there, not yours. If some pictures or a child’s name on the wall is central to a wall art gallery, I’d save just leave those. Be sure to download my free home staging tips that go much deeper into how to stage your home to sell.
25. Appeal to the Senses
Most of what we have talked about appeals to the eye but don’t forget the other senses. Run an essential oil diffuser like this one I use to give a subtle spa-like scent. Some suggest playing soft music in the background. I remember I had some flameless candles like these “lit” on the fireplace to catch the eye of buyers.
26. Bring in a Cleaning Crew!
I know it seems counter-intuitive to pay for professionals to clean but trust me, it will be worth every penny to not have to do it yourself. They will also catch cleaning details you may miss.
27. Paint Your Exterior Trim To Update The Whole Look Of Your House
Instead of painting the whole exterior of your house, consider painting your trim, soffits, and fascias. I didn’t love the exterior of our house until I finally realized it was the trim color that I didn’t like. A trim color that compliments the color of your brick or siding and transforms the look of your home. See how my trim turned out here: The Easy Way to Paint Exterior Trim
28. Add a Low-Cost Aluminum Patio That Looks Like Wood
You can add 12.4% to the value of your home by adding a deck or patio. Did you know you can customize your own aluminum patio to look like wood? Just order the kit online and assemble it yourself. YOu save so much money by not having to pay for a contractor: Easy DIY Aluminum Patio Cover Kits
29. How to Sell a House With A Realtor – Don’t Go it Alone!
If you are wondering how to sell a house with a realtor, you’ve already made a good decision! Don’t waste time and money trying to sell your home yourself. Every home has a “realtor” when it comes time to sell.
The question is whether you want to be that realtor or whether you hire one. Would you hire an “ok” IT person to service your business’ computer system? No, you wouldn’t. So why would you want to pay an “ok” realtor (yourself) as opposed to a professional?
Time is money so consider the time it will take to sell your house if you tried doing it on your own. A realtor has the skills, resources, education and not to mention a professional photographer at your disposal when you hire them.
Our realtor is Brady Brittain with TowerPoint Realty. This is not a sponsored post but I couldn’t write it without saying what a pleasure it was working with Brady. He made what could have been an extremely stressful process a breeze! He scheduled 24 showings the first day it was on the market and as a result, it had 12 contracts, two of which were cash offers.
I will never forget how Jeremy and I were on the phone with Brady that evening. He had already gone through all the contracts, giving specifics on the intricacies of each, and made thought-out recommendations.
I don’t even want to think about trying to wade through 12 contracts on our own. Actually, if we had tried to sell our home ourselves, we probably wouldn’t have had 12 contracts in the first place. With all that said, hire a good realtor, and if you are in the Bryan/College Station area, consider giving Brady a call! You can visit their site HERE!
House Showing Tips for Sellers
First impressions are EVERYTHING, and it takes very little effort to apply these house showing tips for home sellers. It is an easy way to make a big impact on your home’s potential to sell. I have compiled a checklist of my best staging tips which you can download by clicking here: Home Staging Checklist PDF.
My Printable Home Staging Checklist includes:
Staging a Home for Quick Sell – Make the Most Impact with Little Effort
- Psychology of Staging a Home
Why You Don’t Need to Hire a Professional Home Staging Company
Selling your home can be stressful but know that you have carried out all the necessary steps and God will take care of the rest. Many have anxiety over the process of selling their home, fearing it will sit on the market while their family waits.
Renovated Thinking: How To Overcome Home Selling Anxiety
The best tip I learned during our home sale was that God will provide and is in control of the entire process. It might help to even visualize your house being sold in a timely manner. When I say to visualize, I don’t mean in a new-age, positive thinking sense but to just have faith that God will provide because He wants good things for His children.
Trust that He already has a plan in place, even if some waiting is involved. Pray in faith about your home selling, trusting that God already has the right offer in place and a new home picked out for you and your family. This will make the process much less stressful to know God is in control of every aspect of this transition period.
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
My mother-in-law Kathy Peters is a realtor in Lake Jackson, Texas and it wasn’t that long ago I had the conversation with her that I was scared someone else would get a contract on a house my heart was set on.
She simply said, “If that happens, God is closing a door and that house was never ‘meant to be’ in the first place. Then, God has a better home in His plans for you.” In retrospect, that home was way too expensive and I love our current home so much more! The same applies selling your home as well…
If you do have to wait for your home to sell, you can trust that He is already working for your good to orchestrate circumstances perfectly. He’s the same God that before Zacchaeus climbed the tree, he planted the seed for the tree to grow. So, list your house and wait in hopeful expectation for what God has already put the results in motion.
Whether there is a waiting period or not, He has a plan and wants you to prayerfully wait and watch how it unfolds. Remember that God has already worked out what you are worried about.
Every DIY/home decor post with spiritual encouragement has a section called Renovate Your Faith and you can see those posts by clicking here.
FAQ: How To Get Your House Ready to Sell in 30 Days
Should you hire a real estate agent or SEll By Owner?
One of the biggest factors in helping you get the best price for your house is hiring a real estate agent that is part of the National Association of Realtors. They have done market research to know the best asking price based on local market value and the listing prices of single-family homes in your area. They can set up open houses and invite interested sellers that have shown interest in other new listings and help you negotiate closing costs with the new owners and even schedule a pre-listing home inspection. Having a realtor on your side makes a huge difference during the selling process.
Should You Hire Someone To Get Your House Ready To Sell?
You know your house better than someone else and professional stagers charge a high price to do the same thing you can do yourself. Follow this post and download the getting house ready to sell checklist pdf and you will be in good shape to get the best selling price for your home by making a good first impression.
What Months Do Houses Sell Best?
The first thing you should consider after upgrading the condition of your home is to consider the best time to put your home on the market. Have your listing agent weigh in here but the best time to sell is late spring or early summer.
What is the slowest month to sell a house?
The slowest time to sell a home is between October and December. Things pick up after the New Year but the winter is usually the slowest time to sell a house.
What should you not do before selling your house?
One of the best things to keep in mind is what not to fix when selling a house. Not everything is going to help to increase your home value. The best advice I can give is to not skimp on real estate photos. Good real estate photography is a great way to get potential buyers in the door so don’t forget to add it to your home selling to-do list. The photos of our current home were dark and made the house look like it had small rooms – especially in the dining room.
Also, of course, it’s a good idea not to skimp on necessary repairs that are glaringly obvious like a leaky faucet. Make sure the exterior of your home is in good condition as your home’s curb appeal is what they will see first when they visit your home for the first time. Don’t try to conceal anything that will show up on a home inspection because it will only cause potential buyers to question what else is wrong with your home.
How to get a Messy House Ready To Sell
Not only does your house need a deep cleaning before you sell but you also need to declutter unwanted personal items and excess furniture. Consider giving anything you don’t need to charity but for anything that has an emotional attachment, consider putting it in a storage unit. You can make decisions about what to do those items later but for now putting them in a storage space declutters your home and keeps them out of your home’s storage areas – where potential buyers will look! You can also check out this post: Cleaning A House to Sell Checklist
Related Posts With Getting House Ready to Sell Checklist
Final Thoughts How To Get Your House Ready to Sell in 30 Days
Now you know the exact process we used to sell our house in 24 hours. So, take a second to download your printable home staging checklist above and start making these easy updates. But one word of warning…be ready for your house to sell sooner than you think!
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Quick Links to Information in this Post
- 1 What Improvements Are Worth Doing Before Selling?
- 2 How to Sell Your House Fast, 2024
- 5 How to Get a House Ready to Sell Quickly
- 9 CLICK HERE FOR MY FAVORITE WALL COLOR
- 13 How to Sell a House Fast for Top Dollar – Bathroom Updates
- 15 WHAT TO DO TO SELL YOUR HOUSE – ADD CURB APPEAL:
- 20 House Showing Tips for Sellers
- 21 My Printable Home Staging Checklist includes:
- 22 Best Home Staging Tips, 2024 – FREE PRINTABLE HOME STAGING CHECKLIST PDF (CLICK HERE)
- 23 Renovated Thinking: How To Overcome Home Selling Anxiety
- 24 FAQ: How To Get Your House Ready to Sell in 30 Days
- 25 Related Posts With Getting House Ready to Sell Checklist
- 26 Final Thoughts How To Get Your House Ready to Sell in 30 Days
- 30 Getting House Ready to Sell Checklist
Getting House Ready to Sell Checklist
Karin Peters is a DIY expert and the creator of Renovated Faith. She is a furniture painter, a home design consultant, and a tenacious problem solver determined to help you transform your house into a home. With 17 years of experience with DIY home improvement, she researches and analyses professional processes to adapt them to be easy and cost-effective for DIYers. She then tests every project and product before it appears on the site in a detailed, step-by-step format. After attending Texas A&M University, she received her Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages at Southwestern Baptist Theology Seminary. Her passions unite in Renovated Faith, which shows readers how to create a home that serves them so they can pursue their God-given purposes. About Renovated Faith | Editorial Policy | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn