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9 small home improvement projects that keep real estate moving

From HGTV to Instagram, people love a good transformation, and we’ve got plenty of those to show off. Pre-listing renovations and rehabs provide for great content and are incredibly important to prepare dated and dysfunctional homes for market. The most common home improvements, however, are the smaller projects—repairs and refreshes—that are necessary to get even the best-maintained homes market and move-in ready.

In case you missed it, Curbio dropped its project minimum, specifically to ensure we’re catering to the most common home improvement needs of real estate agents and their clients. We’re excited to share with you these 9 small home improvement projects that achieve amazing ROIs and really pack a punch.

1. Decluttering and cleaning

When you go to sell your home, depersonalizing it goes a long to show home buyers a blank slate in which they can imagine living their lives—rather than a lived-in home where you’ve lived yours. Decluttering and deep cleaning is a great place to start to remove the lived-in look. With low costs and huge visual impacts, deep cleaning and decluttering are recommended the most by real estate agents. According to HomeLight’s research, 98% of agents recommend decluttering and 91% recommend deep cleaning to prepare for market.

2. Landscaping and curb appeal updates

Curb appeal, which is the appeal of your home when someone views it from the curb, is incredibly important because it’s the first thing buyers see when they physically visit your home. That’s why 90% of real estate agents recommend updates to improve curb appeal before selling. Depending on the current state of a home’s exterior, boosting curb appeal can be a small or large task, but more often than not, a little cleanup can go a long way.

Two additional updates that fall under curb appeal are repairing exterior siding (recommended by 36% of agents) and painting the exterior of the home (recommended by 30% of agents).

It’s important to note that, more often than not, today’s buyers’ first impression of a home comes from viewing the online listing. This makes a home’s digital curb appeal just as, if not more important than its physical curb appeal.

3. Cleaning or replacing flooring

Over the years, carpet flooring gets stained, absorbs smells, and collects pet hair and dander. 70% of agents recommend cleaning or replacing carpet before selling. When it comes to hardwood flooring, scratches and scuffs happen. Part of why hardwood is so popular is because of its durability. In many cases, refinishing and polishing hardwood floors is all that’s necessary to make the floors look like new.

4. Interior painting

From scratches caused by moving furniture to the evidence of your three-year-old expressing their creativity, most walls don’t make it even a year without some marks. Painting is one of the most common updates recommended by real estate agents to get a home move-in ready for buyers, and it can have a tremendous visual impact (especially if paired with wallpaper removal).

Painting before selling is so common that in TV shows dating as far back as most of us can remember, there’s often a scene during which a Realtor® first visits the home. In these scenes, they tell the homeowners they’ll need to paint at a minimum. This scene is often coupled with scene of a child’s growth chart on the wall being painted over—cue the montage of happy memories in the main character’s childhood home.

We recommend choosing a neutral paint color to create a blank slate in which it’s easy for a broad set of home buyers to imagine their belongings.

5. Plumbing and electrical repairs

The overwhelming majority of today’s home buyers are looking for move-in ready homes, and the top reason home buyers choose to purchase a new-build over a previously owned home is to steer clear of home improvement projects. According to NAR research, 44% purchase a new home specifically to avoid renovations or problems with plumbing or electricity.

If you’re aware of any problems with your electrical or plumbing systems, it’s best to tackle them before listing rather than waiting for the shoe to drop during the inspection. In many cases, when the issues are uncovered during the inspection, they can cause delays to closing or even be deal killers.

6. Roofing repairs and replacements

Unless its dysfunctional many homeowners don’t think about the state of their roof on a daily—or even monthly or annual—basis. When you go to sell, it’s important to do a status check. First, consider the age of your roof. On average, roofs last between 12-30 years, so if you’ve had the same roof for 12+ years, it’s worth getting it checked out to see if pre-listing repairs or a roof replacement is in order.

Just like with plumbing and electrical issues, if you’re aware of anything wrong with your roof, it’s best to take care of the problem(s) before listing to avoid deal killers or delays to closing.

7. Kitchen refreshes

The kitchen is the heart of the home, making it a focal point for home buyers. Most kitchens can be updated to meet buyer preferences with simple refreshes, rather than full-on remodels. Painting cabinets is one way to modernize and brighten up the appearance of a home while keeping costs low and timelines short (see just how impactful painting cabinets can be in the photos below). Installing new appliances, a simple, tile backsplash, or modern, stone countertops are three additional, smaller projects that can have a sizable impact on the appearance of a kitchen.

8. Bathroom refreshes

Self-care is on-trend, which leaves many homeowners and home buyers craving updated bathrooms with clean, modern finishes. Replacing tile surround, installing new tubs and showers, and swapping vanities are great ways to increase net profit from a home sale, but there are also smaller updates you can make without breaking the bank. Reglazing (rather than replacing) tile surround can bring modern color schemes to a dated bathroom in a much more cost-effective way. Painting the existing vanity rather than swapping it for a new one is another easy and affordable update.

9. Hardware and light fixture swaps

Swapping hardware is easy, and a simple way to modernize a home’s appearance. Brushed gold, muted brass, brushed nickel, and chrome are currently on-trend, giving homeowners several options to make their home’s hardware look fresh. Swapping light fixtures can be a little more challenging than swapping hardware, but the challenge is worth it. Dated light fixtures can age any home, including those that have been updated recently.

89% of home sellers in the past three years have made update before selling. Small home improvements help homes sell faster, and for more. They also have some of the highest returns on project costs, making them particularly attractive to home sellers with an investor mindset. No matter your pre-listing project, Curbio’s got your back.

We tackle home improvement projects big and small, with no minimums or maximums tied to our pay-at-closing model. And don’t worry, the perks of pay-at-closing don’t come with a catch! We don’t charge any interest, fees, or premiums, and even offer a price-match guarantee to provide real estate agents and their clients with peace-of-mind, knowing they’ve received the best price. Finally, our services are completely turnkey, meaning neither agents nor their sellers will need to lift a finger or stress over project progress. Our Project Managers see to every detail of each Curbio project from beginning to end, providing updates to agents and sellers every step of the way via the Curbio app. Learn more about how it all works.