Love Your Home – 12 Small Upgrades with a Big Payoff

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Guest Writer: Tabi Deas, licensed Realtor®

As a licensed Realtor® for almost 20 years, I have seen thousands of homes for sale – lived-in homes, vacant homes, old homes, new homes, renovated homes – I’ve seen it all, the good, bad and the ugly.

If you are looking for some small weekend DIY projects that will payoff big when it’s time to sell, look no further. Everyone knows by now that kitchen and bath remodels will give you the biggest bang for your buck, however many people would rather invest those thousands of dollars in their next home instead of a house they plan on selling.

My first piece of advice to anyone thinking of selling their home is to drive up to it like a visitor. Don’t park in the driveway. Park on the street or where your visitors park. Walk up to your house with an objective eye. What does the landscaping look like? Is there any rotten wood or cracks in the façade? Is there any visible mold or mildew? Say what you will about first impressions, but many buyers already form strong opinions before they even walk in the front door.

There are many small projects that go a long way in impressing a potential buyer to help them justify making a full price offer.

Add Sod or Grass Seed

Fill-in existing dead spots. Trim back overgrown landscaping. Add colorful plants wherever you can. Then, add fresh mulch.

Pressure Wash

Make sure to pressure wash your house, fence, deck, patio, porch and sidewalk. This is critically important. If your home’s exterior has dirty spots, including any mold or mildew anywhere – that will leave a negative impression with buyers. Negative impressions equal lower offers. Secondly, pressure washing may expose rotten wood or remove old paint. This is a good thing. Repair and repaint.

Front Door Refresh

Replace, restain or repaint it for “wow” factor, and don’t forget to upgrade your door handle and lock. Today’s buyers absolutely love home automation and “smart” gadgets.

Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Remove popcorn ceilings and replace them with a smooth finish can be a weekend project.


I cannot stress this enough – a fresh coat of paint can be transformative and works wonders! Paint the interior a light, neutral color, such as Sherwin Williams “Agreeable Gray”. Cool grays are in, beiges are out. For now. Paint the exterior a pleasing palette. If you don’t like your current exterior colors, most likely potential buyers probably won’t either. Pick an exterior color palette (exterior color, trim color and door color) from a paint or home improvement store that will fit well in the neighborhood and landscaping.


If you have white vinyl fencing, remove all dirt, mold or mildew. Wood fencing? Pressure wash, stain or paint. If you have a gate that is hanging on only one hinge – fix it!

Ceiling Fans & Light Fixtures

Replace outdated ceiling fans and lighting with more modern, LED, remote-controlled ceiling fans.

Kitchen Updates

Add a backsplash. Replace a laminate countertop with a granite countertop. Yes, granite is still king. Replace older appliances with stainless steel appliances. If you have room, replace that old top and bottom refrigerator with a side-by-side refrigerator. Reface or repaint cabinet doors and drawer fronts. You may not need to do all of these, but pick and choose what your kitchen needs.

Bathroom Updates

Refinish old tubs and showers. If things haven’t gotten that bad, then make sure to clean your grout and re-caulk. Replace old toilets or vanities. Consider adding a frameless shower door to replace that old shower curtain. Replace old faucets with new faucets for sinks, tubs and showers. Just say no to outdated crystal ball or mixed chrome and brass faucet handles. New faucets don’t have to be expensive, just new… and chrome. Add a large “spa-style” showerhead. Like the kitchen, there are many different types of upgrades. What does your bathroom need?

Organize. Organize.

Most Florida homes lack the storage spaces found in most northern homes (basements and attics) – therefore garages and closets tend to be a catch-all for stuff. Utilize shelving units and bins instead of piles of boxes.

Replace or Remove Carpet

Most buyers these days don’t want carpet, but may tolerate it in the bedrooms. If you have old, worn carpet that steam cleaning or stretching doesn’t fix, and you don’t have the budget to install new hard flooring, just replace the old carpet with new carpet.

Home Automation

Buyers love outlets with USB ports, “smart outlets”, video doorbells, WiFi thermostats, door locks, lighting and home entertainment options.

While you don’t have to do all of these upgrades, you can take your own inventory of what upgrades should be done and live with the convenience and pride of having done them until you decide to sell and cash in on all of these little moneymakers! Until then, keep on loving your home!

For more home selling or buying advice, contact me.

Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

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june, 2024

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