Small home improvements that pay off when selling

October 2, 2020 | Homeowners

If you’re listing your home soon, you might be thinking about doing some small home improvements that pay off when selling.

It’s true that even just a little bit of elbow grease and TLC can make all the difference when selling your home. Some improvements can mean the difference between your house selling in multiple offers or sitting on the market, especially as we approach the quieter, cooler months.

When our team visits your home to do a home evaluation, we always keep in mind small improvements that will maximize value but don’t necessarily take a lot of time or money. Now if your home needs a few upgrades, here are some of the easiest and most common small home improvements that pay off when selling.

Kitchen and bathroom counters

Average cost: $55-$250/square foot of counter (depending on size, installation & delivery costs)

When it comes to selling your home, the kitchen and bathrooms are going to be the most valuable rooms for buyers. One of the first things buyers will notice are the counters, especially if they’re new!

Counters are a relatively easy thing to update. While this may be one of the most expensive improvements on our list, you will likely see a ~100% return on investment with counters as it is just one less thing buyers will have to upgrade upon moving in. This is especially important if your current counters have seen better days.

We recommend a neutral quartz as a great middle ground between granite (more expensive) and laminate (less expensive). It looks great and buyers will definitely take notice! If you want to save some money, a high-quality vinyl or laminate would be a great alternative.

If you’re handy, you may be able to save on installation costs by having the slabs cut accordingly and installing yourself. If you require installation, our team can help recommend trusted contractors.

Small home improvements that pay off when selling Small home improvements that pay off when selling


Average cost: $3-$20/square foot

Another improvement for the kitchen! Backsplash can be an effective, gorgeous way to up the value of your kitchen, and in turn, your home!

The best part – this is something that you could do yourself if you’re careful and do your research. It’s also a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade your space.

We recommend a neutral back splash for the kitchen. Ideally, something that is going to compliment your counters and cabinets. A couple of trendy, affordable styles buyers love are ceramic subway tile or glass tile options easily available at most home improvement stores.

Remember, back splash is not limited to kitchens. In some cases, it can look great & add value in a bathroom or powder bathroom, too!

Small home improvements that pay off when selling

Fresh Paint

Average cost: $20-$40/gallon of paint covering ~400 square feet

Easy, inexpensive, and effective. Paint is one of the number one suggestions we bring forward to clients looking to sell and increase value on the cheap.

Our top tip: go neutral. Our stager will typically recommend a grey tone. One of our favourite recommendations is a colour called “Repose Grey” by Sherwin Williams that is universally flattering in almost any space.

While you might love your bright accent wall, buyers might not. You have to remember who you are selling your home to when it’s on the market.

While you’re painting, consider touching up doors, trim, and baseboards with the appropriate paint, usually a semi-gloss as it is more resistant to scuffs and smudges.

Pro tip: If your basement is unfinished, you can actually paint the floors! Painting basement floors is cheap, relatively easy to do yourself, and makes a HUGE difference for an unfinished space.

Small home improvements that pay off when selling Small home improvements that pay off when selling

Caulking, grouting, glazing

Average cost: $15-$100 (varying products)

We are all guilty of this. Everyone has grout, caulking, and a tub in their home that suffers from the dingy after-effects of regular traffic and use.

Rather than spending hours on your hands and knees scrubbing dirt out of these tough places, consider refreshing these areas easily yourself.

Set aside a day where you won’t be using the space and make sure it’s cleaned and well ventilated. If you’re just caulking and grouting, you’ll want a full day to dry and perhaps some gloves and clean cloths for cleanup. If you’re re-glazing a tub, follow the instructions as indicated on the package.

These small touches can make almost any bathroom seem brand new and in turn will add value to your home!

Small home improvements that pay off when selling

Clean up your curb appeal

Average cost: Varies

Curb appeal – it’s the very first thing buyers will notice when pulling up to your home. If this applies to you, be honest with yourself – how does your curb appeal stack up?

You don’t need to go hire a professional landscaper, but there are several small things you can do over the weekend that will help improve the way your home presents to potential buyers.

First, start with basic yard maintenance. Pull weeds, cut your grass, and clear up any junk that may be hanging around your property. Consider items like old planters with nothing in them, fallen branches, tires, tools, etc.

If weather and time permits, consider re-sealing your driveway if there are any cracks or stains. Another easy fix is painting your front door and garage doors to freshen them up!

Finish up by adding some inexpensive accessories, whether it’s hanging planters with flowers, a couple chairs or a bistro set, or seasonal decor like pumpkins or wreaths.

All of these small changes can make a big difference to how guests feel welcomed!


Staging & de-cluttering

Average cost: FREE with the Christine Hauschild team

The idea behind staging and de-cluttering is to un-personalize your home. We always like to remind sellers to put their “buying hats” on when preparing their homes for sale.

When we list your home, one of the first steps we take is contacting our stager Anne to set up an initial staging appointment with you. This would be the first two appointments.

During the initial appointment, Anne will tour your home with you and make several suggestions on paint colours, furniture positioning, de-cluttering strategy, among other things.

She would then return to your home for a 2nd appointment where staging items would be placed throughout the home. The purpose of staging is to highlight your home’s best features and create an environment appealing to buyers.

Along with a good thorough cleaning, staging and de-cluttering can make your home look like a model home that will present beautifully in photos and buyers will absolutely love!

You are on your way to an irresistible listing!

Hopefully some of these small home improvements that will pay off when selling inspire you! Listing your home is never a small job, but the right team can make it possible and even smooth & easy.

Ready to list your home and get maximum value? Let the experts help!