5 Home Improvements to Liven Up your Home for Resale


Tim Lucas
Military VA Loan editor

by Ed Kunkel, Jr., Realtor® and U.S. Army Veteran

There are lots  ideas about home improvements that help you reach success when you have your home on the market for sale.  It can be challenging to know which improvements are safe bets as far as resale, and which ones are money spent for little gain.

If you’re looking to liven up and freshen up the look and feel of your home before to increase resale value, here are some sure-fire ways to do it:

1.  Use products that are “earth friendly”.  Whether you’re into the ‘green’ or ‘eco’ thing or not, lots of prospective buyers really appreciate the use of products and materials that are functional and attractive, while being free from the use of formaldehyde or other toxins.  There is lots of information and ideas available online for using materials and products that are green, and ways of assembly and adhesion that do not use harsh chemicals.  Floating engineered hardwood floors with tongue and groove assembly are very popular, along with materials made with bamboo for flooring, walls and countertops.

2.  Upgrade your appliances.  A delicate balance of energy efficiency, utility and appeal are all very important.  Placement of your new appliances is also important, as the current locations you are working with are not necessarily set in stone.  Your stove and oven should be a joy for you to use, and should add to the appeal of the labor of love you endure while making your favorite dishes.  Your other appliances should be efficient, compliment the kitchen, and add to the appeal and functionality.

3.  DIY affordable and quick improvement ideas.  Sometimes, just a few simple changes to an existing kitchen will help improve the appeal and make working in the kitchen more desirable.  If you want to make the improvements yourself, and are a novice in doing finish work, you may be up to the challenge of installing pre-packaged back splashes.  There are lots of varieties that will beautifully compliment a kitchen, and they are fairly easy to install.  Another idea, change all the hardware around your drawers and cabinets.  All you will likely need is a hinge and pull count, and a screwdriver to make a subtle change that adds color and character.  Add to that by making your kitchen sink and faucet the best part of your kitchen by installing a multi-functioning sink that offers a prep board, colander, and drain tray.  Include a faucet that has a built in filter.

4.  Use trending materials. Granite is phasing out, while more rustic and natural looking materials are gaining popularity.  Granite is very pretty, as long as it doesn’t chip or break, or have other blemishes.  If you remodel with granite, you must also include upgrading the supporting base cabinetry in that modeling project.  If you don’t upgrade the cabinets and fit the granite over the existing cabinetry, you may encounter two big problems – the existing cabinetry might not be strong enough to support the granite, and the existing granite piece you ordered will not transfer seamlessly to a new base cabinet afterwards. Black colored granite or quartz is still popular with light cabinetry, as it gives a bold and elegant look to a kitchen.  ‘Worn wood’ looks in flooring and cabinetry are gaining popularity, with the added ‘clean copper’ sinks, and hood vents.  Experiment with wood or brick veneer covering on walls instead of  having bare textured drywall.  Add to the flavor by doing all of your pulls and hinges in ‘aged gold’, ‘rubbed bronze’, or ‘black.’  The idea is a theme that resembles ‘old world’ or ‘au natural’.

5.  Get more lighting.  The more natural light you can encourage in your home, the better!  Solar tubes are a great improvement for those dark hallways and rooms without natural light.  Skylights are also a great idea for allowing natural light in an otherwise dark home.  When making such improvements, particularly with windows and skylights – add UV protection as applicable, and include coverings to add character and shade.  For lighting fixtures, your improvements should focus primarily on the kitchen and living space.  You’ll want to brighten up your spaces under the upper cabinets and your countertops as much as possible.

Other Tips to Liven up your Home

5 home improvements to liven up your home before you sell

It pays to freshen up your home before you sell.

If your goal is resale effect, my best advice is to ask for professionals in the industry to guide you.  This can obviously be agents, but also consider inquiring with staging professionals.

If the home is more than 20 years old, have it inspected.  The inspector will recommend improvements that will add to the safety, stability, and efficiency of the home – these are all very important to a buyer.  When you are making improvements and want to do as much as you can yourself, find someone with experience that is willing to at least help hold you to the standard of a quality job.  It’s disappointing when I have to tell an owner that his improvements did not meet code, or even worse, didn’t meet the buyer’s satisfaction after an inspection.  If you’re remodeling a kitchen, seek out the professional advice of a kitchen design and remodeling company – not just someone in one of those big box stores.  Here are some examples of growing improvement trends in the industry.

Ed Kunkel, Jr. is a Managing Broker/Realtor® at Keller Williams Realty in Olympia, Washington. Visit Ed here. Ed’s Military History: Veteran – U.S. Army and Air Force Reserve; Highest rank, E5; 11 years combined military service.