The Chicago Real Estate Minute

9 Low-Cost Ways to Boost Home Value

5 minute read

The holy grail of owning real estate is when you are able to increase its appeal and boost home value without breaking the bank. Here are nine great ways to increase your net worth without costing yourself an arm and a leg.

1. Make your entryway an invitation

First impres­sions can last a long time. Is your foyer a bit plain? This is the first place you and your guests notice, so spice it up. Consider making a small seating area, perhaps a place for keys, jackets, and the mail. These simple additions help make your entryway more inviting. A hall table that blends well with the front door can do wonders. Even if you have a slim hallway off the entry, a thin table can do the trick!

2. Show off outside areas

Chicagoans love their outdoor space, that’s for sure. Don’t neglect yours. Maximize it by adding plants or flowers, an appro­pri­ate­ly sized table and chairs, and of course a BBQ! If you have a yard, maintain the lawn and garden regularly.

3. Define undefined spaces

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

Is there a random, unused corner in your home? Make it a feature by creating a nook with a chair and side table, add a hanging plant, a dis­tinc­tive lamp, or a chalk­board wall.

4. Light the ways

New lighting fixtures really freshen up a home and can be inex­pen­sive to add if you install them yourself. Once you identify the fixtures to be replaced, be sure to bear in mind that the new ones should com­ple­ment any others you purchase as well as the fixtures that will remain with the home.

5. Match appliances

One way to update the kitchen without doing an overhaul is to update the appli­ances. Do you have out-of-date or mis­matched appli­ances? Update those first. You may only need to replace just one to make every­thing work together. Bottom line: they all should have the same finish, with no tarnish or dents. Stainless is preferred by most buyers and is the way to go for the fore­see­able future. ABT is an awesome and cost-effective place to get them.

6. Update knobs and hinges

Image by mikegi from Pixabay

These are almost always over­looked, but old ones (i.e., gold or even brass) certainly make the place feel outdated. It will take some time, but replacing door hinges, doorknobs, plus the kitchen and bathroom knobs, will make a world of dif­fer­ence. We suggest nickel or polished chrome hardware.

7. De-funkifying with a deep cleaning

It’s a rare homeowner who con­sis­tent­ly keeps their home spotless. Kudos to you, if so! Most homes need a thorough cleaning to really make it shine. And sometimes there are just areas that get away from us. Sometimes, the worse they get, the more we just avoid them. Plan a day of going on the attack to make things really clean, and you know you’ll feel it was worth it when the job is done.

8. Paint over the weekends

If the little voice in your head has told you to paint a room, it’s def­i­nite­ly time to listen to it. When you do it yourself, most parts of your home can be refreshed with new paint over the course of a few weekends. The rooms to focus on first are the kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and master bedroom. And don’t overlook long hallways, since they can make up a large portion of the common area and are likely easy to tackle with a paint roller. 

Paint color options depend on whether you plan to sell in the near-term or want to stay for a while. If selling is anywhere in your future, go with neutrals and light greys.

9. Enjoy a great ROI from your bathroom

Replacing an outdated vanity and toilet are great for return on invest­ment, and reglazing a chipped/dated tub is always a smart idea. This sug­ges­tion may cost more in money than the others, but it will cost less of your time. Even better, most home-improve­ment ROI studies show that upgrading a non-master bathroom adds appre­cia­ble value to your home.

Final Word

The goal here is to have you say “wow!” when after all this work is done. There is never a bad time to increase the value of your home. And if selling is in your not-too-distant future, every single one of these sug­ges­tions will help you sell more quickly — and for more money.


Dave Nimick has been a realtor since 2001, running a thriving business based largely on repeat/referral business. He always maintains a shortlist of quality pro­fes­sion­als that have per­son­al­ly provided him with excellent service at a rea­son­able price. He also loves being the only resource his clients and friends ever need when looking for a trusted trades­per­son. He welcomes speaking with anyone that would value this level of service.

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