How to Maximize your Selling Price for the least amount of investment

By mark-slade June 2, 2014

Four Low Cost Improvements To Increase a Homes Value


How Do I Increase The Value of My Home Inexpensively?

Low cost home improvements to increase value

Most homeowners are aware that renovations have the ability to potentially increase the selling price of their home. Many people have a limited budget, though, and they want focus on the most cost effective projects that will yield the greatest return on their investment.

Whether it makes the house sell faster, or for a higher price, they want advice that works. This is why real estate agents often get asked “how do I increase the value of my home inexpensively”?
Low cost improvements are are usually well worth the time and effort when your are selling real estate.

You may be selling a starter home or something more luxurious, but you can expect the renovations that improve sales to be fairly similar across the board. Whether you are selling a home in Maplewood, NJ or Salem, WA, you need to do what is necessary to draw buyers in and help them fall in love with your home. This means paying attention to the details and putting your best foot forward – neither of which, fortunately, requires spending a lot of money. Small renovation projects can do big things for selling your home.

Affordable Home Renovations with SMART ROI

Do you want to know what some of the most affordable home improvement are when selling a home? The improvements mentioned below will give you the biggest bang for your buck without breaking your wallet! There are many smart things you can do before putting your home for sale many of which do not cost a lot of money. Many but not all of these things just require your time and a little bit of sweat equity. If you are looking for low cost improvements to increase a homes value these will do the trick!

You need to pull in buyers from the first moment they see your home – both in pictures and in person. Your yard and landscape delivers the first impression, hopefully one of cleanliness, order and beauty. Luckily, you can do most basic landscaping work yourself, and for not a lot of money.


A few things that will really spruce up your landscape include:

Flowers and Plants – Installing flowers and other plants is easy to do, and adds color, texture and appeal to your landscape.
Mulching – Mulching is probably one of the cheapest ways to dramatically improve the look of your landscape. Covering your flower beds in mulch afterwards can give the finished look you want, and will do wonders for the health of your plants.

Boarders – If the boarders of your flower beds are old and worn out, consider replacing them with wood or rock options.
Sod – If your lawn has serious dead spots, hire a yard specialist to install sod to fill in the gaps.

Low Voltage Lighting – with the advent of taking pictures at dusk to complement the luxury feel of a home, outdoor landscaping lighting is inexpensive and can both hi-light your home in pictures and also with drive-by traffic.

You have several options when renovating your yard. You can make all the decisions and do all of the work yourself, or you can hire a landscape designer to help you with the design part. You can also hire a landscaping company to do everything for you. Which you choose will depend on your budget and your experience.


Paint is an inexpensive way to make an old house look new again, both inside and out. Obviously the bigger the project you take on, the more expensive it will be. But you do not have to do a full house painting unless it is necessary. Just using paint to add accents and improve the feel of your home can make it much more inviting to buyers.

The Front Door – Something about a rich, vibrant front door seems to draw people to your home. Choose a color that works with the rest of your design, and make your front door appealing with a new coat of paint.

Interior Rooms – If you have interior design skills, you already know the power of a well-painted room. Most people are lacking in this area, though, so it usually pays to hire an interior designer as a consultant in choosing your colors. Buy the colors he or she recommends, do the painting yourself, and see the difference.
Exterior – Painting the exterior of your home does not necessarily fall into the category of inexpensive renovations. However, if your home’s paint is peeling, cracking and in general disrepair, dishing out the money for a new coat may be worth the cost.

Door and Window Moldings/Trim – Nothing starts to “wear” on a buyer more then when they see chips and scuffs on door jambs, room entrance trim and window trim. Sometimes you can simply get away with touch ups, other times you should bite the bullet and repaint the whole trim. Since these areas usually use semi-gloss or glossy paint, they help to brighten the appearance of your home too.

My Trick – when you are painting an interior and only have a small section that needs to be re-painted–near a corner, floor or ceiling, or handrail, I suggest painting the area so it could be viewed as a slight shadow (straight edges are necessary).


Some things in your home are easy to replace, and can modernize the look and feel of your home.

Fixtures – Things like old light fixtures can really make a home look dated. Although they may still work, your old brass fixtures are small and inexpensive details that make the home less appealing. Replace old fixtures with more modern ones.

Counter tops – Faded yellow counter tops do not draw in home buyers. Unless they are looking for a fixer-upper, features like this are sure to knock the sale price of your home. Replace counter tops with modern versions. Keep in mind, though, that it does not necessarily pay to out-do your neighbors. If everyone in your area has granite features, then upgrading is a good idea. If not, though, it may just be a waste of money.

Appliances – Replacing your appliances can be expensive, but it is a choice that buyers are sure to notice. No one likes the idea of using someone’s old stove or dishwasher. Newer versions demonstrate your investment in the home, and may be the tipping point to entice buyers to make an offer. As an example, I recently listed a property with new cabinets, new granite countertops and backsplashes and new windows, but because my client chose brand new white appliances, every buyer quickly jumps to the wrong conclusion that the kitchen is much older than it is. I also had a client that had a different colored appliance for each type, creating the impression of subtle chaos. We changed everything to scratch and dent stainless appliances and sold for almost 4% over asking price.


Most realtors you talk to will recommend hiring a professional house cleaning service before you put your home on the market. De-cluttering a home is a very important exercise in order to get top dollar for your property. Clean homes sell, and a professional service is sure to make your home looks spotless. However, if you would rather do the work yourself, make sure you clean all areas of your home thoroughly, including:

Windows – Dirty windows make a house look uninviting. Clean inside and out, and experiment with removing the screens to achieve a more open look. You can always put them back on, but clear glass makes a home look more inviting.

Carpets – Shampoo your carpet before you start showing the house. Even if you think it looks clean right now, you can bet that a shampooing will pull up all kinds of dirt, and will help minimize odors you may not even be noticing.

Garage – If your garage is filled with boxes, consider renting a storage shed until your home sells. A clean, open garage demonstrates the space of your home to full effect. If it is filled up, buyers will have a more difficult time seeing the potential for their own things.

Clutter – Now is the time to remove all clutter from your home. Put things away, and eliminate any clutter in your yard. You want to present your home in its ideal state, and clutter can ruin that impression.


If you want to sell your home for the most money, and as quickly as possible, you should consult an experienced real estate agent in your area. All of these tips will prove useful to you in selling your home, but advice targeted to your specific property will be even more valuable. There are some sellers I have seen in the past who have made home improvements that have no return on investment. In many of these cases the so called “improvement” is actually decreasing the value of the home. If you are concerned with how you invest in your home you should always consult with a pro who can tell you what adds value and what doesn’t.

A good Realtor will know what you can do now, with the budget you have available, to make your home sell. When there is lots of competition make sure you also exercise the best home selling tips. This advice will become priceless and lead you down the right path to home sale success. Adding value to your home does not have to come at great costs as long as you know what you are doing!


Cheap home improvements you can make around the home via Better Homes and Gardens.
One hundred do it yourself upgrades around the home for less than 100 dollars by This Old House.
Use the above home improvement resources to get the most value out of your home as possible for when it comes time to sell.
Bill Gasset Blog
Mark Slade
Keller Williams
Good Homes

Maplewood is a picturesque town in Essex County, Maplewood is located on the East Branch of the Rahway River. Originally consisting of farms, mills and orchards, Maplewood is now a great mix of residential and commercial areas, culminating in the jewel of a downtown village and coming together to create a charming, tight-knit and diversified community. Maplewood has predominantly Colonial and Tudor style homes with sprawling porches and ample greenery, but you can also find some Victorians and a range of more modern style construction on its beautiful tree lined streets.
Maplewood is a diverse town with 6 elementary schools and prominent municipal building designed by famous architects, Guilbert and Betelle. In the center of town, famed landscape architects, the Olmstead Brothers, created the breathtaking Memorial Park; not to be overlooked is Ricalton Square, nestled between the train station and the downtown shopping; this area is frequently used for events including a Halloween Parade with hayrides and petting zoos, as well as featuring replica homes during the Winter Holiday Season. The town offers many activities to its residents from camps in the summer, arts and crafts classes, a public pool (with 4 pools ranging from a “baby” pool to toddler pool to large lap pool and a diving tank) and a farmers market when in season. There is even an annual musicalpalooza–Maplewoodstock—featuring a variety of bands and musical styles, showcasing local and national bands with booths for local businesses to set up.
The Village, also known as Maplewood Center, is a quaint, downtown shopping district with everything from restaurants with foods from all over the world, bakeries, dance studios, gyms, bookstores, a movie theater and bookstores. With its large variety of cuisines to choose from, Maplewood recently started a yearly town-wide Restaurant Week with over 30 eateries participating.
Easily accessible by its throughways and the New Jersey Transit, it’s no surprise Maplewood has been ranked several times as one of the most desirable places to live in America by a number of surveys.
Selling a Maplewood/South Orange/Millburn/Short Hills area home involves many steps and having an experienced Maplewood New Jersey Real Estate Agent and Realtor®, specializing in the Bedroom Communities of New York City in Essex/Union County— Millburn, Short Hills, Montclair, West Orange, South Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Springfield, Summit, Madison, Chatham, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Westfield–by your side will make the transaction run a lot smoother. I would love to be your Maplewood/South Orange New Jersey Area Real Estate Professional! I assist both buyers and sellers in the Bedroom Communities of New York City, mostly served by NJ Transit’s Mid-Town Direct Train Lines, offering commutes of 45minute or less to NY Penn Station, with either the purchase and or sale of residential real estate.
As an Accredited Buyer’s Agent (ABR), I have received special training to guide and educate you through the entire home buying process. From start to finish, I listen to your needs and desires in what you would like and take the information you give me to find you home. My GO-TO team can provide you the best in Real Estate advice with regard to attorney choices, Home Inspectors and Mortgage Loan Officers
As your Maplewood/South Orange/Millburn/Short Hills/Essex/Union County New Jersey listing agent I am well versed on as your local expert in all things in the Maplewood and South Orange area Real Estate Market. You can expect personalized service that includes a detailed consultation on how to best position your Mid-Town Direct home to be competitive in today’s market with training to provide my clients with an in-depth Advanced Comparative Market analysis, and advice on staging. As my office’s technology officer as well as both a Zillow Platinum Premier and Trulia Premier agent, I use the latest and most up-to-date marketing methods to get your home in front of as many buyers as possible. Being your New Jersey Real Estate Agent and Realtor ® not only involves just finding the home or selling the home, but being your guide, negotiator, advisor and advocate and making sure that your needs and goals are met. Being your New Jersey Essex/Union County area Realtor® (with a little bit of Morris County thrown in for good measure) is one of my truest passions, and “Helping You Find Your Dream Home” is my number one priority.

Mark Slade

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