1. Make your kitchen really cook. The kitchen is still considered the heart of the home. Potential home buyers make a beeline for this room when they first view a home for sale, so make sure your kitchen looks clean and reasonably updated. For a few hundred dollars, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones.
2. Give appliances a facelift. If your kitchen appliances don't match, order new doors or face panels for them.
3. Buff up the bath. Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. Even simple things like a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are pretty easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference in the look of the bath.
4. Step up your storage. Old houses, particularly, are notorious for their lack of closet space. If you have cramped storage areas simply add do-it-yourself wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms, pantries and entry closets.
5. Add a room in a week or less. If you have a three-bedroom house with a family room or study, the only reason it can't be considered a bedroom may be because it doesn't have a cupboard. Therefore, if you add one you've now got a four-bedroom house. That adds a lot of value.
6. Mind the mechanics. It's often very worthwhile to hire an electrician and plumber for a couple of hours to look over your electrical services, wrap or fix loose wires, fix any faulty outlets, and check for and fix any water leaks. Those details tell a buyer that someone has really taken care of the home and can really influence its price.
7. Look underfoot. Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet cleaning is an inexpensive investment, especially if your rugs are in good shape and are neutral colors.
8. Let there be light. If you have boring recessed lights in your dining and living rooms, consider replacing one of the room's lights with an eye-catching chandelier. Home stores offer a wide range of inexpensive, but nice-looking, ceiling fixtures these days. If you have a ceiling fan and light, you can also buy replacement fan blades (leaving the fan body in place) to update the fixture's look.
9. Reframe your entry. Do you have a flimsy little knob on your main entry door? If so, spring for a substantial-looking handle-and-lock set. A nice, big piece of hardware on the front door signals to newcomers that this is a solid home.
10. Consider curb appeal. Although it sounds obvious, a nicely mowed lawn, a few well-placed shrubs and a swept walkway makes a great first impression. What buyers see when they first drive by your home is tremendously important.