Even small improvements can boost home value before sale

Denver area realtors say you don’t have to spend a lot to make improvements that boost your home’s value.

Before making any changes, realtors say recognize the difference between spending on short- and long-term projects. If you plan to tackle significant projects such as a kitchen or bathroom remodel, do it so you can enjoy the benefits before you sell your home.

“Do it sooner rather than later,” says Allie Carlson, West + Main managing broker.

Sergio Nazzaro, an 8z real estate agent, agrees.

“Unless you can use it and appreciate it, you shouldn’t do it,” he says. “The next buyer could hate it and rip everything out.”

Instead, realtors recommend focusing on quick, cosmetic changes if you plan to sell your house soon.

“If a potential seller wants to put their house on the market in a short period of time with a limited budget, I recommend paint (inside and out), if necessary, flooring (carpet, tile, etc.), decluttering, and general deferred maintenance projects, such as repairing broken windows, torn screens, caulk, gutter repair, replacing light bulbs, and pull weeds,” says Barry Willmarth, Willmarth Real Estate Services owner.

“All of these items give a good first impression and lessen concerns that a property hasn’t been well maintained and eases inspection issues.”

Deep cleaning

Nazzaro recommends sellers start with a deep cleaning. Hire professionals to provide a deep clean of the house, appliances, vents, and windows. Cleaning the windows lets in more natural light and makes your home feel brighter.

“Make sure when people walk in, the house feels clean,” he says. “If people think the house is dirty, they will wonder what else might be wrong with the home.”

Realtors recommend kitchen or bathroom remodels, adding more space and improving curb appeal if you plan to make more significant changes.


All three realtors recommend fresh paint and urge people to be conservative with their paint choices.

“If you choose a neutral white to cream, it’s more appealing and it makes your house seem more like a product than as your specific home,” Carlson says.

Adding fresh paint on the walls and trim makes your home feel clean, Nazzaro says. “Get rid of scuffs on the wall and fill any holes.”

But neutral paint is critical, so a future buyer sees your home as a blank canvas. “Even if your favorite color is burnt orange, you don’t want to use that.”


Replacing carpet or refinishing wood floors also is a way to freshen your home, Nazzaro says.

But before making significant flooring changes, examine the price tag. “Carpet is fairly inexpensive, but costs to do this can add up quickly,” he says.

Moderately-priced kitchen remodel

Be cautious about making major kitchen upgrades with expensive countertops or high-end appliances.

Instead, Willmarth recommends making mid-range cost improvements, including painting cabinets in good shape rather than replacing them.

Carlson agrees. “Painting the cabinets and updating the hardware is an inexpensive way to freshen the space,” she says. “Sometimes tiny things can bring a bigger return on investment.”

Moderately-priced bathroom remodel

Renovating bathrooms is a solid investment in your home.

But Willmarth again recommends not being extravagant. “Use moderately priced-materials, including tile and flooring options,” he says.

At a minimum, clean and regrout the bathroom, he adds.

Add more space

Remodeling to add additional bathrooms or bedrooms is expensive but adds to your home’s value, Carlson says.

“If you can go from two to three bedrooms, that’s a huge gain,” Carlson says.

But the return depends on the size of the house. If you already have a five-bedroom house, adding another won’t boost the value, she says.

Boost curb appeal

Improving your home’s curb appeal is crucial, Nazzaro says.

“That’s the first and last memory for most buyers,” he says.

He recommends power washing the house, adding fresh mulch and flowers, and keeping the lawn mowed.

“You also want to make sure all walkways, patios, and decks are in good shape.”

Willmarth suggests replacing your front door and storm door. “That first impression is key.”

Make sure decks or patios don’t need to be repaired or replaced.

“You don’t need to replace just to sell as long as what you have is in good shape,” Nazzaro says. “If you have a wood deck, consider staining or resurfacing it to make it look fresh.”

Show off your home

Instead of spending thousands of dollars on kitchen or bath upgrades, Nazzaro recommends hiring a professional to stage your house.

“The risk with making changes is that you’ll do something that won’t appeal to prospective buyers,” he says.

Focusing on what makes your existing home attractive can help expand your buyer pool and generate more traffic.

“You want to make your home look bigger and more appealing so potential buyers can envision themselves in it,” he says.

He works with stagers who focus on using the seller’s furniture rather than bringing in items just for show.

The goal is to make your home attractive to potential buyers.

When possible, it’s better to leave homes furnished during the sale process, Nazzaro says. Some people can walk into an empty house and imagine what they’d do with the space.

“But most people can’t. You need to show your home in a way that gets the buyers’ creative juices flowing.”

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

Make 7 home improvements before you sell, Denver area realtors say

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