Impress potential buyers with our home-update tips for every budget: $100, $1,000, or $5,000. Mix and match our ideas by taking on several small projects or focusing on one or two larger ones.
Reinvent the Kitchen
$100: Install elegant cabinet knobs and drawer pulls for an instant makeover.
$5,000: If your appliances are outdated, you may want to invest in a new cooktop, range, and/or dishwasher. Look for styles with universal appeal (that means no avocado green!). If your cabinets are less-than-stylish, consider refacing them for a fresh new look.
Beautify the Bath
$100: Opt for a simple spruce-up by replacing accessories such as towel rings, toilet-paper holder, and trashcan. Top it off with luxurious soaps in a pretty dish, fluffy hand towels, and fresh flowers.
$1,000: Swap out minor features that pack a major punch, including the faucet, cabinet knobs and pulls, and switchplates. Depending on your needs, you can apply the rest of your budget to wallpaper, window treatments, and/or a new lighting fixture.
$5,000: Does your bath need an overhaul? Depending on your choices and DIY skills, you can add a new bathtub, toilet, vanity, and/or backsplash.
Rejuvenate the Bedroom
$100: Hang a mirror in a small bedroom to make it look larger. If you've considered purchasing a new bedspread, do so now.
$1,000: Refresh the bedrooms with a coat of paint in a soothing shade. If needed, enhance the closet with new doors or shelves. For privacy, add attractive window treatments, such as shades, blinds, or curtains.
Living Room Redo
$100: For an instant makeover, opt for a fresh coat of paint. "By repainting that way-too-bright red room in a more neutral, appealing color, you'll remove an eyesore that drives away buyers," says Julie Reynolds, spokesperson at Move, Inc.
$1,000: Take stock of the living room and decide what elements would make it shine. Consider options such as a new mantel, a ceiling fan, and wall-mounted shelves.
$100: Rejuvenate a wood deck by applying a stain and sealant. You can also paint faded trim and shutters for a quick refresher.
$1,000: Boost curb appeal with a new entry door, attractive outdoor light fixture, elegant address numbers, and a new doormat.
$5,000: If your home's exterior is extremely faded or peeling, consider having it painted.
Lawn and Garden
$100: "Beautifying your garden and landscaping puts a happy face on the outside of the home," says Reynolds. For an attractive lawn, apply a product to banish weeds. Also, be sure to trim the hedges and prune the trees. Add a pop of color by planting flowers or grouping pots of blooms on the porch.
$1,000: If your lawn is barren or unkempt, consider more extensive landscaping. You can lay sod, plant hedges and trees for privacy and shade, and arrange pavers to create an attractive path.
Laundry Room to Love
$100: Apply a fresh coat of paint, or brighten the laundry area with new light fixtures.
$1,000: Replace worn flooring with affordable, easy-to-clean tile or laminate.
$5,000: With this budget, you can turn a spare space into a selling point. Add affordable cabinetry and shelves, a generous sink, and a washer and dryer for a stylish and functional laundry room.
$100: "Elbow grease is the cheapest thing anyone can apply to make a home sell faster," says Reynolds. Where to start? Replace burned-out lightbulbs, patch any holes in the walls, fix jammed doors and drawers, re-caulk the tub and shower, and replace cracked or broken floor and wall tiles.
$1,000: If it's in your budget, tackle larger repairs. Replace any broken windows, repair out-of-commission appliances, fix leaky faucets, and replace damaged doors.
$5,000: If your roof leaks or your driveway is damaged, you may want to address it before you sell.
Focus on Flooring
$100: Add a splash of style with a pretty area rug. The best part? You can take it along to your next home.
$1,000: Replace a dated living room or bedroom floor with basic neutral-colored carpet. Along with imbuing a fresh look, this eliminates the issue of worn-in odors or pet hair.
$5,000: If other homes in your neighborhood have top-of-the-line floors, it might be time to splurge on hardwood or tile in key areas. But you need not break your budget: "Since you're selling the home, you don't have to buy the most expensive materials," advises Reynolds. Shop for discontinued styles, which can be greatly marked down.
Seek Out Services
$100: To eliminate clutter and make rooms look larger, place extra furniture and other items in storage temporarily. Or, have your existing carpet professionally cleaned for a like-new look.
$1,000: If you're too busy to keep the house in tip-top shape, hire a cleaning service once a month while the home is on the market. If your yard is an issue, consider hiring a lawn service to do regular mowing and edging. Or, consult a home-staging service that employs special techniques to prepare homes for selling.