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The story usually goes something like this: you’re selling your house and you want to make the most you can from the sale. You decide to undergo a large scale kitchen or bathroom renovation so that you can add a few thousand dollars to the list price.

While you may be able to sell for a higher dollar value, you won’t ever get back all of the money you spent on these (or any!) large scale projects. That’s why we’ve come up with five handy renovations that make a big difference in your house and that will recover all the cash you spent. Read on to learn what helps sell a house.

  1. Make Improvements to Your Curb Appeal

According to a study done by the National Association of Realtors, many curb appeal updates can get you a pretty large return on investment. In fact, according to our research, making changes to your curb appeal has the best return on investment of all home improvement projects.

At minimum, you should freshen up your exterior and groom your lawn.

In the NAR report, seeding the lawn saw the highest return (317%) of all other remodeling projects. Planting new grass seed makes your lawn lush and green and invites buyers into your home. Make sure to seed your lawn with plenty of time before you list, because grass can take anywhere from a week to a month to grow. You’ll need to mow the lawn after you grow some gorgeous grass!

Don’t spend a fortune re-painting the exterior of your house. Though a fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into faded or dirty siding, you won’t recoup the cost of the new paint job. Plus, you could pick a color the new owner doesn’t like, and they’ll spend money repainting the house anyway.

The solution for a fresh exterior is a good powerwash. You can buy your own pressure washer at a home improvement store for about $150 or call in the professionals. You’ll be surprised at how clean the house looks when all is said and done!

  1. DIY Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

Stop! Don’t tear out your old kitchen cabinets! You should only replace them if the wood is rotted or the cabinets have deteriorated to the point of no return. Ugly, dated cabinets? We can work with.

Clean, bright cabinets can transform an entire kitchen. Breathe new life into your old cabinets with a little elbow grease.

First, clean out all cabinets with a solution of Murphy Oil Soap and hot water. If they need further cleaning, scrub them out with a sponge and some Softscrub.

Then, polish them up with Howard Feed-in-Wax and switch out all knobs to a matching, shiny chrome. New cabinet pulls instantly update the space.

If the cabinets still don’t look right? Sand them down and apply a coat of white cabinet paint in a satin finish.

  1. Paint the Inside Beige

Your house should look as fresh as a newly remodeled house on HGTV’s Fixer Upper. To get that level of clean, the best investment you can make is on a new paint job in the interior. If you feel comfortable painting the house yourself to save even more money, go right ahead! Just make sure you:

-Pick an inoffensive shade of beige that all buyers will appreciate

-Use blue painters tape to get sharp, clean lines between the walls and ceiling

-Cut along the line with an exacto knife before you remove the tape

If you hire a professional, it costs around $400 to paint each room.

  1. Install or Polish Hardwood Floors

Though you won’t make money on installing new hardwood floors (this project has a 0% return on investment), many buyers see hardwood floors as a must have in a home. By adding (or fixing up existing) hardwood floors, you’ll be able to advertise your home to hardwood hungry buyers. Plus, hardwood floors photograph well and will look stunning in your list photos!

  1. Clean Everything

The best improvement you can make on your home costs you pennies compared to the positive impact it has. Clean your house from top to bottom so that buyers feel like they’ve entered a luxury hotel where they want to set down roots.

Cleaning creates a fresh slate. Evidence of your current life (magnets on the fridge, toothpaste in the sink, a full trash can, or dust) can make buyers feel like they’re entering someone else’s home. A clean space lets buyers imagine the house as their own.

After These Updates, How Much Will Your Home Sell For?

These cost effective updates can have a positive return on investment and make a great impact on potential buyers. Not only will they help buyers picture themselves in the space at the open house or during private showings, each fix helps your house look picture perfect for MLS photos.

Make sure to keep all receipts from these projects and any other updates you make. Then you can calculate how much you will walk away with after selling your house with an easy equation and enjoy the positive results of all your hard work!

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