10 Easy Renovations That Can Help Prep Your House for Sale

Travelers umbrella logo.
By Travelers
6 minutes


A man tending to his garden.

This may sound obvious, but selling a house sometimes comes down to just how appealing your home is to potential homebuyers. The attributes that make your house attractive to buyers can include price, the condition of your home and its curb appeal, as well as details like the number of bathrooms, bedrooms and whether the home appears dated. Discerning buyers typically want to walk into a house and immediately feel at home. How quickly you sell your home ‒ and at what price ‒ may depend on your ability to create that I’m-already-at-home feel.

Here are 10 easy home remodeling ideas that can help transform your home sweet home to the gotta-have-it house of your buyer’s dreams.

1. Replace the garage door.

The surprise most home sellers discover ‒ often too late ‒ is that most sellers won’t fully recoup the cost of a renovation when they sell their home. When it comes to getting some bang for your renovating buck, however, the garage door is one suggestion to consider; it also can give a boost to your home’s curb appeal.

2. Upgrade the front door.

A relatively inexpensive yet effective home improvement idea is a new front door ‒ one of the first things a home shopper will notice when they view online photos or arrive for a showing. For example, a new steel door can be both eye‒catching and energy efficient ‒ a boon for cost-conscious buyers-to-be. Or you could consider the pricier installation of a grand entrance ‒ perhaps a new front door with dual skylights ‒ which can help increase the attraction from upscale buyers.

3. Re-face the house.

Another way to help increase your home value is by improving the exterior of your home. A good pressure washing may cost a few hundred dollars and can reduce or remove the unsightly dust, grime and mildew that often clings to exterior siding. For a house with more exterior wear, new siding is a pricey project but one that can help add a dramatic boost and take years off your home’s exterior appearance.

4. Maintain your lawn and refresh landscaping.

You only have one chance to make a great first impression ‒ which is why renovations affecting curb appeal make our list. Home improvements that help add value and appeal to buyers include standard lawn care and landscape maintenance. Consider it a smart investment that can eventually turn out to be money well spent when you’re prepping your house for sale.

5. Refresh the kitchen.

For many homeowners, the kitchen is where guests and family gather, making it one of the top house renovation ideas that come to mind when preparing a home for sale. Still, a major kitchen renovation may not be worth the cost when it comes time to sell; however, smaller, cost-effective upgrades can help make the kitchen more attractive.

Consider replacing laminate countertops with granite and replacing a sink and faucet, for example. Leave cabinet boxes in place but replace out-of-date doors and hardware ‒ or hire a professional to give doors and drawers a fresh coat of paint. Finally, you can replace older appliances with slide-in, energy-efficient, stainless steel models. It’s your call as to whether spending money on these kitchen redo’s is feasible; think about your individual circumstances and what your goal is for selling your home. It also may be helpful to contact your homeowners insurance representative, to make sure that any renovations you’re considering will be covered.

A savvy refresh doesn’t have to include all kitchen elements. Instead, to help save on cost, pick and choose the features that can make the greatest impression within your space.

6. Deep clean and declutter.

When it comes to selling a home, you want to make a great first impression. Messy playrooms, cat or dog odors (even if Fido isn’t home), or an unmade bed can all be a turnoff to potential homebuyers.

That may be why many real estate agents suggest their clients declutter and deep clean before listing their house for sale. While the main living spaces should take center stage, potential homebuyers may open your cabinets, drawers and refrigerator, so be sure to give them a good once-over, too.

7. Hire a professional home stager.

When it comes down to it, the buyers who can envision themselves living in your home are the ones most likely to buy. That’s why staging your home to sell is such a popular tactic. A professional home stager will suggest removing personal items like photographs and excess furniture. Many professionals suggest storing or removing a quarter to half of your possessions, including sofas, bookcases, knickknacks, books and even clothes in your closet.

Still, removing excess stuff is just the start. Stagers may rearrange furniture to highlight features like the fireplace, a view or unique architectural details. They may even suggest that you use a rental service to bring in items to dress up your home and will arrange for that service if you decide to take that advice.

A professional home stager will often cost several hundred dollars, but the investment can help a home sell faster ‒ and often at a higher price than similar homes. To get the biggest bang for your staging buck, stagers recommend focusing on the living room, master bedroom and kitchen, in that order.

8. A fresh coat of interior paint.

Paint has the power to entirely transform a home, particularly if it’s been a while since you upgraded your color scheme or if you happen to love eclectic colors. Neutrals are typically a safe bet ‒ they can create that clean slate feel that give home shoppers a greater ability to see their own belongings in your space.

9. Optimize lighting.

High-quality lighting can help make a room feel larger, more modern and more inviting to potential homebuyers. For daytime showings, open curtains and blinds to bring in as much natural light as you can. Take advantage of accent lighting throughout the day and evening to emphasize art, a reading nook or any other interesting features in your home. If your home still feels dark, try strategically placing a mirror to reflect light and help make a room appear brighter. Alternatively, you can help brighten your space by bringing in a stylish floor or table lamp.

If your fixtures are dated, new dining room and foyer chandeliers can bring a more modern vibe to your space.

10. Make small repairs.

You may be accustomed to the inconvenience of that torn window screen or leaky showerhead but, to a new potential homebuyer, they may be red flags, prompting them to stay alert for any other necessary but unmade home repairs they’ll have to consider when it comes time to make an offer.

Help get ahead of potential problems by doing a walkthrough, looking for any damage or necessary repairs. Then, consider hiring a handyman for the day. To really head off problems, consider hiring your own home inspector to help alert you to unexpected issues you can repair before homebuyers start walking through your home.

Before You Move, Review Your Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage

Selling your home is a good time to review your homeowners coverage. Learn more about Travelers homeowners insurance products, or if you’re ready to take the next step, get a quote or find an agent.


1 https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2019/ 

2 https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2018-05-remodeling-impact-outdoor-features-05-23-2018.pdf

3 https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2019-profile-of-home-staging-03-14-2019.pdf

4 http://blog.rismedia.com/2018/paint-color-zillow-reports/

Woman arranging flowers in a vase in a kitchen.

Top Stories

What Is Home Staging and What Does It Cost?

Home staging can come with countless benefits, but is it right for selling your home? This guide can help.

Related Products & Discounts

This can help protect your home in case of fire, hail, theft and other perils.

Personal property insurance can cover your belongings if they're damaged in a covered loss.

More Prepare & Prevent

How to Stage a House to Sell Fast

Staging a home for sale can help make it seem more appealing, spacious and memorable. Learn how to stage a house to sell fast, with tips from Travelers.

Woman staging dining room table.

More Prepare & Prevent

5 Steps on How to Declutter Your House for Sale

Cut down on clutter to appeal to potential homebuyers. Learn how to declutter your home for sale with these five steps.

Woman declutter house by putting content in boxes with daughter.

More Prepare & Prevent

How to Declutter Your Garage

Decluttering your garage can help make your property more attractive to prospective home buyers. Here’s a checklist to help you declutter before you move.

Man and teenage boy pack up a garage