Renovating a House Before Selling – The DIY Jobs Worth Doing

When considering how much renovation work to do before you sell your house; It’s important to focus on activities that offer the maximum gain, with minimum cost and time when it comes to selling your home.

This does not necessarily mean that you should renovate as cheaply as possible. There could be some value to getting bigger jobs like a bathroom or kitchen refurbishment. Be careful with your budget and be aware of when it makes sense to spend money and when it does not.

DIY Jobs worth doing when selling your place

Some jobs in your house do not require you to call in professionals or learn a new skill. These jobs can really have a massive collective impact when it comes to making your home look more attractive.

Some of these options may seem obvious, but it still helps to have them on a list, so you can tick them off.

  • Empty your house of unnecessary furniture and clutter
  • Re-paint your walls
  • Remove surplus wall hangings
  • Buy pastel-colored bed sheets and curtains
  • Change small fixtures and fittings
  • Give everything a good clean

Empty your house of unnecessary furniture and clutter

Having too much furniture in your house can make the overall space seem considerably smaller than it actually is.

If you are moving house anyway, it may be worth putting some of your furniture into storage, just so you can show off the available space a bit more.

I find that chest of drawers always take up more room and tend to collect clutter than they need to.

Having some furniture (but not too much) is a good thing as it’s a nice visual of how the room can be used.

Repainting your walls

If you’ve already got painted walls or lining paper, you’ll be amazed the impact re-painting your walls can have. That ‘New’ feel tends to go down well.

If you’ve got quite bold colors in your home, it may be worth painting in more neutral pastel colors like magnolia for example. Generally, pastel colors make rooms seem brighter and give a blank canvas look.

I think that walking into a house that’s been freshly painted in pastel colors, just allows you to picture yourself in the house more clearly.

Remove Surplus Wall Hangings

Having lots of wall hangings in your home may seem beautiful to you, but can give your home a cluttered feel and again make it seem smaller than it actually is.

Minimize the number of wall hangings that you have in your house.If your floor space is clear but your walls are full of photos. It’s just another mental blocker for someone looking to buy your house.

As a guide – stick to 1-2 wall hangings per wall.

Buy pastel-colored bed sheets and curtains

For the same reasons I mentioned re-painting your walls in pastel colors, you should also look at the color of your bedsheets and curtains.

Buying plain curtains and bed sheets is a relatively inexpensive thing to do but when added to the other recommended steps in this section, it can have a big impact on the look and feel of your house.

Change small fixtures and fittings

Replacing worn out handles on cabinets, or replacing toilet roll holders are little details that can make a massive difference to the overall look and feel of your home.

Its so cheap and quick to make changes like this, and if you’re planning on keeping any of the furniture, it’s yours to enjoy in the future anyway.

When fitting your toilet roll holder in particular, make sure you’ve left enough space off the ground and the right gap between the basin and the wall. My post on which side should your toilet roll holder go should answer any questions that you may have.

Give Everything a good clean

This may seem like a really obvious point, but it’s easily forgotten; Especially if you’ve done everything or some of the things already mentioned in this post.

Give everything a good dusting and vacuum at the very least. Removing limescale from sinks taps and shower heads can make a huge difference to how your rooms look and feel.

Look at the radiators too, are they tired and worn. Cleaning them with soap and water can also really help make your home more appealing to people.

If you’re wondering how to identify if your wall is load-bearing or not as well as the implications of removing a wall, I’ve gone into it along with illustrative diagrams on my post on getting rid of your hallway and adjoining walls

Bigger Jobs worth doing when selling your place

Bigger works on your house that can add value to your home include the following:

  • Number of Rooms – Adding an additional bedroom could add significant value to your home, and may not be as expensive as you may think.
  • Driveway – Parking on your property is a luxury that is appreciated. If you have the opportunity to increase parking space, it’s worth considering.
  • Bathroom – Sprucing up your bathroom definitely adds appeal. Adding an additional bathroom can add some value to your house as well.
  • Kitchen – Kitchens are often the rooms that you want to see when you buy a place. Spruce it up, replace it if it’s worth it.
  • Removing an internal wall – An open plan living room can be a really attractive quality when selling a home.
  • Garden – Often overlooked, but getting your lawn re-turfed or cleaning it up can really add that wow factor.

Spending more on your home before you sell it can make a lot of sense in some scenarios. To put it simply, the value-added has to be more than the cost of the works you are having done.

Number of Rooms

Adding rooms to your home may be easier than you think.

If for example, you live in an apartment, you may have a disproportionately large living room, which could be split into a living room and another bedroom, with the addition of an internal wall. this would also be very cost-efficient and your resale value could be significantly higher.

This scenario could easily play out if you have a large double bedroom in a home that could be split into a double bedroom and a single or two double bedrooms for example.

Alternatively, you may wish to extend your property. This could be expensive and it’s worth assessing if it’s worth it.

Driveway – Does it really add value to your house?

Drive ways can add a significant amount of value to your home, but before you start call the block pavers in think about a few things

  • Transportation links – are bus stops and trainlines near by? If so, it may be that people in your area preferto travel by alternative methods of transport. In this instance it may not be worth it.
  • Does the pavement next to your “drive” have a dropped kerb? If not, an additional expense would be required and again it may not be worth it

That being said, if it were me, personally I would always prefer a house with a drive as opposed to a house without one. The reason being is even if I didn’t rely on a car as my primary means of transport, having one is great for when friends and family visit too.

A driveway creates value in my opinion. I would choose a house with a drive over a house without one on the same street at the same price for sure.


Adding an additional bathroom to your house can give your house that X factor that may justify an increase in your property’s sale price.

an additional bathroom could increase the value of a property by an average of £12,000 (or around five per cent) to the value of a home

If you look at the potential return that way, an additional bathroom downstairs or an additional ensuite in one of the bedrooms may be a good option to consider.

Alternatively if simply don’t have the space or money to add an additional bathroom, sprucing up your existing bathroom is still a great way to make your house look more appealing.

One way to save money is by asking your builders to tile over your existing tiles or doing it yourself. It’s perfectly acceptable to do this and can save you a ton of money. I’ve gone into a bit more detail on how to do this in my post It’s not hard to remove old tile.

Just remember when you tile on tile, especially if it’s on the floor that your re-adjust your doors on cabinets and entrances to account for the increase in floor height.

My post on which way should your doors swing into a room may be useful here as well if you’re looking to do this yourself.


Kitchens are the focal point for many people whenever they come to view a house. If your kitchen is dated, it may be worth sprucing it up before you sell your home.

There are some things you should know that could save you some cash.

  • Kitchen cabinets are usually the most expensive part of the kitchen. If they are intact, you can just replace the doors and the worktops and get that new look for a fraction of the cost.
  • If your kitchen tiles look fine, but the grouting is moldy; you can replace it yourself super easily.

Removing an Internal Wall

Removing an internal wall can be as valuable as putting one in. In my house I removed my hallway to make my living room bigger. It’s definetly a plus in smaller houses particularly when it comes to furniture choices and maximizing space.

If your wall is load-bearing (i.e holding your house up) this may be too expensive a job to consider, especially if you are selling your home. If on the other hand, your wall is not a load-bearing wall (i.e it’s only supporting itself) then it’s totally worth removing it (ideally by your self).


The value of a good looking garden shouldn’t be underestimated. I do think it’s right to focus on your interior, but it’s important to get your garden looking neat and tidy to make it stand out from the crowd.

If you’ve got some time (as in a few months) before putting your house on the market, there’s plenty you can do yourself. I’m not someone that has ‘green fingers’ but the lawn improvement tips that I mention in my Gardening 101: Dealing with Rock Hard Soil and a Bumpy Lawn post, literally anyone can do.

If you don’t have the luxury of time, consider getting your garden re-turfed. If you’re dealing with a small area of grass it’s probably worth it.

How to assess if getting bigger jobs done is worth it

If your house does need some work, before you call builders in, take a look at real estate websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla. Look at recently sold properties as well as properties currently on the market. It’s worth paying attention to the number of rooms, the quality of the bathroom, kitchen, driveway, and garden.

Then take a look at your house and see how you stack up to the competition.

It’s not really worth spending what you don’t have. If there are some jobs in your home that need doing; But cost more than you are willing to spend, it may be worth adjusting the price you want to sell your home.

That being said there are always DIY jobs you can do around your home yourself that can really help you out.

Related Questions

Does removing a bath devalue your home?

It probably doesn’t devalue your home, but If you already have a bath installed in your home it’s not really worth removing it. People like to have the option of having a bath. If a young family is moving in a home, for example, baths are useful for the kids. It just keeps the options open.

What makes property value decrease?

Property value can decrease due to external factors and works in your home. For example in areas where multiple properties have been repossessed, or where specific construction works are taking place.

There are a few other external factors you should consider which you can look at on my Fixer Upper: Buy a House That Needs Work. It’s a Great Idea post.

Internal factors include the removal of a bedroom or bathroom for example. It’s worth consulting a real estate agent if you are concerned about this.

In Summary…

When you are renovating your home to sell it, it’s important not to get carried away. That said, there are some bigger jobs that can be worth undertaking on your home before you you sell it.

Before you get the builders in and spend money though it’s worth finding out about the local market. Check local real estate websites for sold houses as well as those on the market. Here you can look at the features of your competition and assess how you stack up.

When it comes to bigger jobs, don’t always assume that you have to spend lots of money either. In a kitchen, for instance, the most expensive element is the cabinets. If they are already intact, replacing the doors and worktops can give you the ‘new look’ and feel that you are after without overspending.

The same can be said for re-tiling the bathroom for example. Tiling over tiles is significantly cheaper than removing and replacing them and it’s perfectly fine to do so.

But it’s not just about the bigger jobs, there are so many DIY jobs that you can do in your place that can have a massive impact on the appeal your home has to people looking to view your home.

If you’re just thinking about selling your home at the moment then it’s a great time to sort your garden out. It’s a DIY job that you can do yourself and can be that stand out feature you’re looking for. You don’t have to be a gardening expert either.

Our Gardening 101 post details exactly what you need to do to sort it out.

Small things like removing furniture, multiple wall hangings, changing small fixtures, and fittings collectively can have a big impact on how your home looks too. These things you can do yourself and they are cheap!

Simply cleaning up can make a huge impact on your house too. Good dust, vacuum, and things like the removal of limescale of taps for example really can help your house stand out. If I were buying a place, I know I’d rather move in somewhere that appears looked after.

I really hope you found this article useful and hopefully it gives you some clarity on what work you need to do in your home. If you have any more DIY questions, be sure to check out more of my content here.

If I have tried something the chances are I have blogged about it. You might as well learn from my mistakes rather than making your own.

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