Home improvements Minimum Investment, Maximum Payback

Conventional thinking has always said investing in your home is a great way to add value. However, in these uncertain economic times does it really make sense to make a large investment in your home? Significant improvements cost significant money so perhaps the question should be, how can you maximize your home's value while minimizing your home improvement costs. Here's some ideas on how you can get your asking price while keeping your home improvement costs under control.

Inexpensive improvements to maximize your selling price

Give the interior a face lift

  • Simply giving the interior of your home a fresh coat of paint (walls, ceiling, moldings) will likely cost less than $1500 and can give your home a fresh, modern appearance. Along with the painting declutter your home and get rid off all those family pictures and most of the knick-knacks. If you can afford it new carpet in the living room and bedrooms will also improve your home, but if that's not possible, either have them cleaned or clean them yourself. Many experts suggest the cost of painting will be recovered many times over in the selling price you receive.

Curb appeal is important

  • Making the exterior of your home attractive to buyers doesn't have to be expensive. Giving the trim a fresh coat of color, ensuring your front door looks good and doing some little things like making sure your exterior lights and mail box are in good repair won't cost a lot of money, but will ensure potential buyers aren't turned off by the outside appearance of your home.


  • You can spend thousands of dollars to upgrade your bathroom, but if you're selling, you may not need to spend all that money. A fresh coat of paint on the wall, a new toilet, sink and vanity along with some brand new towels can be done in the area of $1000, and that small investment will help you get your asking price.


  • Kitchens are the heart of a home and buyers are always impressed with a nice looking kitchen. However, here again you don't need to spend $20,000 or more to get a good looking kitchen. If your cabinet doors are really worn, you can replace the doors without installing totally new cabinets. However, often along with a new coat of paint, simply upgrading the cabinet hardware can give your kitchen a quick modernization. Counter tops made of granite or quartz are popular now, but relatively inexpensive stone look laminates are available, and provide a similar, solid appearance.
  • Having a professional install a new laminate or (more eco friendly) linoleum floor may be a worthwhile expenditure or you could install peel and stick vinyl tiles yourself for a few hundred dollars.

So, there you have it, a manageable list of inexpensive home improvements that should give you maximum payback when it's time to sell. Having them all done professionally shouldn't cost more than $20,000 and if you want to provide some sweat equity, you can reduce the cost dramatically. Either way, not a bad investment to help sell your home quickly at your asking price.

Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer with over 800 articles published on the web as well as in print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics and is a regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He can be contacted at [email protected].