Getting Ready To Sell? DIY Improvement Tips

Home seller tips

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Published date: Dec 27, 2016

diy graphic conceptFrom Dallas to Dubuque, homesellers DIY their way to speedy, satisfactory sales - but what should you focus on and what should you leave to the pros?

If you are preparing to sell your home and are looking at doing a bit of remodeling first, make sure the work you do doesn't reduce your profit on the sale - or worse, eradicate it completely by running far over budget and being less than professional.

Did you Plan Ahead?

Set a solid budget for the entire house, deduct 20% for overages, and use that number as your starting point. Allocate funds first to the rooms most in need of help - or, if there's nothing urgent, to the areas proven to increase your home's value and the likelihood of a sale - the bathrooms and kitchen. An idea for a new bay window in the living room is nice, but won't provide the bang for your buck that adding a bathroom will.

Tile Floor

If you plan to DIY your tile, be prepared for a learning curve. The grout lines will be the barometer of how well you've done, so don't speed through or cut corners. Plan the layout before you start cutting and lay the floor down dry with spacers before adhering it. Sound like a lot of work? It is. If man hours aren't part of your budget, consider how much your time is worth.

Custom Counters

Again, measure twice, buy once, and install with care. Think about the other items in the kitchen such as stove top, oven, sink, fridge, and available outlets. Also take into consideration required clearances. It's a sinking feeling to try to open the door to a corner cabinet and find there's no clearance and it hits the wall. This might not be the best DIY project to cut your teeth on.


A kitchen can pop with all new appliances, so think about this instead of trying to fix old ones yourself. Consider watching for sales or bundles and spending your time on other tasks to save money elsewhere.

Time is Money

If you are paying two mortgages, your old home costs you money every month it sits unsold. If you get bogged down in renovations, you could eat all of your profit up before the house hits the market.

Know when you're Beat

There's no shame in calling in the pros once you realize you just weren't meant to do crown molding. Don't let misplaced pride keep you struggling futilely longer than necessary.

Renovations can be fun, but they can also be a money suck and enormously time consuming. At the end of it, what if the new owner hates the very thing you spent all that cash and effort on? Best to play it safe, take the route of "most likely to pay off", ensure you keep floor layouts and color schemes neutral and simple, and bank on the new owners finding their own ways to make the home have a personality they'll love.

Tallahassee may inspire a sun and sand theme and Wyoming a wild west feel, but don't forget to think outside of the box and remember that a transplant might love the chance to bring a little of their own familiarity along. Make sure everything you do can be tweaked by the new owners.


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