Karen Lawley | Revere Real Estate, Malden Real Estate, Lynn Real Estate, Boston Real Estate


If you intend to list your house in the weeks to come, you may want to complete a wide range of home improvements. That way, you can transform your ordinary house into an awe-inspiring residence, increasing the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

Although you may have lofty expectations for your home improvement projects, it is important to note that performing myriad home repairs can be costly. And if you're not careful, you risk overspending to upgrade your residence.

Fortunately, it can be easy to establish a home improvement budget – here are three tips to help you develop an effective home improvement budget.

1. Determine Which Areas of Your House That You Want to Improve

When it comes to crafting a home improvement budget, it is important to differentiate between major and minor home repairs. By doing so, you'll be better equipped than ever before to budget for assorted home maintenance projects.

A kitchen overhaul or bathroom renovation may be considered a major home improvement. Conversely, updating the color of your bedroom may be a minor home improvement. If you assess the major and minor home improvements that you want to perform, you can put together an appropriate budget.

Of course, you should take an objective look at you house to decide which areas that you want to improve. With an objective view, you can identify various home issues, determine how much money will be required to fix these problems and budget accordingly.

2. Examine the Home Improvement Funds at Your Disposal

In all likelihood, you only have a finite amount of money at your disposal. Luckily, regardless of how much money you have, you should be able to establish an effective home improvement budget.

Oftentimes, it helps to get multiple quotes from home improvement professionals. If you receive a variety of quotes, you may find that you can save money on home repairs, as well as stick to a tight home improvement budget.

It also may be cost-effective to complete simple home improvement projects on your own. If you possess the skills and know-how to perform quick, easy home repairs, you may be able to enhance your house without putting a dent in your home improvement budget.

3. Set Home Improvement Priorities

Priorities are important, particularly if you need to put together a home improvement budget. It generally is a good idea to set priorities for different home improvement projects. Then, you can allocate the necessary time and resources to complete home improvement tasks in order of priority.

If you plan to list your house soon, home improvements may prove to be exceedingly valuable. Home upgrades can help you differentiate your residence from the competition and enable you to achieve the optimal home selling results.

Lastly, if you need extra help prior to listing your residence, it may be beneficial to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with top-notch home improvement professionals, offer home improvement tips and insights and much more.


With all the fixing, renovating, and flipping showing on television, your standard builder grade home seems sadly lacking. When you bought it, you intended to plant yourself here for a while, to moving to a farm to get the farmhouse look isn’t in the cards. Luckily, builder-grade makes the perfect canvas to boost your basic look without busting the budget. 

Get the [Farmhouse] Look for Less

  • Beadboard: Adding beadboard along breakfast nook and dining room walls bring instant country charm. Instead of expensive solid oak beadboard, choose four-foot by eight-foot faux pressed beadboard panels from your local DIY store. Cut them in half width-wise to get two four-foot by four-foot sheets. Attached them side by side to your walls with a nail gun and glue for best results. Top it off with flat pine board and paint it all a glossy white.
  • Board and batten: This wall-treatment works best for mudrooms or hallways and adds character and charm to a plain stairway wall too. Get the look by nailing flat four to six-inch pine boards evenly spaced vertically along the wall. Leave measured room at the top and bottom for baseboard and chair rail or crown molding. Paint the boards and the wall between in a satin or semi-gloss paint in farmhouse blue, mint green or another color that speaks to you.
  • Faux shiplap: While you sometimes can find real pieces of shiplap in outlets that handle reclaimed wood, you can get a similar look using pine planks. Similar to the board and batten treatment, nail the boards onto the walls, but horizontally, with about a three-quarter inch space between them. For easier installation create a couple of spaces from scrap wood to hold your boards in place. Choose an accent wall or niche for your installation area, then paint the boards with chalk paint to give you that aged country look.
  • Butcher’s block countertops: If your budget lends itself to replacing the countertops, replace that Formica with natural butcher’s block. If solid butcher’s block is out of the question, stores like Ikea carry a bamboo version for less and Wilsonart has laminate versions with coordinated edges that are hard to tell from the real thing.
  • Fixtures and finishes: Even if you can’t afford the farmhouse-style sink, you can change out the fixtures to give you the look. Opt for bronze or coppery finished for cream or white sinks and go for brushed satin nickel to complement your stainless steel. Change out light fixtures, drawer pulls, and knobs from the “that’s-so-90s” brass ones and consider chalk-paint to give your cabinets a stress-free new look.
  • Timely trims: Finally, trim the doorways with—you guessed it—more flat pine boards. Use four-inch boards on the sides but add some drama to the top with six or eight-inch boards and a little bit of half-round to cap it off.

If you love the farmhouse style, try one or several of these steps to get a look that sets your builder-grade home apart from all the rest when it comes time to sell. For an estimate on what your re-imagined farmhouse will fetch on the market, talk to your realtor.


Among the upgrades most sought in a kitchen are new cabinets and appliances, granite, marble, or even concrete countertops, and the ubiquitous farmhouse-style sink top the list. If the expense of these renovations is out of reach, however, there are some simple changes that can give your kitchen a new look. Open shelving, for example, can breathe new life into aging wood cabinets.

If you spend much time flipping through decorating magazines or watching home-makeover shows on TV, you’ve probably seen kitchens with open shelving. As part of a kitchen remodel, it’s probably not the first thing we think about … but as an inexpensive way to upgrade the busiest room in the house, it probably deserves consideration.

The trend of open shelving creates an elegant place to display dishware, crystal, antiques, your cookbook or wine collection, dry goods, or even your canning jars. With a little time and effort, you can create this look in your kitchen.

Here’s what to do:

  • Remove the doors to some (or all) of your upper cabinets. The look is especially attractive with cabinets that line a single wall. Note: you won’t want to do this to lower cabinets that store cleaning products or that hide plumbing.
  • Carefully remove hinges. Fill any remaining holes or gouges in the cabinet faces with wood filler or a product appropriate for your cabinet material. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the best results.
  • Sand and smooth the cabinet faces. Wipe them down with a degreaser cleaner. For primer and paint to stick, the surface should not have any oil or grease.
  • Prime the entire cabinet (inside and out) with a high-quality paintable primer. Priming is important to cover darker colored wood or paint, stains, discolorations, and to hide any repairs you’ve made to the surface.
  • Paint your cabinets with a paint designed for the surface of the cabinets. Use a satin, semi-gloss, or gloss finish. Apply your paint with a small flat roller designed for smooth finishes. You’ll probably need more than one coat, so give plenty of drying time between coats, and take care to avoid drips as they will mar your elegant finish.
  • Create a new look with crown molding or specialty trim. Add a subtle geometric wallpaper to the shelf back for an interesting effect. For a farmhouse motif, use a print with fine, vertical stripes or chicken-wire design.
  • Install lighting in the cabinets to highlight your special display. If there is no power outlet nearby, use battery-operated puck lights.
  • Paint lower cabinets a complementary or contrasting color to finish out your look. Lighter upper cabinets with darker lower ones add depth and dimension to a smaller kitchen.

Finish out your look by filling the shelves with artful stacks of dishes or pottery, books, and jars of colorful nuts, seeds, peas, and beans.

If you’re upgrading your kitchen to place it on the market, seek the advice of your real estate professional on popular and trending color choices for your project.


When selling your home, you want to be able to get the largest return for your investment. And buyers are looking for their next place to call home. They are looking for a place that they can see themselves living and creating a future. And oftentimes, it’s very difficult for buyers to look beyond the cosmetics of a home, especially when viewing online. Therefore, if large investments are not in the cards for you or won’t bring a significant ROI, small home improvements are the way to go. These small improvements can take your home from blah to wow!

Let’s take a look at some of the best small home improvements that will certainly provide you with a return.  

1. Fresh coat of paint: A fresh coat of paint can make the world of a difference in a home. It can instantly brighten up a space and make the home look and feel newer—an instant plus for any seller and buyer. But be sure to choose more neutral colors as not everyone will be a fan of bold colors.

2. Adding architectural touches: Architectural features like crown molding and a chair rail can add an elegant upgrade to any home. They can be fairly inexpensive and would only take a weekend to put up.

3. Update front door: Your front door is a large part of your curb appeal. And a home’s curb appeal can leave a substantial impression on buyers. You can go the inexpensive route and add a pop of color that compliments your home’s exterior and landscaping or purchase a new door if a coat of paint won’t do the trick.

4. Add a backsplash: Backsplashes don’t have to break the bank to catch a buyer’s eye. And there are so many options from subway tile to mosaic to antique tin.

5. New hardware: Updating the hardware in your kitchen and bathroom can make the world of a difference. Adding modern hardware to cabinet doors will add a refreshing, simple update.

6. Update fixtures: Replacing old, worn down bathroom and kitchen fixtures is a very simple home improvement. Although not the cheapest of these options, they will definitely make a big difference in those rooms.Think of a home built in the 90s that has brass fixtures. The home looks very outdated and therefore worth less in the eyes of a buyer. If you update these fixtures to pewter or brushed nickel, you are instantly bringing the spaces into the 21st century and catching the appeal of buyers.

The amount of time, effort, and money that you want to put back into your home is a decision that you alone can make. It may seem silly to put more money into the home you are trying to sell, but it’s quite the opposite. Be smart about your updates and improvements. Try to think like a buyer and make updates that the majority will like and want.




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