Best Home Listing Description Ever? Brutal Honesty Pays Off in Florida

A listing for a lemon of a house has turned into sweet, sweet lemonade.

The description of a decrepit home on Avoca Avenue in Zephyrhills, FL, that was listed for $69,000 mixes scathing accuracy and a serious sense of humor.

The tongue-in-cheek presentation has paid off in a big way. The listing of the woebegone home has racked up hundreds of thousands of page views, and what’s more, an offer is now in place.

“I find it so funny, because my husband always told me that I don’t tell good jokes, and I tell him I’m like the funniest person I know. This has just been the greatest vindication. Everybody keeps calling and texting and emailing saying that they thought it was hilarious,” says Philippa Main, the listing agent responsible for the property description that people can’t stop sharing.

We spoke with Main about her savvy marketing skills, and have highlighted a few of our favorite passages of her lively prose.

Exterior of home in Zephyrhills, FL
Exterior of home in Zephyrhills, FL

Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main

‘Here it is, literally the worst house on the street!

‘The seller has done the hard work of cleaning up the almost half-acre property (it only took 7 dumpsters!), so now is your chance to take it from here.’

The idea for a listing description that faced the home’s ugliness head-on came to Main after seeing the property for the first time and discussing the reality of the situation with her client.

Both of them had hoped that the home would be in a sellable state after the tenants moved out and the lot was cleaned up. The reality was far different.

So Main, who majored in public relations in college, approached her client and suggested a way to get some eyes on the listing.

She knows that listing details sometimes stretch the truth, and she also knows all about the frustration generated by unmet expectations—for home shoppers and agents alike.

“The funniest and the most annoying part of being a real estate agent: If we see in a listing they’re describing this ‘great natural light’ or this ‘open-concept floor plan’ or ‘tons of storage,’” Main says. “We get there, and it’s, like, a single, creepy lightbulb you would see in one of those interrogation movies. And that’s it.”

She decided to embrace the dark side of this Sunshine State calamity.

“I just wanted to make sure that I got ahead of all of the questions about the condition, and just kind of put it all out there for everybody,” she notes.


Philippa Main

Missing windows
Missing windows

Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main

‘The roof leaks, the floor creaks, and there’s a terrible draft, but this 3 bed, 1.5 bath home is very open concept. And by that we mean the inside is open to the outside, because several of the windows are broken.’

The “open-concept” crack is something Main doesn’t take all the credit for. Her inspiration came from an unlikely source, “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

“There’s an episode where SpongeBob and Squidward do Opposite Day, and so SpongeBob’s version of selling the home is pointing out all of the worst things about it,” she says. “As soon as I walked into this property, I heard it in my head, and I was, like, ‘Oh, here we go!’ I sat down and kind of approached the listing with that kind of sense of humor, and the absurdity of the whole situation.”


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main

‘There is a large, sunny window in the kitchen … and absolutely nothing else—a wonderful feature for someone interested in a bright reading space (and ordering takeout for every meal).’

The kitchen description came to her after the overzealous junk haulers took a bit too much off the property, which once housed old mattresses, old TVs, hundreds of tires, and much more. They were told to take everything away.

“When I walked into the home, I didn’t realize that, for some reason, the junk guys had taken things very literally,” Main says.

“They took out all the kitchen cabinets. I’ve seen kitchens missing a lot of things, but this kitchen has one positive element that I can highlight, and that is it.”


Philippa Main

‘Now I know you’ve heard of a detached garage, but have you ever heard of a detached foundation?! Because that’s what you’ll find here in the large bonus room. And if you’re looking for a house that screams, “I’ve got bizarre and ominous energy!” then, honey, stop the car, because you’ve found it right here, conveniently located off of US-301.’

The major foundation problems and the location near a major highway were two pieces of information Main says that she really needed to convey to potential buyers.

“I feel like this has gone viral and a lot of people are laughing at just kind of the surface level,” she says. “But I actually did try to include important details for those who are truly interested.”


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main

‘And whether you like to turn up the heat or keep it cool, it won’t matter here, because there is no HVAC system.’

Main says the lack of a heating and cooling system is crucial information for any potential investor to know, since it is a must-have in Florida and constitutes a huge expense.


Philippa Main

‘Oh, and don’t forget about the brick chimney that perfectly epitomizes how we all feel after 2020—about to collapse and going nowhere (literally, there is no fireplace inside the house).’

A chimney without a fireplace?

“I looked and I couldn’t find inside where there was a fireplace,” Main says, adding that it’s difficult to ignore the crumbling chimney when walking around the property.

“When you actually go in the home, you realize: ‘What is even the point of this chimney?'” she says. “I just feel like it adds to the whole ominous energy. Like, ‘Why is it here?’ And you’ve got to throw a reference to 2020 in there, because why the heck not?”


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main

‘What else can be said about this one-of-a-kind opportunity? It’s not in a flood zone and will be conveyed with clear title! But we don’t have a survey and the Seller has never seen the property, so buyers are strongly encouraged to do their own due diligence.’

Main says her client signed off on the listing, and she made sure it was compliant with the requirements of all local and national organizations.

My clients “are so laid-back. They’re such fun guys. They were basically, like, ‘This is so funny, this is great! We’re happy that it’s getting the attention.’ But at the end of the day, their whole thing was they knew I would get it sold, one way or another,” she says.

‘And if you’re not interested in crying yourself to sleep every night while you rehab this home, might we suggest tearing it down and building a brand-new one in its place? The neighbors would likely thank you.’

Evidently, the publicity worked. After fewer than 10 days on the market, there’s a pending offer. Main was not at liberty to disclose whether the buyers do plan to cry themselves to sleep every night with a rehab or please the neighbors with a teardown.

Main is taking in stride her newfound fame as the author of what some are calling the best listing description. Her sense of humor hasn’t taken a dent.

“My phone started ringing off the hook,” she says, “and I was just, like, ‘What is happening?’ I will tell you this: I would never want to be a famous person, because this is a lot of work.”


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


Philippa Main


How Much Does it Cost to Remodel a Kitchen?

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, what does it say when yours is falling apart? Outdated fixtures, old appliances, or a dysfunctional layout might have you daydreaming about a full kitchen renovation—but how much will it cost to remodel your kitchen?

Before you begin your kitchen remodel, you might want to consider why you’re remodeling, how much work it will require, when you’ll schedule the renovations, and how you’re going to pay for it all, not to mention the obvious: if, ultimately, it will add value to your home.

Why Should I Remodel My Kitchen?

Zillow Housing Aspirations Report , 76 percent of Americans said they’d prefer to spend on upgrading their home rather than using the money as a down payment for a new home.

Homeowners remodel for different reasons, but it’s important to consider the cost, have discussions with your spouse or partner around the kitchen table, and evaluate what the average return on the kitchen remodel will be before diving into plans or spending a large portion of your overall home renovation budget.

Do you plan to live in your place a few more years and enjoy your new kitchen, or strategically upgrade for a more appealing home sale in the near future? The answer will probably influence where and how you spend money on your kitchen.

What is the Average Return on a Kitchen Remodel?

The truth is you may have a difficult time recouping the total cost of a kitchen remodel in a home sale. When it comes to making money off of a kitchen remodel, the best bang for your buck may be less costly but visually impactful minor renovations: things like replacing the fronts of cabinets, upgrading countertops, replacing fixtures like faucets or lights, repainting, or putting in new flooring.

According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report 2020 , the national average return on investment (ROI) for that work is approximately 78%. An upscale remodel, on the other hand, yields a 53.9 percent ROI on average.

If you’re looking at a kitchen renovation solely to add value to your home in a sale, you might want to consider other upgrades that are higher in return and lower in cost, as well. In a Zillow survey , 58 percent of buyers said having their preferred style of kitchen was “extremely or very important to their home-buying decision.” Thus, if you’re considering selling your home in the near future, small, strategic updates instead of a full-blown kitchen remodel could potentially help the sale of the home.

How Much Should I Spend on a Kitchen Remodel?

The budget for your remodel will vary widely based on the amount of work you want done and the quality and cost of the materials you choose. On average, homeowners spend between around $22,000 for a minor kitchen remodel up to $116,000 for an upscale kitchen remodel. With such a wide range to consider, it might be wise to think about what your budget is before calling in contractors.

Consider what overall changes you want to make to your space. Will the kitchen remodel be a simple update of appliances, or do you want to change the entire layout and design?

Once you have an idea of what you want in mind, consider how to budget for it. What items or updates are must-haves in your kitchen remodel? What could be removed if the tally for your overall kitchen renovation ends up being too pricey? A prioritized list of updates or changes with the estimated cost for each project attached can be a helpful guide when trying to stay on budget within a certain price range.

Deciding how much you want to spend on your remodel is entirely up to you. If you’re looking for guidelines, HGTV recommends spending between 6 and 10 percent of the value of your home to get the best ROI.

But even the best planned budgets might go awry, so including a line item in your budget for unexpected expenses can help down the line. Use our Home Improvement Cost Calculator to get an idea of how much your kitchen remodel will cost.

Where Can I Cut Costs Remodeling My Kitchen?

If you’re trying to keep costs down on your kitchen remodel, keep in mind that certain design choices are likely to drive the budget up. In a full-scale kitchen remodel, new kitchen cabinets are typically the biggest expense, generally accounting for 20 to 40 percent of the project budget. If you’re looking to cut expenses in your kitchen remodel, you might consider trying to refinish or reface your existing cabinets, as well as adding new hardware for a more modern look.

10 to 12 weeks ; however, note that’s simply an expectation. The reality could be very different, and the time of year will also come into play.

The Takeaway

A recent kitchen remodel can be a big selling point for potential buyers if you intend to sell your house in the next few years. Renovating your kitchen also can be a way to add functionality to a home you plan to live in for years to come.

When beginning the process of plotting out your kitchen remodel, set a budget and prioritize what facets are most important to you. Look at the average return on a kitchen remodel investment and also consider how much of the work you potentially can attempt yourself versus what you’ll need to hire a contractor to do.

While cabinet finishes, new appliances, and fresh countertops can be exciting, setting aside a budget often is not. If it looks like your ambitions could outspend your budget, you might consider taking out a personal loan.

Personal loans from SoFi have low interest rates available for those who qualify, and offer fixed monthly payments. These 100% fee-free unsecured loans might be just the recipe to getting your perfect kitchen.

Find out more about using a SoFi personal loan to update your kitchen.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see



4 Things We Love About 2021’s New American Home—and 3 Things We Could Do Without

Are we nearing the end of the stream of reality TV–ready homes with all-white kitchens and gray tones everywhere? If this year’s New American Home® is any indication, then you can bet on it.

The annual show home constructed to display the most exciting new amenities, styles, and technology is a big departure from the luxury residences of the previous few years.

Instead of a sprawling house in the suburbs with seamless indoor-outdoor living and a drool-worthy infinity pool, this year’s three-story home is in the downtown Winter Park, FL, corridor. It has a more industrial, urban vibe with bright, colorful interiors—no all-white vistas to be found.

The boxy, 5,536-square-foot house built on the site of a former office building and a parking lot is not for sale at this time. It was revealed this week as part of the annual International Builders’ Show, which took place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So what are our favorite elements of 2021’s New American Home? Let’s dive in.

We love: The playful kitchen

The kitchen in this year's New American Home wasn't the all-white kind that has dominated real estate reality TV.
The kitchen in this year’s New American Home wasn’t the all-white kind that has dominated real estate reality TV.

Courtesy of Jeffrey A. Davis and Pro Builder Media

The showstopper of the three-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home is easily the kitchen. It’s positioned on the open third floor to allow more natural light into the space. And instead of crisp white everything, this kitchen mixes darker walnut woods with brighter colors and an assortment of finishes. It connects to an outdoor terrace outfitted with bright orange pops of color.

The floor-to-ceiling walnut and glass china cabinet is a gorgeous way to show off dishware. The terrazzo-patterned quartz island brought the different elements of the kitchen together.

“It just seems … people went through a period where their houses were either white or gray and they didn’t have a lot of the warm tones,” says the architect of the project, Phil Kean, of the Phil Kean Design Group in Orlando, FL.

The group also constructed the home and did the interior design.

“We’re going to see people warming up their facades and their houses,” Kean adds. “A lot of people spent the last year at home, and color really helps the spirit.”

We love: The warm wood

Walnut flooring
Walnut flooring

Jeffrey Davis

We also admire the darker, walnut wood used throughout the home—in the flooring, the kitchen cabinets, the floating staircase, and more. The same wood in the kitchen was also laid down in the bedrooms, providing continuity throughout the home.

It’s a welcome departure from the gray-toned flooring that’s become ubiquitous over the past few years.

“Some woods have too much yellow to them, and some woods have too much red in them,” says Kean. Walnut is “a really good wood for having those midrange tones, and it goes with everything.”

We love: The gridded windows

The industrial-style, gridded windows bathed the New American Home in natural light.
The industrial-style, gridded windows bathed the New American Home in natural light.

Courtesy of Jeffrey A. Davis and Pro Builder Media

We’re also fans of the New American Home’s oversize, gridded windows. Reminiscent of industrial warehouses, these beauties bathe the property in natural light. Transoms above the windows add interest and let in even more light.

“On clear nights, you can see the fireworks from the theme parks,” Kean says of the top-floor windows.

We love: The eco-friendly features

The New American Home 2021
The New American Home 2021

Jeffrey Davis

The various environmentally friendly features are also impressive. Solar panels were installed on the roof, helping the home to generate its own power. It’s also Energy Star–certified and EPA Indoor airPLUS–qualified.

The home also features a system that monitors the air quality inside the home and brings in fresh air when needed. That could come in handy in the middle of a pandemic!

“It’s set up to be a super energy-efficient home,” says Kean. “We generate more energy than we use in a day.”

This year’s home also includes an art gallery entrance, a room specifically for pet dog(s), and a three-car garage. The second floor is devoted to the master bedroom, master bath with a walk-in closet, and exercise room. The top level boasts a great room and music room with 14-foot-tall ceilings.


While there’s so much to love about the New American Home, there are also a few things we could live without.

We could do without: The bedroom’s padded leather wall

This year's New American Home features a leather wall—in the bedroom.
This year’s New American Home features a leather wall—in the bedroom.

Courtesy of Jeffrey A. Davis and Pro Builder Media

We love that the designers behind this home took some bold chances. But we ultimately aren’t fans of the padded brown leather wall in this bedroom.

The tufted accent wall is intended to be an extension of the headboard. Unfortunately, we think it makes the bedroom feel heavy. The work nook at one end of the room—although a luxury in the time of COVID-19—gives the room a hotel vibe. And hey, maybe hotel living is a dream come true for you, but we were hoping for something a little warmer and more personal.

We could do without: The glass staircase handrails

The floating walnut staircase—complete with lighting underneath each tread—is splendid, but we have issues with the glass handrail that frames it. Although the glass keeps things feeling open and contemporary, we think it cheapens the look.

Plus, we’re dubious about the functionality (safety first!). This staircase could be better served with a handrail or other material that’s not attempting to be invisible.

We could do without: The lack of outdoor space

Outdoor space is a must in the age of COVID-19, but there isn't much here.
Outdoor space is a must in the age of COVID-19, but there isn’t much here.

Jeffrey Davis

The New American Home in years past has flaunted its outdoor spaces: luxurious terraces with fire pits, infinity pools, and breathtaking views. For many of them, the outdoor space was the star of the show. That isn’t the case here; in fact, this home doesn’t come with much outdoor space at all.

To be fair, the team behind the New American Home did as much as it could with what they had—there’s a balcony or terrace on each floor. And this home was designed for a more urban environment, where walkability is key. But with folks cooped up due to COVID-19, a big backyard has practically become a pandemic survival essential—and we’re feeling the void in this home.


34 Affordable Ways to Refresh Your Home in the New Year

Woman with plant at home
Undrey /

With a new year now underway, there’s no better time to give your home a makeover and get off to a fresh start.

While you may not have the budget to do a major remodel, there are still ways to make your home look good on the cheap.

Following are some great options for sprucing up your digs without spending an entire paycheck.

1. Add indoor plants

Woman reading a book
Nomad_Soul /

Whether fake or real, plants add pops of green throughout your home and freshen your space — sometimes literally. Live plants can improve the air quality by removing impurities, as we explain in “9 Houseplants That Remove Toxins From Your Indoor Air.”

Place potted plants near windows throughout your home if you have a green thumb. If you don’t have the time or inclination to care for real plants, look for realistic-looking artificial plants.

2. Create a cozy corner

Halfpoint /

Consider creating a corner that lets you relax and recharge. Find a quiet space and add a comfortable chair and a small table. Don’t forget a fuzzy blanket and comfortable pillows.

If you enjoy reading, put a small bookshelf and a reading light in the space to make it easier to get lost in your favorite book.

3. Declutter

Kitchen countertops
Anna Andersson Fotografi /

Getting rid of clutter can change the look of your home. You may not realize how having extra stuff on every flat surface and mountains of pillows affects the look and feel of your rooms.

Go through every room in your home and try to clear off most surfaces, leaving only essentials such as lamps or a clock. Remove extra pillows and blankets and get a feel for the room before adding anything back.

Add to your decorating budget by selling items you don’t need. If you don’t clear out enough clutter to hold a yard sale, check out “6 Safe Ways to Sell Your Clutter During the Pandemic.”

4. Swap out your hardware

Woman in front of kitchen cabinets
wavebreakmedia /

Adding new hardware to your cabinets is an easy way to change how your space looks and feels. Cabinet hardware is inexpensive — you can even buy it on Amazon if you don’t want to drive to your local home improvement store. It can completely transform the look of a room.

Unless you plan on drilling new holes, your new hardware will need to have the same dimensions. So, before you pick out new handles and drawer pulls, remove one of your current ones.

Measure the screws and, for pulls with multiple screws, the space between the screws. Or, take a piece of your current hardware with you to the store.

5. Change the artwork

Iakov Filimonov /

After a while, you stop really seeing the art on your walls. It becomes just a part of the decor. But your wall art can set the tone for a room or tie into your color scheme. Mixing things up can breathe new life into a room at a fraction of the cost of remodeling.

If you have framed photos, swap them out for more recent ones. Look through photos from recent vacations and outings and find a few images of nature that you like. Consider blowing them up and framing them to accent your walls.

6. Remix your accessories

Nikodash /

Accessories can add a pop of color or an interesting element to a room. Consider switching throw pillows between rooms or pull out any accessories you have in storage.

Add a new throw blanket to your sofa and experiment with arrangements for lamps, candles and other accessories.

7. Change up your lighting

Woman changing light bulb
New Africa /

Make sure you have sufficient lighting in all of your rooms to fit your needs. Add lamps to brighten up dark corners or shine a light on frequently used areas.

Switch up your lighting by changing up lamp shades or moving lamps around. If you’re up for bigger changes, consider swapping out hard-wired fixtures, such as entryway ceiling lamps or a dining room chandelier.

8. Install new door handles

A handyman replaces a door lock
Andrey_Popov /

Door handles are an often-ignored detail in most homes. However, having just the right hardware can change the look of your house.

For example, if you have old brass-colored door handles and you switch to a new modern look, your doors could get a facelift for less than $100.

9. Rearrange your bookshelves

remote job
Aleksandar Karanov /

Updating the contents of your bookshelves can have a big impact on the look of your home. Here are ways to do this on a shoestring:

  • Group books based on color.
  • Position knickknacks off-center on a shelf.
  • Mix up how books are displayed: Place some in horizontal stacks and use them as bookends.
  • Make a pyramid of books and add a favorite display item on top.
  • Mix framed photos and art with the books.

10. Add new storage options

Iakov Filimonov /

New storage options can add color and function to your home. Colorful baskets or boxes on bookshelves or side tables can hide remotes and other unsightly items.

Adding a storage ottoman or bench gives you more functional seating and a place to hide extra blankets or pillows. Spending a little on key organizing essentials can be money well-spent.

11. Change switch plates and outlet covers

Alexey Rotanov /

It’s the little details that can make a difference in the feel of your room. If you have old or yellowed switch plates and outlet covers, consider updating them with a new look.

Most hardware stores sell them for just a few bucks, so you can update the look of your entire home on a budget.

To add pops of color or extra polish, look for ceramic or stainless steel switch plate options at hardware stores, on Etsy or at Walmart.

12. Give your home a deep cleaning

VGstockstudio /

Nothing beats the feel and smell of a clean home. If you want a great way to update your home in the new year, don’t just wipe the surfaces and give the toilet bowl a quick squirt of cleaner. Instead, consider a deep clean.

Dust the top of cabinets, wash windows inside and out and give baseboards an extra scrub. Throw your pillows and pillow inserts in the washing machine. Don’t forget comforters and blankets.

When you’re done, your house will smell and feel squeaky clean.

13. Add some trim

Woman painting trim
kurhan /

Crown molding can change a home from ho-hum to elegant. Check out this tutorial on the This Old House website showing how to install crown molding.

If adding crown molding seems a little too advanced, start with window and door trim.

Measure three times before making a cut or installing your trim. If you don’t have the tools, some hardware stores will cut the molding you purchase if you give them the dimensions.

14. Spruce up your couch

Andreas G. Karelias /

Couches are big pieces of furniture that take up a lot of real estate in your living room. An easy way to update the look of your home is by adding a pop of color to the area.

This can be in the form of colorful accent pillows or a new throw blanket. If your couch could use a little more help, consider adding a slipcover.

15. Repaint a room

Couple painting a room in their home
sirtravelalot /

If you’re looking to make a big statement on a small budget, change the color of a room. With a few tips, you can paint like a pro. Repaint a main area such as your living room or a smaller space such as a bedroom.

Look through design websites and magazines for inspiration. Before you commit to a color, get a sample of the paint (most are $5 or less) to test it out. Put it on a piece of wood and hold it up to the wall to see how it looks in your space. Home Depot is one place to find paint samples and wall colors.

Keep in mind that a paint color when it’s dry can look different than it looks in the can. Also, the shade can look darker or lighter depending on the lighting in your room.

16. Paint your front door

Monkey Business Images /

First impressions matter: What better way to make a good one than refreshing your front door?

The color you choose will depend on the trim and color of the rest of your house. Consider going with a bright and welcoming shade such as blue, yellow or red.

Some paint colors even can boost the resale value of a home.

17. Add container plants

photoiconix /

Dress up your porch and yard by adding new plants. You can use seeds to start your plants in the spring or dig up a few perennials from your garden and arrange them in pots.

Look for a discount area in your local nursery where you can pick up plants and pots for half-price or less. Container plants are a great way to add a splash of color to your home. You can easily move them around and group them for a bigger impact.

18. Paint photo frames

Woman hanging artwork
New Africa /

If you have photo frames throughout your house, consider changing them up. Buying new ones can be pricey, so consider painting them instead.

Don’t stick to safe and boring options such as black and white. Instead, opt for a few bright colors to add interest and brighten up your home.

19. Add some contrast to bookcases

Elnur /

If you’re not ready to commit to painting an entire room, consider sprucing up your bookshelves. Add a pop of color to the back panel of your bookcases by either painting them or using colorful paper. This can be contact paper, gift wrap or wallpaper with fun shapes and designs.

If you want to do a trial run, cut cardboard boxes to fit the size of each bookshelf opening, and cover or paint it. Place it at the back and add your books and accessories as usual. This will tell you if you like the look before you make a permanent change.

20. Paint furniture

StockLite /

Painting furniture can take it from boring to spectacular. This works best with pieces made of wood, since the paint will stick to it better. Don’t forget to sand it down and strip any lacquer or other shiny coating before painting.

Doing a coat of primer can make your paint go on more evenly and make it more durable in the long run. Start small with a side table or a chair before moving to bigger projects such as a dresser or bed frame.

21. Add path lighting

Grisha Bruev /

Upgrade your walkway or garden by adding path lights. This will make the area safer come nightfall and add a little romance.

Look for solar-powered lights, since they don’t need additional wiring.

22. Paint exterior shutters and trim

Busy House Painter Painting the Trim And Shutters of A Home.
By Andy Dean Photography /

Bring the exterior of your home to the next level by adding a fresh coat of paint. Depending on your home’s design, a little paint can go a long way.

You can refresh your current color or switch it up to another shade within your home’s color scheme.

Short on time? Focus on street-facing trim for maximum impact.

23. Make a new headboard

Woman making a bed
wavebreakmedia /

Change the look of a bedroom by adding a new headboard. This project can be done for less than $50 while dramatically updating the look and feel of the room.

Either refurbish an old headboard or search for free and cheap materials to keep costs down. DIY Network has six ideas for simple headboards anyone can make.

24. Change your house numbers

Frontier Sights /

Your house numbers can set the tone for your home. From classic to sleek and modern, they are more than the numeric display of your address.

Search for new house numbers online or at your local hardware store. And, for something unique, check out Etsy for handmade options.

25. Add a chair rail

ET Drone Home /

Chair rails add elegance and upgrade the look of a room for less than you’d expect. They are easy to install, but require close attention to detail so they are level throughout the room.

Increase the architectural drama of a room by painting the wall above and below in two different shades of the same color.

26. Paint the ceiling

Ilike /

Most people paint their ceiling a boring white, which is why going for something different really stands out.

Consider a neutral color such as a soft blue or gray to draw the eye up without overwhelming the room.

27. Add mirrors

VH-studio /

Strategically placed mirrors reflect light and can make a room appear much larger than it is. If you have a small or dark room that needs pizazz, add a decorative mirror to brighten it up.

Or, add several small mirrors to a dark corner in a main area, such as the dining or living room. Update the look of an outdated bathroom by swapping out the mirror over the sink with one that has an ornate or fun frame.

28. Switch out your window treatments


Add drama to your space by swapping out your window treatments.

Switch up your drapes for a new pattern that ties into your color scheme. If you have blinds, consider adding fabric curtains in some of your rooms for added impact.

29. Rearrange your furniture

Monkey Business Images /

One of the easiest ways to make a change on a budget is by switching your furniture around. This could be as simple as rearranging your couch and chairs, or grouping furniture in a way that encourages conversation.

Consider moving some furniture from a bedroom and using it to mix up things in your main living areas. An armchair or a side table from a different room can change up the feel of a room and add a new element.

If you have a friend with an eye for design, ask for ideas on how to freshen your space.

30. Try a theme /

Going with a theme can take a room from boring to fun. Whether you opt for the French country look in your living room or a nautical theme in your bathroom, choosing the right accessories is key.

Go with a color scheme to tie everything together and blend it with the rest of your home.

31. Paint kitchen cabinets

Benoit Daoust /

If you want to make a big change in your kitchen and you’re on a small budget, paint the cabinets. It will take time and attention to detail, but the end result will be worth it.

Don’t forget to make notes as to which cabinet doors go with which cabinet to make it easier to put back together once you’re done painting. Also, group all the hardware for each cabinet in a plastic bag and label it so you’re not hunting down screws when reattaching the doors.

Considering remodeling? Check out the “19 Home Renovations That Give Owners the Most Joy.”

32. Change rugs and flooring

Monkey Business Images /

The floors set the tone for a room, so switching them up can shake up the feel of your home. Consider adding a soft rug to a bedroom to warm up your feet as you get up in the morning.

Or add an area rug to a living area to define the space and bring in more color and texture. If you’re up for a bigger change, consider refinishing hardwood floors or removing existing flooring and staining the concrete underneath.

33. Add display shelves

SpeedKingz /

Mix up your wall decor by adding display shelves to an empty wall. Shelves are easy to install and can display art, photos, small plants, favorite pieces from traveling adventures and much more.

34. Update your kitchen backsplash

home upgrade
Andrey Burmakin /

If you don’t have a backsplash in your kitchen, adding one can make a big impact. Even if you’re not handy, there are many backsplash options such as peel-and-stick designs you can add with little skill.

For those who have basic DIY skills, consider installing a tile backsplash that will last longer and protect your wall from water, food grease and damage.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.


12 Easy Ways to Add Value to Your Home This Year

When my husband and I bought our home over 2 years ago, I’m been slightly obsessed with adding value to our home. We did a lot of work on the house initially but a lot of it was cosmetic changes I wanted to make to improve the look and feel. After a while, we focused on projects that would actually add value since I know we won’t be in this home forever.

When you buy a house, the value of your area may go up but there are also some specific things you can do to add value to your home yourself. You don’t have to be or hire a contractor to do many of these projects either. So consider starting with a few of these simple projects.

Paint the Walls

Painting is one of the first projects you might find yourself doing when you move in. It’s also a great way to boost your home’s value. We spend around $75 or less to paint a room and DIY it with tools from Home Depot. Experts say that painting the interior of your home can easily increase its value by $2,000.

Plus, depending on which colors you use, painting can make the room seem larger and brighter. Talk to employees in the paint section at the store to get advice and tips on which paint type and color to use. You can also review information online or play around with virtual design tools to predict how the room will look when the job is done.

Replace Your Bathroom Vanity

Homeowners can expect to recoup about 50% to 60% of the costs associated with doing a bathroom remodel. But a bathroom remodel can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on the size of the room, the scope of the project, and materials.

If you don’t have the budget to remodel your entire bathroom, start with a small fix by replacing your bathroom vanity. You can buy one for a few hundred dollars and install it easily. Also, consider other bathroom projects like reglazing your bathtub or install a backsplash.

12 specific things you can do to add value to your home yourself. Click To Tweet

Change Your Cabinet Hardware

Kitchen cabinets need a facelift? Consider installing new cabinet hardware along with repainting your cabinets. It may not sound like a big deal but replacing the handles and hardware for your kitchen cabinets can change the overall look and feel of this often heavily used area of the house.

It’s no secret that updating your kitchen in any way can add value to your house. Kitchens and bathrooms often sell homes. Amazon has tons of affordable kitchen cabinet hardware options to choose from ranging anywhere from $20 to $60.

Trim Your Trees

I have mixed feelings about trees and homeownership. Personally, I would love for my next home to have fewer trees as it would save us money. It has been expensive removing trees from our yard. Yet, I also understand how trees could be great for shade and curb appeal.

According to Angie’s List, a mature tree can add an appraised value of anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 to your property. Other sources claim that a tree in front of a house increases the home’s sale price by $7,130. That said, if you have a tree or two that is not causing you much trouble, consider trimming it regularly and keeping it healthy.

Energy-Efficient Systems

Buying energy-efficient systems may not be the cheapest way to add value to your home, but it’s well worth it in the long run. Whenever it’s time to replace an appliance or system, aim to buy the most energy-efficient version. Last year, we had to replace our washer so we decided to buy an energy-efficient one that uses less water and runs quieter.

New buyers are often interested in homes with energy-efficient appliances already there. Plus, when you buy some of these items, you can get a rebate and earn some money back on your purchase.

Install Outdoor Lighting

Installing outdoor lighting is an easy project that you can do in just an hour or two. You can also stick to your own budget seeing as how there are many low-end and high-end lighting options. Plastic material won’t last long, but it could still look nice and could run you around $40 to $50.

Outdoor lighting can set your home apart from others and make it appear more welcoming and high value.

Replace Your Entry Doors

A new front door can improve curb appeal and be a smart investment, especially if your home’s current door is showing signs of wear. Replacing your front door often adds an estimated 96% value compared to the cost which is pretty high.

Plus, it will add perceived value which is also important among potential buyers. It’s important to realize that while your appraisal should be reasonably high, buyers also purchase homes based on emotional attachment to some of the finishes and changing out your front door can definitely help you appeal to this.

Change a Light Fixture

Outdated light fixtures can take away from the value of your home. Be sure to update your lightbulbs and replace old fixtures as you see fit. You can even consider installing a light fixture with a ceiling fan in some rooms.

Our old apartment had ceiling fans and I miss if because our new house doesn’t have any so this may be a project that we tackle down the line.

Plant Some Perennials

A well-landscaped home has the potential to sell for much more than a home with no landscaping plan at all. The good news is, you don’t have to rush out and hire a landscaping company or landscape architect just yet. Use sites like YouTube or home design websites to brainstorm some simple ideas for your outdoor landscape.

Also, start planting some perennials as opposed to annuals since they will last longer. Perennial flowers and greenery may cost a little more on average, but you’ll get your money back since they last longer and you won’t have to replant every year.

RELATED: Why Can Starting Your Garden Now Save You More Money?

Refinish the Floors

Many people prefer hardwood floors in their main living area so if you already have them, you’re in luck. Consider refinishing your floors to refresh your entire space and add value to your home.

Home Depot has a great guide to help you refinish your floors. The best part is that you can DIY this project with just a few tools.

Small Bathroom Updates 

In some people’s eyes bathrooms are what can sell a house. If you have any outdated bathroom changes are potential buyers might be turned off. Now it’s understandable if you can’t afford a full remodel but doing things like changing your wallpaper or even your sink or tub faucet can go a long way to adding value to your home.

Power Wash

Power washing your home can add anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 of value to your home should you decide to sell according to the National Association of Realtors. If your home has never been power washed before, now could be a great time to do it.

Just like other surfaces in your home, the exterior of your home needs to be cleaning thoroughly and it’s also the first thing people see. You can try your hand at power washing your home on your own or you can hire someone to do it for $40 to $5o per hour.


If you live in an older house and want to add value to your home these tips will be ways to do that. They are all reasonable things that you might even be able to do yourself. Some houses could really use these updates and the change should really make a difference. If you’re thinking about moving consider making some of these small changes that can end up making a big difference.

Have you done any of these updates? Are there any that we missed? 


6 Coronavirus-Friendly Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $10K—and Will Bring In Offers

Getting a home improvement project to pay off is notoriously tricky. There’s no guarantee you’ll recoup the money you pour into a bathroom remodel or an outdoor kitchen. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic has made completing even minor projects more difficult, as many nonessential construction projects have been halted.

And while it might seem crazy to take on a big-ticket project in a time of economic uncertainty, many home buyers are still looking for turnkey properties with attractive amenities. So if you’re a seller with a house in need of a little TLC, you should focus on relatively low-budget upgrades that will seriously juice your home’s value.

Below, our experts spill on the improvements under $10,000 that buyers are perennially interested in, plus the trending ones whose popularity is likely to last.

Deep cleaning: $500 or less

Scuffs on doors, counters, cabinets, and walls; a ring of scum around a drain; cobwebs in basement corners; toys or tools peppering lawns and patios—these all look bad in the eyes of potential buyers. Luckily, eradicating these blemishes doesn’t take much.

“Deep cleaning is one of the most important things you can do for a little money that dramatically increases your value in the market,” says Heather Wendlandt, a real estate agent with the San Diego-based Team Kolker. “The Magic Eraser and elbow grease can go a long way.”

She says deep cleaning, plus basic paint touch-ups, can increase home values by thousands.

Front-door upgrade: $2,000 or less

Thee front door is the first part of a home that a potential buyer will interact with, so it’s worth lavishing attention on every detail. A fresh coat of paint, new hardware, or updated accessories like house numbers, door knockers, and attractive lighting are all easy and relatively inexpensive to obtain.

Wilmington, NC–based real estate agent-turned-blogger Rebecca Fernandez says that when she was given a listing that sat on the market without activity for months, a front-door upgrade helped make a difference.


Watch: 5 Smart Upgrades To Help Coronavirus-Proof Your Home


“I convinced the homeowners to provide me with a budget of $500,” Fernandez says. “It was a very small Cape Cod home, painted dark beige, with an unflattering wood front door. To add contrast, I purchased black vinyl shutters and painted the door a dark red. Next, we cleaned up the front lawn and purchased a door mat, flowerpots, and mums, since it was autumn, and we wanted it to have a fresh, seasonal look. After those minor tweaks, with new pictures online and the added curb appeal, we drew multiple buyers and sold the property quickly.”

Touchless fixtures and fresh-air systems: $200 to $5,000

During the pandemic, certain fixtures have become more relevant—and coveted—than ever.

What buyers want right now are touchless fixtures like sinks and toilets that eliminate your need to come into contact with a germ-filled surface, says Scott Campbell, team leader at Cedarburg, WI’s Re/Max. Both of these upgrades cost a few hundred dollars to install around the house.

Another pandemic must-have is excellent airflow.

“Updating mechanical systems and adding a RenewAire system that pulls fresh air into the home every few hours is a huge plus for buyers,” Campbell says. “Ultraviolet air exchanges that help kill viruses are also smart investments and very practical for home showings during the pandemic.”

Better kitchens and bathrooms: $9,000 or less

Kitchens and bathrooms that look outdated or cheap can sink the value of an entire home.

Tracy Jones, an associate with Re/Max Platinum Realty, witnessed firsthand how a kitchen face-lift boosted her home’s value.

“During the years we’ve done some hefty renos, but resurfacing our kitchen cabinets cost less than $4,000. We replaced the cheap-looking plywood cabinets with white doors and custom-built drawer fronts with soft-pull hardware,” she says. “We also upgraded the 1990s Formica countertops with granite for $4,000, creating a modern look.”

Jones believes these upgrades helped them bring in a profit. They bought the home for $189,000 in 2006 and sold it for $425,000 in 2020.

Bathrooms can also make or break a deal.

Erik Wright, owner of New Horizon Home Buyers in Chattanooga, TN, says he helped renovate and flip a home that cost him $80,000 and was sold for $140,000. Of the $15,000 he invested in home improvement, Wright put $9,000 toward upgrades on the kitchen and bathroom, including light fixtures, new cabinets and counters, fresh towels, and new vanities and faucets. All told, he cleared $45,000, primarily through minor tweaks.

Backyard upgrades: $500 to $10,000

Backyards are now thought of as an extension of the home.

“For those in the suburbs, pools, koi ponds, and fountains are newfound hot-selling items,” says Neal Clayton, licensed partner at Engel & Völkers in Nashville, TN. A small water feature that makes a soothing impression can be purchased and installed for as little as $500.

“Fire pits and outdoor kitchens with basic cabinetry are also frequently requested as people find creative ways to expand their living spaces,” Clayton says.

Home office: $10,000 or less

Home offices were on their way out before the pandemic, but they are all the rage now. Converting a room and buying all of the furniture, accoutrements, and shelving cost well under $10,000, experts say.

If you’re on the fence about carving out a home office space, consider this: Many buyers won’t consider a home these days if it doesn’t have a place where working or schooling from home is feasible.