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The Cheapest Home Improvements You Should Make Before Selling

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You’re preparing to sell your home, and you want to make it shine. While it’s currently a seller’s market in many parts of the country, your home still needs a polished look to get the best price.

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In fact, 80% of Americans would rather buy a home that’s move-in ready instead of one that requires renovations, according to a 2020 study conducted by Coldwell Banker. People feel so strongly about this that 71% of Gen Xers, 70% of millennials and 63% of baby boomers would be willing to sacrifice square footage for a turnkey property.

Read: Home Renovations That Will Pay You Back

The good news: You don’t have to spend a fortune to make home improvements that give your property a seriously upgraded look. Many small, relatively inexpensive updates can make a world of difference. Here’s a look at 10 affordable updates to consider making before putting your property on the market.

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Modernize Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are a major focal point, so those with a dated look can change the entire feel of a room — and not for the better. Thankfully, swapping unsightly ones for a chic, modern version doesn’t have to break the bank.

The cost of a light fixture runs the gamut from $20 for a simple selection to $1,500 or more for a chandelier, according to the Home Depot. Expect to spend $65 to $175 for labor, depending on the complexity of the job.

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Update Cabinet Hardware

Let’s face it — your cabinets are dated, but you don’t want to invest in brand new ones. The good news is, swapping out old pulls, knobs and handles will change the entire look of the cabinet at a fraction of the cost.

Cabinet hardware ranges in price from $1 to more than $200, according to Angie’s List. Contractors charge an average of $130 to $275 to remove old hardware and install new or if you’re handy, you can even do the work yourself.

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Paint Dated Kitchen Cabinets

Another easy cabinet fix: If the paint on your kitchen cupboards is chipped or a dated color, giving them a refresh can make a huge difference. Buyers will appreciate this, as much emphasis is placed on the kitchen since it’s a room that gets a lot of use.

On average, professional painters charge $3 to $10 per square foot to paint kitchen cabinets, according to HomeGuide. For the entire job, plan to spend $900 to $3,800.

However, if you’re a good painter and have the time to do the job yourself, HomeGuide estimates you can cut total costs down to $200 to $600.

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Install New Faucets

It might not seem like a huge deal, but the faucets in your home get a lot of use, so buyers want something functional that also looks nice. If your faucets have seen better days, swapping them out for a more modern version will impress buyers.

There are plenty of different types of kitchen faucets available — i.e. pull-down and pull-out — but most fall into the $100-$200 range, according to HomeAdvisor. Similarly priced, bathroom faucets average $100 to $150. The national average cost for faucet installation is $250 but can range from $158 to $342.

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Paint the Walls

You’ve painted the interior of your home to match your style, but there’s a good chance it won’t necessarily appeal to the buyer. Refreshing the walls with a new coat of paint in a neutral color can make it easier for buyers to picture themselves in the home.

If you hire a professional painter, expect to pay an average of $3.50 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor. This equates to about $200 to $1,000 for one room or $4,000 to $11,000 for an entire 2,300-square-foot house.

Of course, there’s also the option to do the painting yourself. If you have the time and expertise, you can purchase paint and equipment for around $200 to $300, according to HomeAdvisor.

See: Avoid These Home Renovation Horror Stories

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Replace Chipped Tiles and Repair Grout

You might be unbothered by the broken tiles and unsightly grout in your home, but it won’t score you any points with buyers. Whether you have this issue in a shower or on part of your flooring, it needs to be fixed.

The average cost to repair tile and grout is $440 per project, according to HomeAdvisor. However, this can range from around $125 on the low end to roughly $1,000 on the high end, so prices will vary depending on your needs.

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Repair Window Frames

Chances are you don’t spend much time thinking about your window frames, but broken ones will be identified by the home inspector. This can cause higher heating and cooling bills — along with a general discomfort in the room — so having solid frames in place will be important to buyers.

The national average cost for window frame repair is $480, according to Fixr. However, this will vary according to the type of window frame material and the extent of the repair. Additionally, labor will cost you about $65 per hour.

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Refinish Older Bathtubs

No one wants to buy a house with a cringeworthy bathtub. If any of the tubs in your home have rust stains, water marks, discoloration or are painted a dated hue, consider refinishing them.

The national average cost to refinish a bathtub is approximately $475 — including materials and labor — according to Thumbtack. This route offers serious cost savings, as replacing your tub can easily run well over $2,000.

This job will likely take less than a day, but you won’t be able to use your tub until the reglaze sets and dries, which can take up to 24 hours.

Read: Renovations To Make — and Skip — Before Selling Your Home

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Install New Carpet

If your carpeting was installed years ago, even having it professionally cleaned probably won’t be enough to appeal to buyers. Instead of giving the room a warm and cozy look, it’s probably creating a dated vibe.

The average cost to install new carpet in a bedroom is $1,533 to $2,628, while a living room averages $2,100 to $3,600, according to Fixr. However, this depends on several factors, including the amount of carpeting you’ll need, style and materials.

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Enhance Your Landscaping

The outside of your home is the first thing buyers will see, so if it doesn’t have curb appeal, they might not give it a second look. Investing in landscaping can beautify your outdoor space so buyers want it for themselves.

The average cost for a professional landscaper to plant flowers in your yard is $300 to $3,000, $100 to $300 for mulching and $75 to $1,000 for tree trimming, according to HomeAdvisor. Every outdoor space needs something different, so work with a professional — or opt for DIY if you have a green thumb — to create a plan for yours.

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