Regardless of local market conditions or the state of the economy, someone somewhere is selling their home or just sold their home. Here are a couple of easy improvements that will make your chances of selling quickly and getting the price you ask for more likely.

Sellers should focus on home improvement projects that either add value to the home or that attract buyers’ eyes. Don’t randomly select home improvements based upon what you like or what your friends like either. You won’t be living there after you move so your tastes really don’t matter to the new buyer.

Research houses in your community and compare features and appraisals to get a better idea what people in your area want. A swimming pool may be a popular upgrade in a Southern suburb filled with young couples and families, for instance. But in the North, a hot tub will have greater appeal. A community with older people, no matter where in the country, will probably value a car port or garage over a pool or spa.
Here are three home-improvement project categories that almost anyone can do without busting their budge.

1. Boost Your Curb Appeal

The old statement that “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression” is never more applicable than when you are selling your home. When potential buyers drive up to your home, if they don’t like what they see immediately, they may not even go into your home.
No need to spend thousands on fancy trees and dramatic water fountains. In fact, some of the most value-added outdoor home-improvement projects cost little to nothing, except for your time. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) suggests some of the following property improvements:

Get out your pruning shears: Keeping the lawn mowed is a given. Keeping plants and flowers watered is also a must. Pruning trees, shrubs and other greenery is more easily overlooked but doing this will make your home stand out.

Dig into some mulch: Mulching is another very important landscaping project that has a tremendous impact. It doesn’t matter what kind of mulch that use -just use something.

Show off your green thumb: Place plants in containers on the patio or around the home’s entrance will immediately spruce up the curb appeal and draw attention.

Clean up your home’s exterior: Spend a weekend cleaning your gutters and windows and other exterior items. Rent or purchase a power washer for a very affordable price to really make your home shine.

2. Add a Coat of Paint

A new coat of paint makes anything look better and brighter. To improve your home’s value and attract buyers, consider a fresh paint job, inside and out.
Its best to choose neutral colors, such as beige and off-white, and to avoid vibrant or gender-specific hues such as orange, purple or red. However, a little dash of color accents can make a home really stand out but too much can be overwhelming.

3. Update the Kitchen or Bathroom

Updates or renovations to these two rooms usually generate buyer interest and offer a high rate of return on investment when it comes time to sell. Again, this does not have to bread the bank.

Replace sink and bathtub fixtures: Switch out generic faucets and handles for newer, better-quality hardware.

Install a new sink: As long as you’re replacing faucets and such, why not replace the bathroom or kitchen sink as well?

Refinish the cabinets: Solid wood responds well to sanding and refinishing with stain and a polyurethane top coat, or even paint. Newer cabinets often require refacing with veneer instead. Veneer kits make the job fairly simple: Adhere the material to the cabinet box (the portion left after removing doors and drawers) . Add some new cabinet or drawer hardware to update the look.

Upgrade your countertops: Replace laminate with stone, tile or even a concrete countertop.

Add lighting and accessories: Add accent lights or task lights. Consider changing door knobs, light switch and outlet covers, or installing ceiling fans or a medicine cabinet.
Whether you do the work yourself or hire a pro, each project will increase the value of your property and help you sell your home faster.

For a free copy of the National Association of Realtors study of home improvements and value added, please email me at