Flipping Houses

4 Inexpensive Renovations Guaranteed to Maximize Resale Value

17 Articles Written

Selling your house is an emotional process, particularly if you have lived there for a number of years. Where a potential buyer sees an old toilet, you see images of potty training your first child; where a potential buyer sees a stain on the carpet, you see the last physical sign of your awesome birthday party — and most importantly, where a potential buyer sees a house, you see a home.

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The key to smart real estate decisions regarding your home is to look at it like a house. Home is where the heart is, and your house is where most of your life savings are. It's hard, but try not to get too emotionally attached.

Related: 10 Renovation Tips That Will Save You Time and Money

In my experience flipping homes, I have seen a lot of expensive piecemeal renovations attempted by homeowners that really don't add a lot of value to the resale number. Brand new marble countertops are a great feature to any house, but they don't get you much in resale if the cabinets are old and grimy.

Consistency is key in any renovation, and if your house is older, it could take a decent chunk of change to get everything up to that consistent, quality level of finish. There are, however, a number of smaller, less expensive things you can do that will help your home sell more quickly and give it a cleaner feel.

The Top 4 Home Renovations that Ensure Higher Resale Value

1. Carpet

Fresh carpet is a great look and is also relatively inexpensive.

You need to take the perspective of eliminating as many grievances as possible. A gnarly spot on the ground is a pretty legitimate grievance and also raises the question: “What the hell happened there, and what else is wrong?”

2. Landscaping

Pay a landscaper to come in and weed your yard, cut your grass and throw down some nice bark, if appropriate. Don’t cheese on the bark and do it yourself — it will look silly and give the house a disingenuous vibe.

If the inside of your house is pretty nice, then putting down some new sod may even be worth it.

3. Grout and Caulk the Kitchen and Bathrooms

Sounds like a minor thing, but it can really have a nice effect. It also takes out the grungy, worn look that even nice bathrooms develop over time.

Related: Be a General Contractor for Your Own Renovation Project In Just 8 Steps

It makes the buyer think that they are buying a nice, clean home, which is a good feeling. Grout can be labor intensive and thus seem a bit expensive. Do it anyway — at least if you want your home to sell for a good price.

4. Paint

The number one way to improve your resale value is to paint the interior and exterior of your house. Not only does it smell great on the inside, but it also gives the house a “new” feel, which is a great impression to make on all buyers.


I know: your house is your home — and has a ton of memories. But if you are going to sell it anyway, then you might as well do the aforementioned four things and make more money on the sale.

What renovation items do you look for in a home? Have you had success flipping? If so, what renovation items do you think brought you back the biggest bang for your buck?

Be sure to leave me a comment below!

Conor has experienced every aspect of the foreclosure and rental business for single-family homes. He was VP of Acquisitions at Silver Bay Realty Trust, and has flipped over 100 homes. Conor starte...
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    Brooks Rembert
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Conor, Great ideas. I also like the smell and look of new paint in the house. Additionally, grout paint is a seller’s best friend. It’s so easy to paint on and makes the whole bathroom look almost new.
    Conor Flaherty
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Brooks – thanks for the comment and right on about the grout paint!
    Roy Schauer
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    We have found lighting can make a big difference as well whether it be upgrading bulbs or replacing a few key fixtures.
    Conor Flaherty
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Roy – Great idea! I know that can make a huge difference.
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Adding a glass mosaic tile backsplash in the kitchen and/or an accent strip in the shower surround can make a nice pop of “wow” for a relatively small amount of cash.
    Conor Flaherty
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Owen – Love that idea! Definitely going to steal it from you!
    Rick Toney
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Short and simple – great ideas!!!
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Conor, let me echo the kudos for the great ideas. We try to do all of these with each house. One more simple fix that is inexpensive and you can DIY? Change out old faucets. We try to exchange outdated faucets for more current styles, in particular adding a nozzle head to the kitchen faucet, which can be done for under $100 if you dive into the job yourself. Tends to take about an hour. Remember to turn off the water first. Or it will take a lot more than an hour. Been there. Done that.
    Kristi Patton from Little Rock, Arkansas
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    We recently changed the hardware on our bedroom furniture because we can’t really afford new right now – cheap but effective! That is quick fix to dated looking cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom.