10 simple tips to help transform an outdated home

If you’re planning on selling your home, you can spend a ton of money getting it ready to go on the market, but you don’t necessarily have to. Here are 10 easy ways you can update your home’s look without spending much cash.


1. Declutter (and clean!)

Most people have too much stuff. You’re moving anyway, so it’s never too early to start paring down kids’ toys, old garden equipment and supplies, and a mishmash of garden ornaments and random potted plants.

You can clear out overstuffed closets and your full-to-the-rafters garage immediately. Before the property goes on the market, you can scrub everything until it shines, and the house smells as clean as it looks.


2. Think mirrors

Baths and kitchens sell houses. So, you should plan to update these spaces. You can frame builder-grade bath mirrors or replace them with their more interesting hanging counterparts.

But why stop there? Mirrors add light and sparkle to living spaces and even bedrooms. Search online and at brick-and-mortar home accessory retailers to see a broad selection of styles and prices.


3. Amp up the house numbers

Not finding a property because the address is hiding behind overgrown shrubs and the original house numbers are two inches tall is everyone’s pet peeve. And it leaves a horrible first impression with buyers, too. So install new high-style, high-visibility house numbers. And make sure there’s plenty of light shining on that sharp new address as well.


4. Install new outlet covers and switch plates

Like lighting, outlet covers and switch plates can date a home badly. But changing them out is easy and economical. So, there’s no reason to stick with builder-grade ivory plastic, paint-caked covers or outdated metal plates.


5. Get rid of dated window and wall treatments

Elaborate draperies, dated blinds, faux finishes and “accent walls” rarely represent buyers’ notions of “move-in-ready” homes. Replacing fussy window coverings with the far simpler curtains and blinds favored today is a relatively easy task.

Painting over dated finishes might take a little more time, but it’s worth it to keep prospective buyers from taking one look inside and making a run for it.


6. Update the hardware

Hardware finishes ebb and flow in popularity, just like other design components. So, replacing out-of-favor hardware — from curtain roads to door hinges and knobs — is a worthwhile update. Nowhere is that more true than in kitchens and baths, where door and drawer pulls — or the lack of them — can scream so last century.

Replacing them is simple if you choose pulls that conform to the existing installation pattern, and hinges are hidden, so those don’t have to be replaced, too. But even if you aren’t handy and have to hire someone to tackle the job, it will be an economic update that pays significant style dividends.


7. Upgrade the lighting

From the porch light to the dining room chandelier and bathroom vanity strips, if you haven’t replaced fixtures recently, old fixtures are making your home look dated and uninspiring — especially if they aren’t well-coordinated.

Simply replacing builder-grade, flush-mounted ceiling lights with recessed LED cans and makeup-mirror type bathroom strip lights with sconces is a game-changer. And an eye-catching chandelier elevates even a modest dining area. So, such changes deliver a satisfying amount of bang for the buck.


8. Refresh the backsplash

Once the hardware is updated, kitchens benefit from reviving backsplashes that have seen better days. Maybe install beadboard or new tile in a hip pattern. Or, do something as simple as cleaning and painting the backsplash in an arresting color. Whatever the chosen material, a shiny new backsplash makes a great impression when buyers first walk into a home’s kitchen.


9. Replace all dated or mismatched appliances

They may work, but mismatched appliances do not sell houses. Replacing everything with new models in matching finishes is not inexpensive. But appliance and home improvement stores often offer package deals and free financing over generous timeframes. So, if you plan to go on the market relatively soon, you can consider this a cost of sale that gets paid off at closing.


10. Make a great first impression

There’s a reason “you only have one chance to make a good first impression” has achieved maxim status. Agents estimate buyers give a prospective home about 10 seconds before deciding if they love it or hate it.

That’s why curb appeal — the appearance of the front yard and entrance — and the first impression of the interior from the entry are crucial. Refreshing the front door, and replacing fading plantings, fixtures, and accessories (like doormats) is a low-cost, high-impact move.

Prospective buyers will appreciate these improvements. Even if you change your mind about selling, you’ll get to live in an updated house that cost little beyond elbow grease. And, that’s a win-win no matter what happens.

— Inman News