Three Ways to Add Value to Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

I will be the first to admit (along with my wife) that I'm not a handyman. Every time I start a new project around the house, it inevitably turns into a disaster and typically involves a call to one of our dads. But I also like living in a house that looks good, functions well for our family and has updates/upgrades that will one day increase its value. Since hiring a trade is not always cost-effective, I've learned to put my hate for all things handy aside and do my best to tackle the small projects that ultimately have a big impact on our home.

As a real estate agent, my clients often ask me what they can do to improve their home and increase its value. Just like me, they don't want to hire a pro or spend a ton of money. They also want their home to sell for more money, faster. 

So with that in mind, I typically recommend three projects that anyone can tackle, with a limited budget and limited time. If I can do 'em, you can, too!

#1: Paint

I know you've heard this one before and I'm sure you're dreading it because it sucks. A fresh coat of paint is the easiest and most cost effective way to increase the value of your home and impress potential buyers. I can't tell you how many times I've been showing a client a house and they are so turned off by the dated paint colours and dirty, chipped walls that they won't even consider the house. As a real estate agent, I always do my best to get clients to see past this, but it's hard when the paint is staring them in face in each and every room. Head to Home Depot, pick out a fresh neutral palette of muted greys or soft beiges and start painting. And don't forget about picking a colour for the front door -- it's the first thing a buyer will see!

TIP: Dark colours make a room seem smaller, so go for light colours. Don't use more than 2-3 colours in your home and make sure they all complement each other. Fewer colours create flow in the home. 

#2: Change Up Cabinet Hardware

I like this one even better than painting because it's so easy and instantly modernizes a home. How old are the door knobs around your home? What about the knobs and pulls on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets? Are they scratched or in a dated shiny brass colour? For just a few hundred dollars you can purchase new door knobs and handles for your entire house. I suggest choosing a simple, classic style that won't distract the eye from the rest of the house, but yet modern enough to suit today's tastes. Ikea has a ton of affordable options in different finishes. 

#3: New Light Fixtures

When I first installed a new light fixture in my home, it was a scary task. That whole electrocution thing is very real. I can now say I've changed dozens of light fixtures and have not once been zapped. It's actually quite simple, and of course, turning off the breaker makes it all the more safe. In fact, the worst part of hanging a light fixture is often the assembly of the light itself! But you'd be surprised how much difference new light fixtures can have on your home's value. People really do look up when they are home hunting. In your kitchen and bathroom, lighting is often a focal point and a necessity -- so it has to look good and function properly. Be sure to choose a finish that matches your cabinet hardware for consistent look. 

TIP: Modernize your light fixtures without buying new ones! Yes, it's possible to spray paint light fixtures to freshen them up and match your cabinet hardware. You'll obviously need to remove them to do this, but you'll save the expense of buying new ones.

So there you have it...three ways to add value to your home without breaking the bank. Got any other ideas to add?