A Realtor Shares Her Advice On Home Improvement Tasks To Tackle Now

We all know that feeling when we first step into a model home; the clean & crisp décor, beautiful lighting, and relaxing music is designed to make you fall in love with the home immediately.  The design pros know exactly what to do so that prospective buyers can see themselves living in that exact home.
 But not all homes are updated with the latest HGTV trends, and certainly most of us have neither the spare time nor the thousands of dollars it takes to remodel big-ticket items such as a kitchen or bathroom, particularly when preparing your home to hit the market. If you are on a budget, here are five easy and cost-effective things any homeowner can do to spruce up a home for sale in order to snag top-dollar in this market.



home improvement


A little paint goes a long way! Interior and exterior paint are inexpensive ways to make your home look newer, brighter, and more attractive to buyers.  When selecting an interior color, try to stay neutral. This means leaning towards light greys, tans, and off-white colors. Avoid dark statement walls or accent walls. A neutral palate allows buyers to envision how their own personal items and taste would feel in the home. Meanwhile, the exterior trend of the moment is a bright white home with black trim – it’s clean, modern, and inviting.  Don’t forget to touch up any cabinets, baseboards, doors and trim. Buyers notice little scrapes or dings and it makes them question your upkeep on the larger items. 

realtor advice

Curb Appeal, Garage Door and Landscaping 

As a buyer first approaches a home, the garage door is often the first and biggest focal point.  An old, rickety garage door can make or break that all-important first impression, and a new door is a lower cost upgrade that can set the right tone. Landscaping is another item where a little investment goes a long way. Softscape such as new flowers, sod, mulch, plants and pea-pebbles are great ways to make your yard look fresh and inviting without spending much money.

light fixtures

Lighting Fixtures 

I have shown thousands of homes in my career and I am always surprised when a buyer cannot look past old, dated lighting to see the potential of a home. As a seller, something as simple as a $500 investment in updated lighting fixtures is all a property needs to appeal to a wider variety of buyers.  All of the big-box home improvement stores offer large, cost-effective selections for interior and exterior lighting that will make a property feel updated. Take a look at your bathroom, kitchen, over-stairs, and dining lighting. Are the fixtures something you would see in a store or model home today? If not, consider replacements. Make sure all light bulbs are in working order and lighting is soft in some places where natural light is available and bright in darker spaces. 

realtor advice

Declutter and Regular Maintenance 

When a buyer walks through your home, they need to be able to envision themselves in the home. Take down family photos, hide personal items and toiletries, empty out closets and drawers, get rid of the souvenirs from your spring break trip and kids’ artwork on the fridge. If possible, get a POD or storage unit and start the packing process early. Less is more! Go through your bathrooms and kitchens and caulk the seams, change the filters on your AC and snake your drains – all of these items will come up in your home inspection, so get ahead of them. 
You also need to stay on top of the electrical systems and the plumbing. It seriously sucks to forget to stay on top of your plumbing and then come home one day to find a leak — then, you’d need to call on the pros, like our friends at 1-800 Water Damage in College Station to help. It’s best to just keep on top of your maintenance as you go.

home improvement

Energy Efficiency 

If you have old appliances, consider hitting the appliance stores and upgrading to stainless steel, energy-efficient appliances. Invest in a new thermostat and have your HVAC tuned up so it’s in working order. Have a roof company come do roof maintenance and if you have the funds, consider installing new dual-pane windows. These upgrades will all pay dividends during the home inspection. 

In Conclusion:

Overall, to capture top dollar a seller needs to view their home as a product and make sure that it is showcased in its best light.  While your home may house many fond memories for your family, a buyer needs to be able to see themselves in it and your personal touches and taste-specific design choices can make that challenging. So set the stage by considering the inexpensive upgrade options. And before you leave your home for a buyer to tour make sure everything is in working order, all the lights are on, your home is cool in the summer or warm in the winter, and leave on some soft mood music when you go. Scented candles or plug-ins always help, too! Take a trip to Home Goods and grab new throw pillows, plants, flowers and cute accessories to make your home look like a model.  And always hire a Realtor with experience and great reviews so you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting yourself!


Will you be using any of Sara’s advice next time you plan on selling your home? Let us know in the comments below!

Sara Collins

About Sara

Sara Collins began her career in the Real Estate industry in 2005 working for the second largest private home builder in the nation. Her education includes graduating on the Deans’ List from California State Long Beach University with a Bachelors in Business Marketing and obtaining her Real Estate Broker’s license in 2010 in addition to completing the Master in Residential Marketing course through the National Association of Home Builders.  Sara transitioned into resale and has been an independent broker since 2010, managing the thriving company she owns, The Collins Group, Inc. She has worked with many different properties and clients including first time buyers, affordable housing, luxury high rise and custom beachfront property. Her skill set includes interior design, construction, negotiation and exceptional organization, communication, and customer service skills. With over 15 years of experience in real estate, her greatest accomplishment is being a mother to her two beautiful children and a wife to her husband of 14 years. 

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