Top 10 Affordable DIY Upgrades When Selling Your Property!

Ok, so you are ready to put your house on the market and you want to do a few things to bring it up to date. Here are my top 10 recommendations I feel will go a long way in the overall appeal of your home, without costing the bank. And… they are all projects, that even if you are not typically the ‘handy’ type, are easy enough that you might just be able to handle it on your own. If not, you may just know someone who would be happy to lend a helping hand. 

If doing it on you own is not an option, hiring someone may be necessary, but handy people are everywhere, and the internet is a wealth of information on ‘DIY’ so do some research and you can almost always learn how to do the task to save yourself, to save some money. 

1. Door Handles

Lever Door Handle, Stainless Steel, Brushed Nickel, door knob, door handle, lever style handle, lever handle,

Classic Style

Is your door handle dated, chipped or ready to fall off? If so, have these replaced! I’m not just talking about the interior door handles, I mean the entrance one’s as well – especially the front door! Your front door is your first impression and your potential buyer has to physically grab the handle to get inside. If your handle is tough to open, or the paint is flaking, it will set a negative tone right from the get go!

The interior doors are equally important, make no mistake, although most of your interior doors will already be open, they add to the overall appeal of the space.

Everything adds up!!

My interior door handle recommendation is always the Lever Style Handle – since some provinces in Canada have already banned the round handle, why not get a head start and be up to speed with new regulations that are now already in place.

2. Heating Vent Covers

A silly little thing like a heating vent cover is all too often overlooked, but has got to be the easiest thing to replace. Over and over again, I see rusted, grimy vents.

In my opinion, this poses a health concern, if the air that I breath is passing through a dirty, rusted vent cover, I’m not impressed! They are super cheap to buy, and anyone – I mean anyone can take the old one out and plug in a new one! 

3. Bathroom Ceiling Fans 

Bathroom, bathroom fans, fans, bathroom ventilation, ventilation fans for your bathroom

Proper Ventilation Looks Good!

Ok, if your bathroom fan drowns out your voice when you turn it on, it’s time to invest in a new one.

This particular upgrade may at times be a bit more pricy. They can start as low as $30 and go up, depending on the quality. Here you may want to get a trade specialist in, but I have to say, it is well worth it. A bathroom fan that operates poorly, tells me that it’s not doing it’s job and condensation is a concern; could there be mould due to poor ventilation. 

Aside from the working condition of your fan, you may be looking at the exterior condition of the fan cover. If it is dirty, clean it. Pop the cover off, soak it in a mild detergent, let dry and replace. It’s as easy as 123! Replace the cover if need be, but do not overlook this simple, yet important task. 


4. Wall Outlets and Switches

If you wall outlets and light switches look like they belong in the stone age, replace them! When they are overlooked, you buyer may question the entire electrical system in your house – you really do not want that sort of question looming in your buyer’s minds. Plus, you want to avoid giving them any possible chance of negotiating price.

I recommend, that even if your outlets and switches are a slightly older style, replace them with a more modern version, it looks better aesthetically and will appear as though you upgrading to modern technology. 

This is a bit more technical than replacing floor vents I agree, but I still consider it a simple task in the grand scheme of things.

5. Mailbox 

mailbox, wall mounted mailbox, black mailbox

Nice and neat looks better

Take a look at the condition of your mailbox if you have one. 

If it is faded, rusted or dirty, either replace it or clean/paint it! This will help with your buyers first impression! A small and affordable way to enhance your curb appeal.  Curb appeal is key, so even though this is a small detail, it will still make a good, first impression. 




6. House Numbers

How many times have you been driving down the street looking for the house number and you can’t see it! This is so frustrating. Be sure that your house number is easy to see.

Because you are selling your house, consider splurging and getting something attractive. At times, house numbers can be part of the exteriors design aesthetic, so don’t be afraid to be creative. 

7. Welcome Mats

welcome mat, our chateau, entry mat,

Words speak volumes!

So your potential buyers walks up to the door and what do they see? A dirty old, used up, welcome mat, not good! You’ve heard me mention curb appeal and first impression often throughout this article because not only is it your buyer’s first impression, but it is also your buyers last impression. Where they enter they must exit. 

If you don’t have a welcome mat, I recommend you get one. Nothing says welcome like a ‘welcome mat’ and they can add some colour, texture and interest to the front of your property. 



8. Lighting

entrance, entrance lighting, lighting, pendant lights, hanging lights, light bulbs, chandeliers,

Bright entry lighting is important.

Whether we are talking indoor or outdoor, your lighting should be bright and be consistent. Have a look around your house and notice if all of the bulbs are the same colour. You might be surprised to see that one light fixture has two different coloured bulbs in it. Or you may have two fixtures in the same room with different coloured lighting. Be sure that the light your fixture casts, is consistent throughout your house.

Replace burnt bulbs and steer away from anything that takes time to warm up. I also recommend you clean your bulbs, you will be surprised to notice a difference in the quality of the light when they are clean. 

If you have lamp shades that are coloured and are casting a coloured glow around the room, replace them with white/ivory shades. This will not only make the space brighter, but it will help with your online photos as well. 

Lighting affects everything from the design aesthetic, to the colour scheme of your space, so ensure that it is working for you, not against you. 

9. Bathroom Mirrors

bathroom, bathroom mirror, bathroom pedestal sink, claw foot tub,

You can keep it simple.

In many cases, bathroom mirrors are a problem. Often, they are mounted to the wall with clamps and are frameless and sometimes this causes water to wick up behind the mirror causing the mirror to deteriorate around the edges. You will want to replace the mirror in this case. Allowing something like this to be overlooked, for such an easy fix is unnecessary, and really shows the bathrooms age. 

Bathroom mirrors are at eye level, so be sure to address it if is looking tired, dated, or in need of repair. There are so many affordable, yet attractive options on the market today. 

10. Cabinet Door Knobs

cabinet hardware, cabinet knobs, bubble knobs, cabinet pulls, bathroom cabinet hardware, bathroom cabinet pulls,

They can be decorative too!

Even if you have a dated kitchen or bathroom, replacing the cabinet hardware is an easy, affordable way to lend the slightest of upgrades to your kitchen or bathroom. They see so much use, and are often broken, damaged in some way, or are plain old ugly! Get rid of them and buy something that will compliment the space with a more modern vibe – as long as it is in keeping with the design scheme. 

Be sure to measure the distance between the holes before you go out and make your purchase.




Honestly, this list could go on and on, but I wanted to highlight some key areas where by, implementing some modern upgrades, will be sure to enhance your properties appeal. You know the expression – ‘It’s the little things that make a big difference’. Use this ideal when you go through your home and ready it for sale. 

Your buyers will notice that your home is well maintained! 

As always…helping you in caring for your Total Home!

I would love your feedback, tell me if you have an easy, affordable quick tip that you have found to be helpful when readying your house for sale.


Cindy Lutes – Professional Property Stylist – Transforming Interiors to a Space You Will be Proud of!

APSD – Certified Staging Professional

Graduate of The Interior Design Institute

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