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20 Ways to Make Your House Look More Attractive to Buyers

Andrea helps people design their homes and gardens. She likes to use Western Astrology and the Chinese Zodiac to help build templates.

Selling property isn't for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work to prepare a house for the market. When your house is in great shape and has contemporary features, you're more likely to sell it.

Selling property isn't for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work to prepare a house for the market. When your house is in great shape and has contemporary features, you're more likely to sell it.

20 Ways to Make Your House Look More Attractive to Buyers

When it comes to selling your house, you want to make sure you cover the basics. A house that's in excellent shape and in an ideal location has a better chance of selling than a house that's in poor condition and in an obscure location.

Some people will buy your house even if it isn't in tip-top shape, but they may request that you fix a questionable issue (or several issues). My husband and I were shocked when we went house hunting last year and came across homes asking for more than $200,000 when they had pee-stained carpets, moldy walls, cracks in the basement, very dirty and outdated appliances, and water running out of wallpaper. Even in a buyer's market, houses that have poor to fair conditions are going to struggle to be sold.

In an ideal situation, your house is attractive to multiple buyers, and they all keep bidding over each other. You may have asked for $300,000, but you end up pocketing $375,000.

In this article, I'm giving you 20 tips to improve your home to make it attractive to buyers. The list goes from the most affordable fixes to the most expensive remodels. I encourage you to renovate your house a little bit each year to stay on top of it and to make it to your liking. As a homeowner, you don't want to neglect your property.

Important: Just because you put money into a house, doesn't mean you'll get that money back. Don't expect that if you do a $50,000 kitchen remodel that it will add $50,000 to your home's value. It will likely make your house more attractive to homebuyers, which is a good thing. The faster you can sell your house, the more money you'll save.

Estimates are ballpark figures. Actual costs may vary significantly. Remodeling a room can get very expensive, and it will depend on the size of the room and the work that needs to be done.

Products/RenovationsEstimated Cost

De-Clutter and Staging

You may spend money on art or scent-related products to improve your staging efforts. This will be in the ballpark of $10 — $100

Outlet Covers

$0.50 — $10

Scrub Down Walls and Counters

$10 — $100 for cleaning products

New Doorknobs

$10 — $300

Repairing Holes in Walls

$25 — $400 per patch needed

Replacing Window Screens

$10 — $400

Curb Appeal Improvements

$30 — $400

Update Indoor Light Fixtures

$115 — $300

Exterior Lights

$65 — $250 per light fixture

Add Ceiling Fans

$140 — $360 per fan

Taking Down a Wall

$300 — $1,000

Purchasing and Installing New Appliances

$1000+

Painting All Interior Rooms a Neutral Color

$1,500+, for a gigantic house this could cost tens of thousands

Adding Mosaic Art

$100 — $5,000+ (depends on the mosaic design and the scale of the project)

Outdoor Firepit Area

$200 — $5,000

New Patio

$500 — $5,500

Laundry Room Remodel

$1,000 — $12,000

Bathroom Remodel

$2,500 — $25,000

Kitchen Remodel

$5,000 — $50,000

When putting a house on the market, you want your rooms to be clean and clutter-free. A dirty house has a harder time getting sold.

When putting a house on the market, you want your rooms to be clean and clutter-free. A dirty house has a harder time getting sold.

1. De-Clutter and Staging

When it comes to letting people tour your home, you don't want so many personal belongings that people don't pay attention to the actual house. It's best to remove some items from the property you're selling. Also, it's a good idea to have some furniture in the house because people have a hard time imagining furnished spaces for themselves.

Here are some suggestions on decluttering and staging:

  • Remove boudoir pictures or anything risque.
  • Don't block exits or doors.
  • Don't overcrowd your closets.
  • If a couch takes up an entire room, it would probably be wise to put that couch in storage. You don't want people thinking a room is small.
  • Do leave behind snacks.
  • Do add sweet-smelling scents.
  • Don't have stacks or piles of paper and junk.
  • Children and pet toys should be neatly put away.
When it comes to an awkward nook in your house, don't leave potential homebuyers guessing what they could do with it. Rethink the space and redecorate it.

When it comes to an awkward nook in your house, don't leave potential homebuyers guessing what they could do with it. Rethink the space and redecorate it.

2. Redecorate Awkward Spaces

If you have a corner under the stairs or a nook that never gets used, try to rethink that space and how you can make it inviting. Sometimes all you need is a bookshelf, some books, and an inviting chair.

Another option: a bar cart for cocktails. At the Disney animation studios in California, there is a hidden speakeasy bar for animators. You have to pull away a door and there it is, a flashback to the 1920s.

If you can't think of something cool for the awkward space in your home, don't expect people touring your house to come up with something for it either.

Take notes from hotels when it comes to making your home look desirable. Beds should look plush and ready for people to dive into them.

Take notes from hotels when it comes to making your home look desirable. Beds should look plush and ready for people to dive into them.

3. Take Notes from Hotels

You want people to come into your home and feel like they're on a retreat. One of the best things you can do is make your master bedroom seem like a wondrous hotel stay.

Make sure the bed is made. Add thick comfy white pillows and use foam to make the bed seem bigger and comfier than it really is. Add flowers in vases to rooms. Leave up artwork of things related to landscapes and fun things in the area.

Think about it, what makes you want to stay at a hotel? The little things can make for a great vacation: Cookies on the table, fresh clean towels, robes hanging in closets, complimentary coffee and tea, and fresh scented eucalyptus.

Before letting people tour your house, make sure to remove any smudges or scratch marks from counters and walls.

Before letting people tour your house, make sure to remove any smudges or scratch marks from counters and walls.

4. Scrub Down Walls and Counters

Buy a few magic erasers and go around the house cleaning off any marks you see. The cleaner your home looks, the better. If you had kids in your home, you may have walls that have been touched by crayons and markers. If you haven't given your kitchen a deep clean in a while, it could spell disaster when people tour your home. Stains will be noticeable.

I spent a ton of time going around our house after we bought it. I spent hours cleaning up scratch marks. There were a lot more smudges than I thought. The marks weren't a dealbreaker for me, but they could have been for someone else. A professional cleaning can make your house more appealing.

If you have old outlet covers, now is the time to update them. Old, yellowing outlet covers will make your house look ancient.

If you have old outlet covers, now is the time to update them. Old, yellowing outlet covers will make your house look ancient.

5. Buy New Outlet Cover Plates and Doorknobs

If you have an old home, you might have some yellow outlet covers and ancient doorknobs. These are inexpensive items, but they can help a house go from old to contemporary. These are also items that are easy to DIY.

The little details will stay in buyers' minds. A house that looks like it's up to date will more than likely be up to code. Unless your house has historic value, skip the Victorian doorknobs.

Replace old outlet covers with generic white ones. Don't try to get creative here. An outlet cover that's trying too hard could be offputting.

Tighten doorknobs around the house. You don't want a buyer to open a door and realize the knob is loose. Buyers don't like it when they find problems in the initial walkthrough. It makes them wonder what problems they're not seeing.

A damaged wall like this isn't an aesthetic. You need to fix stuff like this.

A damaged wall like this isn't an aesthetic. You need to fix stuff like this.

6. Repair Holes or Tears in Walls

Don't leave holes in the walls. If you have damage to the house, you want to address it before buyers show up. It's really easy to spackle walls and paint over them. For big holes, you might need wall joint compound.

I know there is a big push to make rooms look neutral, but this can also be unappealing to people as they realize how much beige paint they have to cover up. The key is to make things as uniform as possible, which means you don't want any holes, jagged edges, or sudden changes to your aesthetics.

A big hole in a wall could also make people think you punched the wall, and then they might not want to work with you because they think you're overly aggressive. You want your house to come off sweet and inviting, not like the hideaway cove for Fight Club.

7. Replace Window Screens

When it comes to making your house look more attractive, you want to fix the little things. Chipped tiles, holes in walls, and cracked screens can give buyers the wrong impression.

The good news: Window screens are affordable. It may depend on the type of window(s) you have, but new screens can cost as low as $10 on Amazon. They're easy to install, and it's a pretty standard item, meaning its easy to match. I've added a video above on how to install new window screens.

It's also a good idea to clean window screens and windowsills. Get rid of random crud and/or spiderwebs.

You don't need to go bonkers to create curb appeal. A trimmed yard and well-placed bushes can make all the difference. It will make the house look like it has been well maintained.

You don't need to go bonkers to create curb appeal. A trimmed yard and well-placed bushes can make all the difference. It will make the house look like it has been well maintained.

8. Curb Appeal

You have a better chance of selling a home with a yard that's in great shape over one that's in poor shape. Make sure you're up to date on bug maintenance, you don't want people to spot an anthill or wasp nest while they're at your house. Get rid of any standing water.

You want your lawn mowed. Remove any miscellaneous junk. Add plants that smell good! When it comes to appealing to buyers, you want your home to be attractive to all five senses. Translation: You want your home to smell good on the inside and outside.

Trim bushes, rake leaves, sweep away dirt, and keep your patio furniture organized. Look for areas that might need a little bit of paint or have loose screws. A deck that's recently stained will win people over more so than a deck that's noticeably aged.

Add a flowerbed around your mailbox. Make your home seem inviting; you want people to think it's a safe place to raise a family.

New light fixtures can make a room go from old-fashioned to dazzling. You don't have to buy something as fancy as the chandelier in this picture. Head to Lowe's or Home Depot and check out the light section.

New light fixtures can make a room go from old-fashioned to dazzling. You don't have to buy something as fancy as the chandelier in this picture. Head to Lowe's or Home Depot and check out the light section.

9. Update Light Fixtures

Heads up: This has the potential to get expensive because it may take an electrician to rewire lights.

When someone tours your home, you want the lighting to be excellent. Don't leave rooms dim and dark. Light fixtures that have been around since the '80s need to go. This goes for both interior and exterior lights.

What do you think is going to be more appealing? Old lights that remind people of their parents' or grandparents' house or lighting features that are in vogue? Take a trip to Home Depot or Lowe's and look around at the lights. This will give you an idea of what modern lights look like.

Add new lightbulbs to fixtures, so that when people turn on the lights, you don't run the risk of a lightbulb going bad or being too dim.

10. Improve Exterior Lighting

It's not just indoor lighting that can allure homebuyers, exterior lighting can make your home look more sophisticated. Plus, it provides better security. One little light by the front door isn't enough anymore.

You may need to hire an electrician to install new lights outside. Consider how you can add landscape lighting. Your home will look more contemporary with up-to-date lighting, and you want your home to look contemporary when you're trying to sell it.

For tips on how to improve your lighting, please refer to the video above.

Homebuyers love it when houses have ceiling fans, especially ones that are noiseless.

Homebuyers love it when houses have ceiling fans, especially ones that are noiseless.

11. Add Ceiling Fans

Again, you may have to hire an electrician. Homebuyers want to know that their future home will have good air circulation and ventilation. With more hot days on the calendar each year, it's pertinent to have ceiling fans and air conditioning.

A fan-delier is growing in popularity. It combines fan blades with a chandelier. It looks fashionable, and it provides a room with elegant lighting.

An easy no fuss ceiling fan installation will cost around $144 to $360. If the installation is complex, it can cost as much as $600.

12. Add Another Room or More Space

Not only can adding another room make your house more attractive, but it also is one of the best things to do to raise your property value. The more square footage, the better. You could take out an extra wall. You could add storage spaces like closets or a window seat with cabinets.

Taking down a wall is a lot less expensive than adding an entire room. You may also have to work with your HOA if you add a room.

Check the appliances in your kitchen. Are they energy savers or energy guzzlers? Homebuyers are more interested in green appliances, and this trend is likely to stay for a long time.

Check the appliances in your kitchen. Are they energy savers or energy guzzlers? Homebuyers are more interested in green appliances, and this trend is likely to stay for a long time.

13. Energy Saving Appliances

People are finally getting on the green trend, and it's partly because saving energy makes for a cheaper bill. One way you can make your home appealing to buyers is to have ENERGY STAR appliances in your kitchen. People will want a stove, dishwasher, and fridge. If these appliances are up to date and energy efficient, you're in a good spot.

Windows that are ENERGY STAR will also be appealing. People want a home that's both beautiful and affordable. The average person wants to save money, so these perks make them happy.

It's advised to paint a house in neutral colors when trying to sell it. The popular colors for houses are beige, gray, and white. I recommend white because it looks fresh.

It's advised to paint a house in neutral colors when trying to sell it. The popular colors for houses are beige, gray, and white. I recommend white because it looks fresh.

14. Opt for Neutral Tones

You don't want interested buyers to be distracted by funky paint colors or awkward wallpaper. An older house may have rooms with these issues. I would suggest painting a house in a light neutral color. Leave walls alone if they've never been painted.

If you have rooms that you recently painted and their color looks good, I wouldn't immediately rush in to paint them. People will have their own interests, but it might be more hassle than it's worth to paint a red room a neutral color.

Smart buyers will look for a house that fits their needs, so the color won't necessarily dissuade them if your home has the right amount of rooms and amenities. You more than likely have a problem if your house has an absurd color design that's all over the place. For instance, I was very turned off by a house that had lime green walls, but it definitely wasn't the only problem.

15. Incorporate a Mosaic into Your Home

My recommendation when it comes to adding artistic features to your home would be to focus on the bathroom and kitchen. A mosaic could be something you add to the floor, walls, a bathtub, a fireplace, or a nook that doesn't have any particular use.

Mosaics can bring life into a room. They can make something that looks old and worn-out look new and sophisticated. A mosaic of a geometric design or compass will give your entranceway a more dramatic welcome. I have a friend who has something like this in their house, and it makes it seem like a more expensive property.

If you use the right company, a mosaic will withstand decades, if not centuries, of wear and tear. Mozaico is one company I've used in the past for artwork. Their instructions for assembly are clear, and the company is eager to help. Any project you have in mind for a mosaic, they'll know what to do.

Adding a mosaic to your pool is one way you can make yours stand out in a neighborhood of pools. Mosaic tile art isn't porous; it won't grow algae or mold.

An area designated for a fire pit with seating will be attractive to homebuyers, especially if you have a yard with a lovely view.

An area designated for a fire pit with seating will be attractive to homebuyers, especially if you have a yard with a lovely view.

16. Install an Outdoor Firepit

If you have room in your backyard, a renovation that could also attract buyers is a centralized backyard hangout. A firepit area with designated seating, bricked walls, and flooring comes off fancy. It's a space that people would dream to have. I recommend adding something like this well before you consider selling your home.

An outdoor firepit area isn't as overwhelming as a pool, which requires a lot of maintenance. A firepit area will cause buyers to daydream about the parties they could have. It could also make your yard look more special and stand out from the homes that have less than memorable yards.

People love places where they can gather with others, have dinner, read a book, or study. A large patio that's in good condition is appealing to homebuyers.

People love places where they can gather with others, have dinner, read a book, or study. A large patio that's in good condition is appealing to homebuyers.

17. Add a Patio Space

Since the pandemic, people desire spaces where they can sit, relax, unwind, get away from others, drink their coffee, and watch their kids and pets play. Patio spaces are appealing, so if you don't really have one, you may want to consider adding one. Sprucing up your patio can make your house look more inviting and desirable.

Patios are somewhat simple to build since they're directly on the ground, and not a raised project like a deck. Patios are ideal if you have a scenic view. You want to showcase that there is a spot to watch the sunrise or sunset over your lake or mountain. Just keep in mind, the bigger the patio. . . the more it's going to cost you.

One way to wow homebuyers is to renovate the laundry room. A washer and dryer that can rest vertically on each other will help create more space. Shelves, cabinets, and drawers will help optimize storage.

One way to wow homebuyers is to renovate the laundry room. A washer and dryer that can rest vertically on each other will help create more space. Shelves, cabinets, and drawers will help optimize storage.

18. Remodel the Laundry Room

Instead of the typical boxy laundry room that leaves no impression, try to make your laundry room something that will make people excited to do laundry. Think built-in shelves, cabinets, and places to hang clothing. The laundry room should look like a glorified closet for you and your family.

You want to make this room look spacious and as though there is plenty of storage. Improve the lighting of this often neglected room. Paint the walls and upgrade the flooring if it is lackluster.

Remodeling a bathroom can breathe new life into your home. Consider how you can add more space, get more lighting, and put in a fancier bathtub or shower.

Remodeling a bathroom can breathe new life into your home. Consider how you can add more space, get more lighting, and put in a fancier bathtub or shower.

19. Remodel Bathrooms

There are two main areas homebuyers examine when they tour a house: the kitchen and the bathrooms. If you have money to spare, it might be time to upgrade your bathrooms. Consider adding new faucet fixtures. Get rid of old and decaying tiles and replace them with something more contemporary.

Here are some other ideas:

  • Install new towel racks.
  • Insta