Over the course of time, most homeowners will find ways to update their properties. It’s the natural course of home ownership. Whether you go into simply changing the décor, or take on major projects, changes will always be in store for long time owners. If you’re considering selling; for home buyers, first impressions matter.

This couldn’t be more true than for homeowners who are going to be putting their homes on the market. To get the maximum dollar for your property, you may need to look into making some changes.

Small Upgrades And Simple Decorating 

As I mentioned, every upgrade doesn’t have to be a major project. Small updates can have a big impact. Think about it, when a potential buyer walks into your home, what is their first impression? It doesn’t matter if your home is solidly built and structurally sound, the first impression is how does it look; style wise?

Having fresh décor is the easiest and most common home improvement you can make. Fresh paint on the walls in neutral colors can add life to dull room. If you currently have worn furniture that’s seen its better days but can’t afford to buy new, consider renting. You can rent a room full of furniture without the commitment to continue to do so when your home sells. Simply return the furnishings upon the sell of the home.

Be sure you keep the permanent areas as neutral as possible. You may love big, bold colors, but the potential buyer may not. A potential buyer is likely not going to want to have to change a purple wall back to white as soon as they move in. You can show your style with bold pillows and throws.

On the subject of furniture; keep the amount of furniture in your rooms to a minimum. You want to give a feeling of roominess; to make the space feel as large as possible. If you’ve taken the bedrooms in your home and turned them into craft rooms or offices, consider changing them back to bedrooms. Most people want as many bedrooms as possible and it may be difficult for them to imagine that craft room as a bedroom. It’s best to remove non-bedroom furniture and replace it with a twin bed. Just get a headboard and a twin size air mattress; you just want to give the impression of another bedroom, there’s no need to invest in actual new beds.


How do the floors in your home look? Is the carpet stained or threadbare. Flooring is the thing a potential buyer will notice immediately. It literally takes up every inch of your home. Have the carpet present as beautifully as possible. If you have hardwoods under that carpet, consider removing the carpet and sanding and re-staining it to bring the hardwoods back to life. Hardwood floors are all the rage. 

If your raggedy carpet is over concrete you have a couple of cheaper ways to update besides a whole house full of new expensive flooring. You can pull up the old carpet and pad and then stain and finish the concrete floors. Carpet removal is especially important if you have imbedded pet stains and odor. Stained concrete is a popular alternative to installed flooring. After staining and finishing the concrete floors, add a few large rugs to your rooms for warmth.

You can also consider peel and stick tile to go over the concrete. There are so many beautiful examples of these tiles that take no particular skill to lay. Many come with long warranties and once on the floor, look stunning. We used a peel and stick wood plank in an older home we owned. The results were amazing. People actually had no idea they weren’t actual hardwood floors. Plus it is so easy to clean these tiles and they are virtually indestructible. The best part- they are a fraction of the cost of porcelain tile.

Your Front Door

Your front door is a great indicator as to what the interior of your house looks like. Again, first impressions matter. It’s possible that the front door to your home is, at best, an afterthought. Think about how it looks to someone who’s never been to your house. Give it a good cleaning. If there is a window in the door, be sure it’s sparkling clean. If you have a wood door that has old peeling paint; paint it. You want the front door to be a huge welcome sign. Put a wreath on the door. Wreaths are not just for Christmas! Place a season appropriate wreath on your front door to give the sense of a homey welcome.

The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home

Kitchens sell houses. If yours is in need of attention, get after it. You probably don’t want to take on the expense of replacing kitchen cabinets if your home is going on the market. But, it’s imperative that your kitchen makes a good impression none-the-less. The best way to make this happen is to clean. clean, clean. Scrub those old cabinets until they are free of all dust and grime. Clean out the cabinets and get rid of all of the dishes that are on their last leg. Expect a potential buyer to open the cabinets to get an idea of their condition and layout. 

If your countertops are damaged and worn, consider wrapping them with a counter wrap. This is a fairly easy and expensive way to give your kitchen a fresh new look. There are other inexpensive new worktops available that look as beautiful as a more expensive quartz or granite slab. Do your research and find the best alternative for your kitchen.

The best impression your kitchen can make is for your counters to be clean and clutter free. Put that big mixer in a cabinet. As a matter of fact, besides the coffee maker, you should not use the kitchen counter for any kid of storage. Again, you’re looking to give the impression of space. Clear countertops show how much room there can be for food prep. A potential buyer will likely look closely for this. Be sure your floors are clean and don’t neglect the light fixtures. 


Besides the kitchen, bathrooms are big on a buyer’s list. If your faucets are stuck in the 80s, upgrade them. It’s not difficult to change out the faucets on you sinks. Shop discount stores for the best prices and upgrade to the new millennium. There are some incredibly fashionable new faucets out there that won’t break your bank.

Change out any old, outdated light fixtures as well. If you have the old Hollywood makeup light bar with a thousand round bulbs; change it. You can swap that old fixture with a more contemporary down light that will add style as well as functionality for not very much money.

Finally, and most importantly, clean, clean, clean! Be sure all of your grouted areas are mold-free. Get that bleach out if necessary and make it sparkle. You may have to get a lime and rust remover to get rid of any lime scale that’s accumulated on fixtures as well. People can sometimes overlook aged areas if they are sparkling clean.

Outdoor Areas

Curb appeal is the thing that gets your house noticed. You want to give the impression that your home is well-cared for. Clean up landscape beds and trim trees and hedges. Refresh the landscaping with fresh mulch. It’s amazing how clean and new an area can look with fresh mulch. Pull weeds throughout the yard and be sure the lawn is mowed. Don’t neglect using an edger to create crisp cut lines around sidewalks and streets. 

Depending on the season, fresh flowers always make a home look more beautiful. You can simply put flowers into planters and place them around the front of the home. Be sure to water and maintain them so they always look fresh and lovely. Think of it as dressing up your home for visitors. 

Fix any exterior problem areas. If you need to repair a gutter; repair it. Is there some wood trim that needs replacing? Replace it.

You Want a Full Price Offer

If any of the areas I’ve discussed go neglected, don’t expect a potential buyer to offer you full asking price for your home. They are going to be going through your home calculating all of the money they’ll have to spend to get the home up to their standards. Don’t give them any ammunition to shoot down your asking price. Look at your home as if it’s the first time you’re seeing it. Remember, for home buyers, first impressions matter.



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