5 DIY Tricks to Prep Your Home for Sale

Modern kitchen with white cabinets

By Natalie Wilson, Flyhomes Client Advisor

When you look at your home, you see the memories you’ve made there. But when potential buyers look at it, they imagine their own lives in the space … and they’ll find imperfections you’ve gotten used to looking past. With a little work, you can make a big difference in your home’s appeal to buyers, especially the one who will fall in love with it the same way you did.   

Paint your kitchen cabinets

While time consuming, taking your kitchen cabinets from outdated to a fresh white or classic black with a simple DIY paint job can be very impactful. That said, when choosing a color it’s important to keep in mind the other finishes in your house, especially any tile backsplashes, current countertops and your kitchen flooring. Neutral colors will appeal to the most buyers.  Check out Making Pretty Spaces for some great DIY cabinet-painting tips and advice for supplies.

Change out old hardware

If you already have neutral cabinets or a color that just works, or you want to take your cabinet DIY to the next level, replacing hardware is a great step to give your kitchen and even bathrooms an update. It can also be cheap! Whether you invest with great pieces from stores like Rejuvenation or Schoolhouse, or get some modern handles from Amazon for a steal, hardware makes a big impact on the look of the kitchen. 

Keep in mind: if you end up changing the style and size significantly, you could end up with empty holes in your cabinet faces. It’s easy enough to fill these with wood filler and sand the filler down, but you really want to do it before you paint. If you aren’t painting, it might be best to stick with styles in the same sizes. With a little digging on the internet, you can find the perfect option. 

Hang affordable art 

Flamingo and ocean prints on coral wall

People ask me all the time how this could possibly be cost effective. Art? For a house I’m selling? If you aren’t professionally staging, however, a couple of well-placed pieces can make your house seem a lot more expensive. The trick is one word: prints! 

Artwork is more accessible than ever with Etsy, Society 6 and Juniper Print (to name only a few!) delivering art to your house with just a couple clicks. You can even find downloadable prints that look amazing if you have a high-quality printer. 

If you’re more of an in-person shopper, HomeGoods can be a great source for larger pieces that are sometimes even framed. 

Just try to keep it calming, pretty and non-religious or political to impress the largest number of buyers. Also make sure it makes sense with the colors in the rest of your house. 

Worried about sticking holes in your walls? Command hooks made for hanging art are a stager’s best kept secret. Just be sure to test them out a week or more before listing and double check that the weight capacity matches. Art crashing in the middle of a showing won’t be the best experience for buyers! 

Worried about the price of framing? IKEA has several inexpensive frame options in standard print sizes, or pick out a frame at Goodwill for a fraction of the price and just swap out the art. Or, look for canvas prints (no frame needed!) or try a site like Minted, where you can find gorgeous prints already framed for an affordable total price. 

Update wall colors

This is truly one of the most important updates you can do, and also maybe the cheapest. If you do one DIY for your house from this list do this one! Of the fifty-plus homes I’ve sold in the last several years, I can’t stress enough how many buyers will look over a house for paint color and paint color alone. 

It seems counter-intuitive to paint before leaving a home, but bad paint is like dressing your house in a bad outfit … it’s just visually hard for people to get past. “Bad” doesn’t always mean “ugly!” Often, people just have different tastes, so going neutral is a smart move. Of course, picking colors can always be tricky, but you’re usually safe with a grey, greige or white. 

Does your home have warm finishes throughout (more of yellows and browns)? Go for a greige like Repose Grey or Agreeable Grey by Sherwin Williams, or Silver Drop by Behr. 

Direct-to-consumer paint companies like Clare and Backdrop have made it their business to cut down on the number of options so the ones that they offer are almost universally appealing. And they ship large removable adhesive samples to you. 

Of course, test samples until you feel confident and look at the swatches throughout the day and on different walls. Light matters and a color on one wall can look totally different on another!

Touch up doors, trim and baseboards

Taking care of the “frame” of a room can add up to sore muscles and requires serious patience, but buyers notice wear and tear on baseboards, doors, and trim (including window casings). Scratches, scuffs, and dings can translate into perceiving that the home isn’t being cared for and set them on alert for other problems. 

You’ll want to fill in any dents or holes, sand, and then paint. White is the way to go in almost every home as it makes the whole room immediately brighter. 

Just be careful with carpet. You’ll want to do your research with tutorials like this one and  this one on how to paint trim and not end up with evidence on your flooring. Some DIYers even say to go so far as taking the trim out, painting and putting back in place.

Want more DIY tips? Here are five other favorites.

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