Whether you're looking to put your home on the market this spring or sell further down the road, there are many home improvements you can do on your own to add value to your home. A well-informed homeowner will keep track of all remodels and updates over the years, and will also be aware of the projects that can provide the best return on investment.
Even if your plans to put your home on the market are derailed by the coronavirus pandemic, the added time you're spending at home means you can take on some updates as do-it-yourself projects.
The average return at resale for home improvement projects is 63.7% of a project's cost if the home is sold within a year, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2020 annual Cost vs. Value Report. Here are a few relatively easy do-it-yourself projects that you can check off your list for cheap and add value to your home:
-- Deep clean and declutter.
-- Paint the interior.
-- Spruce up your yard.
-- Add lighting.
-- Refresh your bathroom.
-- Overhaul your closet.
-- Refinish or paint your cabinets.
-- Replace your floors.
-- Update kitchen appliances.
-- Remove popcorn ceilings.
Deep Clean and Declutter
First impressions count when selling your home. Make the interior of your home shine from floor to ceiling by taking the time to spruce up your space. Pick up personal items and store them away. Wipe down counters, baseboards and all areas inside and outside of the house. Remove smudge marks on all windows, doors and mirrors. Deep cleaning and decluttering your home is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep your home looking its best while getting ready to sell. More importantly, it helps make life easier. Dan DiClerico, smart home strategist and home expert for HomeAdvisor, based in Brooklyn, New York, explains that decluttering and getting your home in order room by room will help decrease your stress level, especially if you're battling anxiety as you spend more time at home.
Paint the Interior
A fresh coat of paint can go a long way when it come to buyer impressions. Painting your home's interior is one of the most cost-effective improvements you can do, as newly painted rooms will add value by providing a clean and updated look. "It is more time-consuming if you really want to do the job right," DiClerico says. Make sure to properly clean and prep surfaces, tape edges and doorways and apply a couple coats to make the new paint look consistent. Stick to neutral colors when choosing your paint so it will appeal to a large number of people.
Spruce Up Your Yard
Any yardwork that improves the curb appeal of your home will benefit you in the long term, and you'll be more inclined to spend time in the space if you give it more love. Now is a great time to plant a vegetable garden or replace old, dead plants with new plants that will thrive, says Abeer Sweis, an architect and design partner for architecture firm SweisKloss in Santa Monica, California. If you're looking to make landscaping changes that appeal to more homebuyers, choose low-maintenance landscaping, such as beds of mulch or drought-tolerant plants.
Brighten up your home without breaking the bank by simply opening windows, cleaning skylights and removing outdated curtains that may be blocking natural light. Have old lighting fixtures hanging from your ceiling? Get rid of any eyesores by updating your lighting with an eye-catching chandelier or a modern ceiling fan.
Refresh Your Bathroom
Outdated and boring bathroom fixtures can really take away from the room's style and feel. Giving your bathroom a quick refresh is a great DIY project to prep for selling your home. Upgrade fixtures, such as knobs and pulls, and check for leaky faucets or poor drainage. "You just need a screwdriver to be able to replace (knobs or pulls) with a similar type of hardware," Sweis says.
Overhaul Your Closet
If your version of decluttering quickly turned into piling items inside your closet, you might want to consider a new closet organizer system. Brands like EasyClosets and ELFA allow you to custom design your new closet based on the measurements and what you want to store there. All the materials and instructions can be shipped directly to your home for a DIY project. "It's a project that will take you more than a day but helps you do some of those things you've wanted to do (in your house) but never touched," Sweis says.
Refinish or Paint Your Cabinets
If you're looking to employ more skill than painting interior walls requires, consider taking on the project of sanding and either staining or painting your kitchen cabinets. "This is a fantastic way to completely transform the look and feel of a kitchen, but it's very time-consuming," DiClerico says. The project is best done by removing your cabinets from the wall, then patiently sanding away the existing finish before going through the process of applying a new stain or paint.
Replace Your Floors
Homebuyers prefer hard flooring options over wall-to-wall carpeting. While the idea of removing carpeting and refinishing wood floors on your own can seem like a daunting task, this DIY project can be done on a budget with the proper tools. Be ready to take the time to remove the existing carpet or other floor material, as well as prepare the space and install new flooring. But new wood floors, or even high-quality vinyl or tile floors, can deliver a significant return on investment and help your home sell faster. "I might say think twice about (a project this size) in normal circumstances, but longer-term projects like this can be done while you're home now," DiClerico says.
Update Kitchen Appliances
The kitchen is the part of the home that gets the greatest return when updated. While this is a more expensive option, upgrading your kitchen appliances like the dishwasher, microwave and stove can increase the value of your home. Consider choosing stainless steel when updating your kitchen, as this style is popular among buyers.
Remove Popcorn Ceilings
Popcorn ceilings may not make or break a deal, but they tend to date and devalue a house, causing potential buyers to look the other way. You can remove your popcorn ceiling yourself with the proper equipment, but if you have an older home, check if it contains asbestos. If your popcorn ceiling does have asbestos, you'll want to wait until it's easier to be away from the house while a professional carefully removes it.
Mady Dahlstrom is the Senior Editor of Porch.com's advice section. Mady focuses on home remodeling, real estate, DIY, interior design and decorating tips and tricks. You can find her work in ForbesLife, The Huffington Post, InStyle, Money.com, and more.