Home improvement projects (big or small), have a reputation for helping boost the value of your home and make it more attractive to a larger pool of potential home buyers. From DIY projects like changing out old hardware to updating carpeting or hardwood floors – there are several small and inexpensive improvements you can make prior to putting your home on the market. “We do many things to help our sellers get the most value for their homes and in some instances, without these small tweaks these homes would not sell,” shares Jill Biggs of Coldwell Banker Realty in New Jersey.

We tapped into the expertise of our Coldwell Banker affiliated agents from across the country, to see what they had to say about home improvement projects.

Photo courtesy of Melinda Davala Sarkis

Curb Appeal:

We all know that first impressions are key – this applies to your homes as well. If your lawn is disheveled, and the doors and fixtures look worn or damaged, it can really turn off potential buyers from seeing the rest of the property. Keeping a manicured lawn is a good step, but let’s take it a bit further.

Garage doors make up a pretty big chunk of your curb appeal, “[the garage] is known as the smile of your home, a nice update can easily and quickly make a home more attractive,” says Craig Buehler, listing agent with Coldwell Banker in Columbus. Whether it’s giving it a wash, a fresh coat of paint, or replacing it altogether, there are many options to make it “new.”

The front door is equally as important notes Melinda Davala Sarkis of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Boston. “A newly painted front door is paramount. Couple that with an updated house numbers and mailbox and you’re already starting off on the right foot,” she says.

Fresh walls and floors:

Photo courtesy of Krista Wolter | Before and After: updated carpet and paint

There’s no denying that a fresh coat of paint can instantly transform a room to give it a brighter, fresher look and best of all, it’s relatively inexpensive. Similarly, floors (whether hardwood or carpeted) can have a significant impact on the overall feel of the home. Often, it’s these smaller upgrades that give you the best bang for your buck. “I often find that doing large projects such as kitchen or bath [remodels] typically only bring sellers back a percentage of what they have spent. But painting the kitchen walls, putting in a new vinyl floor in the bathroom, or replacing carpeting in parts of the home will typically get you additional dollars back,” says Krista Wolter of Coldwell Banker Realty in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Depersonalize and Declutter:

This one is a zero-cost no-brainer. You want the potential buyers to focus on the amazing features of your home and not be fixated on the tchotchkes, family photos, or other miscellaneous items you may have around. And if you’re already thinking of panting, this makes it that much easier.

“When you go to repaint a home, naturally, you have to take things off of the walls, move furniture, etc.,” says Sarkis. “There’s no better time to depersonalize and declutter. I always tell sellers: you will have to pack up most of your belongings anyways, so why not start sooner than later?”

Update hardware:

“Changing cabinet hardware is very cheap and easy for DIY,” says Buehler, and I couldn’t agree more. Changing out old hardware in commonly used spaces like the kitchen, master or guest bathrooms makes a world of a difference and can only take a few hours of work to complete. New finishes can make even the most outdated cabinets look more polished and modernized. 


Before and After Staging: Photo courtesy of Jill Biggs

Though not a “home improvement” project in a traditional sense, staging your home very much plays into giving your home an overall, elevated look which you can also do on a budget. Focus on the main rooms: living, dining, kitchen, master bed and bath. Melinda Davala Sarkis suggests purchasing a new comforter, adding some neutral accents and even some extra pillows, “people like homes that feel carefree, fresh, like walking into a fancy hotel room,” she says. Additionally, consider rearranging your furniture; it can make the space feel new and create a much better flow throughout the house.