From Our Associates: Inexpensive Home Improvement Tips

by McEnearney on November 1, 2018

If you start feeling restless staying indoors in the coming months, what better time to “nest” and plan some aesthetic home updates?

For many, a home is their largest investment. You can make sure you are getting the most value and enjoyment, either for yourself or before selling, by considering some quick spruce-up projects.

These do not have to be expensive updates or daunting tasks! Grab your interior designer hat and check out the inexpensive fixer-upper tips below from our Associates.

Also, see our first post in this series on quick home maintenance tips from our Associates for more home improvement ideas.


For Interior Spaces

Large three car house garage interior

Consider All Surfaces and Floors


“One area of advice is if the kitchen is nicely renovated—which generally attracts one of the purchasers—then the other purchaser would likely appreciate a professionally painted garage floor which gives it a refreshed look. This is huge! It conveys the home has been cared for and it turns an older grubby extension of the home into an instantly desirable space—almost too nice to park a car! I would highly recommend Eric at Garage Ovation (571-217-2806). He can turn any floor into something remarkable!
I also think having the windows professionally cleaned inside and out makes a huge impact for a minimal investment and takes just a few hours.”

Karen Martins, McLean Office


“Make sure that your kitchens and bathrooms shine. Buyers want to picture themselves in your home, rather than being distracted by changes and updates they feel are required.

Countertops are the first thing potential buyers notice when they walk into your kitchen. If they are Formica, scratched, chipped or totally out of date, a few thousand dollars will make a huge difference. If your sink is scratched, the faucets or cabinet knobs are dated, or you have a 20-year-old microwave… change them.

Take an objective look at your floors. Are the hardwoods in good shape, or do they need attention? How about your carpets? A few thousand dollars can make a big difference to a potential buyer.”

Lisa Groover, Alexandria Office


Ajar white door to the bathroom. Series switch on a light gray w

Update Door Details


“Whether you’re wanting to refresh your home’s look, or getting it ready to list it for sale, a quick and relatively inexpensive upgrade is to change all the interior door levers. In selecting a new door lever, consider a more contemporary look with straight lines. Be sure that the finish matches the door hinges (e.g., satin nickel, polished chrome, brass, etc.), or you may want to change both hinges and levers.

You can even be creative by coordinating the new lever with a wood floor finish. I was inspired by an ad for very high-end door hardware I saw in a magazine that incorporated wood in the handle (wood faceplate), but needless to say, I wasn’t going to pay $1200 for one door lever! Instead, I ordered two dozen Avalon 0550 door levers that come with peel-on faux wood stain that fits on the handle.  Although the hardware was of high quality, I wasn’t satisfied with the look of the stick-on wood veneer. So, I purchased a roll of unfinished oak veneer strip (.75″ wide) and stained it using the same stain that was on my wood floor, and sealed it with a varnish. I then used a paper cutter to get the right dimensions with straight edges for each oak strip and used two-sided craft tape to adhere it to the handle.  I got an amazing high-end look for less than 3% of the cost!”

Susan Hume, Alexandria Office


“An inexpensive project that I recommend to everyone… If your interior door hardware is tarnished, change the handles and hinges to something more current.”

Lisa Groover, Alexandria Office


luxury apartment

Refresh the Lighting


“One thing that I do is change out all of the lightbulbs to the GE HD Daylight bulbs, as they emit bright white light and make the rooms seem much brighter and larger.”

Delaine Campbell, Alexandria Office


“Another inexpensive project I recommend to everyone… Take a look at your lighting. Changing a 20-year-old ceiling fixture is extremely inexpensive and updates the look of your home.”

Lisa Groover, Alexandria Office


Automatic washing machines in laundry

Overall, Aim for Clean and Fresh


“Replace toilet seats. Replace vent covers in HVAC registers. Paint inside closets. Replace plate covers for electrical switch plates and outlets.”

Betsy Twigg, Arlington Office


“For a quick fixer-upper, replace your laundry sink and faucet (if it looks old) and wipe down all of your HVAC equipment and water heater. Remove rust stains from washer/dryer (if any), and change the filter in the HVAC and leave 2 extras visible.  If it smells musty, install an air freshener that smells like laundry. Doing all this gives buyers the sense that you are taking care of your home. A fresh coat of paint always gives buyers a sense of newness.”

Delaine Campbell, Alexandria Office


For Exterior Spaces

Cheerful woman applying protective varnish or paint on wooden ho

Clean Up All The Details


“When I am working with a seller to determine high impact but inexpensive “fixer-upper” projects to do before putting their house on the market, I start at the curb and walk into and through the house from top to bottom as if I were a buyer. On the outside:

You want your home to sparkle from the street and stand out from the neighboring houses.

Power wash the exterior, clean the windows inside and out, paint your front door and change to new hardware. Touch up or paint the exterior as needed.

Don’t forget the landscaping. You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

Lisa Groover, Alexandria Office


“Winterize your outside hose bibs, so that your pipes won’t freeze. Trim back bushes, plants, and tree limbs that are dead or which touch the roof. Repair torn screens and check your windows for proper operation. Powerwash your walkways, areas of the house that may need it, and your deck or patio area. If it needs to be restained, do that in the Spring before it gets hot.”

Delaine Campbell, Alexandria Office


Yellow Green Entry Door / Front Door with single cylinder entran

Associates Agree: Attention to the FRONT ENTRY


“I think painting your front door makes a great first impression in person and in pictures. Don’t forget a nice large potted plant or bright flowers.”

Laurel Conger, Alexandria Office


“My number one quick fix up is painting the front door a nice, vivid color. With a quart of paint and about an hour, a homeowner can spruce up their entry and add significant curb appeal. For added interest, flank the door with two pretty planters overflowing with seasonal flowers. Buyers will have an immediate fantastic first impression and this will set the stage for a positive showing.”

Joan Reimann, McLean Office

This entry was posted under Home Inspiration.
McEnearney Associates, Inc. REALTORS is a full service real estate company specializing in the marketing of fine properties. With residential, commercial and property management divisions, as well as a relocation department, McEnearney Associates can provide you with professional assistance with all your real estate needs. McEnearney Associates, Inc. REALTORS serves the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. As a member of the Leading Real Estate Companies, McEnearney Associates also serves the world.

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