Getting the most for your home doesn’t require a complete remodel, but it does require attention to detail and commitment to getting it in tiptop shape.  You probably want to figure out which home improvements actually pay off when investing in your home. According to house flipper, Brian Trow, one of the first places to begin is with de-cluttering your home. Not only does this give you a chance to see its condition up close, it also gives prospective buyers the opportunity to envision their things in your home.


Weed out unused items and donate them to charity, hold a yard sale or put them in storage away from the home, if you must, but do not let useless objects clutter your home. This means going through closets, kitchen cabinets and cleaning out under the bathroom sink, too. It may seem like an unnecessary chore but the effort will be worth it when you see the look on prospective buyers faces as they visit your home. Remember buyers are looking for how your home will serve their needs, looking at your clutter will only confuse the issue.

declutter house

The Kitchen

Now that you have de-cluttered and gotten rid of unused items, getting your kitchen in shape will be much easier. Paint the cabinets and replace the drawer pulls to give it a fresh, clean look. Paint walls in light colors to emphasize space and give the illusion of fresh air and cleanliness. Select traditional drawer pulls, as they are more likely to appeal to nearly anyone. Although the cute butterflies and flowers might be your idea of adorable kitchen décor, not everyone views them that way.

Replace the flooring if it is badly worn; otherwise, give it a good scrubbing and a coat of wax to create a sparkling floor. Thoroughly clean all the kitchen appliances, or replace them if feasible. Clean, functional appliances are a must in the kitchen.

the kitchen


Removing unnecessary items form the vanity and displaying matching towels enhances the appearance when prospective buyers tour your home. Again, add a fresh coat of paint in a light color is in order to make your bathroom sparkle. Install a new shower curtain and add a matching bathmat to complete the image of a well cared for bathroom worthy of new owners. Even adding a fresh roll of toilet paper enhances the appearance of the bathroom.



A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for any wall, and bedrooms and hallways are no exception. Choose light colors for areas that receive little light from outside to make them appear brighter and larger. Sunny rooms can stand darker colors. Choose one or two complementary colors for walls throughout the house, as too many colors can be distracting. Although you will want to add some photos or artwork to the walls after painting them, beware of overwhelming the space with too many objects. Buyers like to envision the wall as a blank slate for their own artwork.



Badly worn floors may need replacing; otherwise, shampooing carpets and scrubbing tile floors until they shine improve the perceived value of your home.

floors design

Household Repairs

Leaky faucets, sticking doors and groaning pipes may have become endearing to you, but prospective buyers aren’t likely to share your sentimental smiles. Repairing anything that doesn’t work as expected increases the value of your home.

Household Repairs


A fresh coat of paint, especially on the front door, insures the first impression is a positive one. Siding should be washed to remove any traces of dust or residue from nearby trees.  Adding window boxes overflowing with fresh flowers, manicuring the lawn and power washing the driveway also improve the perceived value of your home. Take a moment to step back and view your home as though it were for the first time.

Remove weeds along walkways, trim shrubs and hedges and reseed the lawn if necessary. While you may be accustomed to the gangly rose bush that aunt Bertha gave you for your anniversary, prospective buyers may see it as an eyesore. Think like a buyer and look for areas that might cause concern.

Create an outside seating area surrounded by fragrant flowers and herbs in the backyard to complete the picture of a dream house just waiting for the new buyers to move in.

house outside design

When preparing your home for sale or putting your home up for real estate listings, keep in mind that new buyers are looking for a home to call their own. Although their tastes may differ from yours, presenting an orderly home in good working order gives them the opportunity to envision themselves enjoying life in their new home.

Nannette Richford is a freelance writer from rural Maine where she lives with her family. When not writing about gardening, she can be found working in her garden where she has grown flowers, herbs and vegetables for over 25 years. Richford has extensive writing experience in gardening and landscape and has been published in influential online industry publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate), Garden Guides and Yahoo! Shine. She also publishes her own website Maine Garden Ideas. Connect with Nannette on Google+ and Twitter.