Watching a few evenings of HGTV and the DIY network is enough to inspire almost anyone to take on an exciting home improvement project.  If you watch these networks long enough you may even find yourself strolling through your local home improvement center hoping to be chosen for the next kitchen, bathroom or backyard “crash”.  When the dust settles, home improvement projects are about giving new life to your existing living space.  So what cosmetic home improvement projects can also have a big impact on the resale value of your home?  Gold Coast Schools, Florida leader in real estate and construction education turned to the experts to find out.

Opinions on this subject vary widely, but we have found the following tend to be the most commonly agreed upon updates that a homeowner can make to increase their resale value.  Consideration should be taken as to what other properties in your market have done, trends and styles that are popular, and the materials that you use during the remodel process.  We will address these considerations on a case by case basis in the projects outlined below.

1.  What’s cooking in the kitchen?

Assembling kitchen units.

Even if your special recipe consists of takeout orders and pizza deliveries, a beautiful kitchen with updated cabinets, counter tops, and appliances is an attractive feature.  If your kitchen looks dated, it tends to cast a shadow on the rest of the house.  While the cost of remodeling this space can be high, the negative impact on your resale value can be even more significant if left unaddressed.

Even if your budget is tight, there are many things you can do to give your kitchen a fresh new look for less.

  1. Refinish/ Reface your cabinets:
    Significant cost savings can be achieved by refacing your existing cabinets with DIY kits or by hiring a professional to come in and sand and refinish them for you.  After adding new hardware and knobs, you may not even recognize that same cabinet that you have been storing your Cheerios in for years once it has been refinished.
  2. Upgrade your countertops:
    There are plenty of options to choose from ranging from granite, corian, wooden butcher block, and even tile and cement. Browse the internet for design ideas that are both appealing and affordable.
  3. New appliances:
    While they can be pricey, an upgraded kitchen with antiquated appliances is a huge eyesore. The money you spend on the other elements of the kitchen will almost go unnoticed when coupled with outdated appliances.  Deals can be found at local retailers as well as on Craigs List.  Just make sure you that measure accurately to be certain that everything is going to fit.

2.  Bathrooms – A small place with a big impact

Don’t let their size fool you! The condition of your bathroom is a huge factor in how appealing your house is to a potential buyer.  If resale value is in mind, pay close attention to the materials you use here.  While materials are usually just a function of quality vs. cost, many of the materials such as tile, vanities, and faucets tend to break the mold from a pricing standpoint.  Do your research!  That hand crafted rosewood vanity and imported Italian tile comes with a  price tag that you may never see a return on from a future buyer who overlooks the build sheet and views the overall bathroom as “nice”.

There are many quality materials that can be used in a bathroom that will deliver a beautiful end result for a fraction of the price.  Choosing a vanity made from a combination of plywood with an oak fascia and using ceramic tiles, pairs quality and affordability.

3.  Curb appeal – The power of the first impression

Newly painted and stained exterior of modern home during summert

How does your property look from across the street?  While we are taught to never judge a book by its cover, it is tough not to when it comes to curb appeal.  Some simple landscaping can go a long way when potential buyers arrive at your home.

  1. Trim the hedges
  2. Pull the weeds
  3. Plant flowers
  4. Add some mulch

While you can certainly take landscaping from mild to wild, by covering the basics you can create a welcoming introduction of what is to come when visitors walk through the front door.

4.  Floor Cleaning 

Over time, wood floors begin to look dull, and tile floors build up an extensive layer of dirt in the grout.  This happens slowly and often goes unnoticed by those who walk on them every day, but a fresh set of eyes will see it.  Giving your floors some simple TLC will drastically brighten them up to their full potential.

Contact a floor cleaning service in your area if this is not a task you want to take on alone.  Regardless of the type of floors that you have, there are methods for reviving them.

5.  Crown Moulding and Casing

Crown moulding and casing around doors and windows adds a beautiful touch that everyone notices.  There are many designs to choose from, but it is often agreed upon that simple is better.  See below for pictures of crown moulding, baseboards and door casing examples.


Take note as to the type of material you are using and the environment that you are placing it in.  While casing is usually only available in pine, crown moulding comes in composite MDF, foam, as well as pine.  For humid areas such as bathrooms, it is recommended that you avoid using MDF moulding and make sure to paint or stain both sides prior to installation.

6. Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Popcorn ceilings are becoming a thing of the past as new construction projects are opting for knockdown or even completely smooth ceilings.  The popcorn ceiling is relatively easy to remove by simply spraying it with water and scrapping it with a special popcorn removal tool or a wide putty knife.  The toughest part is collecting and cleaning up the mess afterwards.

Scraping popcorn is the quickest way to produce a smooth ceiling, but take note of certain conditions before taking this on yourself.  If the room is large, or you have a scenario where you are working in a wide-open floor plan, you may want to go with knockdown textured ceilings.  Smooth ceilings will expose any imperfections in the drywall, and these imperfections are most noticeable across large spans.  With effort these can be fixed, but it can be quite labor intensive.

We hope that you enjoyed these useful tips for home improvements and welcome your feedback in the comment section below.

Brought to you by: 
Gold Coast Schools,  Florida’s leading Real Estate, Construction, and Professional licensing school helping students start successful careers since 1970.  We hope you enjoyed this article as part of our efforts to provide agents and homeowners with real world information that extends beyond what is taught in the textbooks.  For more information on how to start your new career with Gold Coast Schools, contact a helpful Career Counselor today at 1-800-732-9140.