Easy, Cost-Effective Repairs To Prepare Your Home For The Market

Easy, Cost-Effective Repairs to Prepare Your Home for the Market

You don’t need to give your home a modern makeover worth tens of thousands of dollars to prepare it for listing. In fact, tackling just a few easy, inexpensive tasks can make your home much more presentable and functional.  Even minor home repairs can impact the way a home buyer perceives a property. You legally have to disclose any issues with your home, so it’s probably worth it to get ahead of anything that could cause any potential buyers concern.

But first, let’s talk upgrades versus repairs. Upgrades are optional improvements that add value to your home if you understand which features appeal to today’s buyers. The kitchen and bathrooms hold the most potential for value increase. Replacing carpet with hardwood flooring can also be a savvy choice, or you may want to spring for eco-friendly appliances. The bottom line is that upgrades require a bigger budget and an understanding of the real estate market.

Repairs, on the other hand, are bare minimum improvements that make your house presentable and ready to sell. Here are a handful of small tasks that will have buyers focusing on the desirable features of your home rather than any unnecessary eyesores.

Replace Outdated Fixtures

Fixtures can range anywhere from kitchen sinks to a rose garden outside. Of course, installing a new sink, countertops, or even a new oven can be an investment that takes your home to the next level, but you can improve the perceived value by just changing out inexpensive things like door knobs, sink faucets, outlet wall plates, and/or light fixtures.

Sometimes the bigger ticket items like new ovens, showers, etc. can be a waste of money because the buyer may be planning on remodeling the home anyways. The key here is to avoid any glaring buyer turnoffs, so don’t worry too much if you have an older dishwasher, just make sure all the little details build the buyer’s confidence in the quality of the home.

Fix Leaks, Dings, Dents, and Stains

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook small details like scuffs, stains, or dents because we’ve gotten used to them over time, but for potential buyers it may be the first thing they notice when walking through the house. Depending on what you’re trying to fix up, you might have to do some research. Here are a few resources we’ve found helpful:

Repairing Wood Scuffs/Scratches

Fixing Dents In Stainless Steel Appliances

Removing Carpet Stains

Get Rid of Odors

If you have odor issues then the first thing you should do is get an odor neutralizer. We’ve turned smoker’s dens into odor free zones with it. You can either borrow one from us or buy one on your own (be sure to read the instructions - it can be dangerous, surprisingly). Then you’ll want to focus your efforts on deep cleaning your carpet, which we include for our clients. If you want to do it yourself then check out Allison’s tips on how to do it!

Bottom line, if the house stinks -- the potential buyer might not even complete the tour.  

Repaint in Neutral but Appealing Colors

You want to make it as easy as possible for a potential buyer to envision their family in your house. If one of your rooms is painted pale yellow with blue teddy bears stenciled on the walls, another family might have a hard time envisioning that room as, say, the home office that they need and desire. Not everyone has the same taste, and you don’t want to distract buyers from seeing a future in your home or make them feel like their work is cut out for them.

Remove Outdated Wallpaper

The same goes for outdated wallpaper. Wallpaper is a matter of taste, and leaving it up will most likely make buyers picture the inevitable future hassle of taking it down themselves. Need some tips on how to best do that? Try Erin’s cost saving strategy for removing wallpaper yourself.

Care for the Yard

The yard is the first real life experience a potential buyer will have with your home, so you’ll want to make a little effort making that first impression as good as possible without breaking the bank. Do things like sprucing up outdoor containers, touching up the mulch, mowing regularly, or shaping unsightly or overgrown trees and shrubs. Additionally, you can plant some instant color if your grass is browning.


We love empowering our clients to take that extra step to make sure they get the desired value out of their home. Breaking the bank on a full-on remodel isn’t always the best investment. Sometimes the tiny issues can add up and make a house feel less valuable. Doing some easy, cost-effective repairs will help focus your buyers on the big picture and maintain (and possibly improve) the value of your home.

Vince Penick