BRENNA RASTRELLI | Jacksonville Beach Real Estate, Atlantic Beach Real Estate


In a competitive selling market, it’s vital to make sure you take advantage of any way to give your home an edge over the competition.

Many sellers make expensive home improvements in the hopes of attracting buyers. But, even if you’re on a budget, there are ways to boost curb appeal and increase the value of your home to make your home competitive in today’s seller’s market.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover eight low-cost upgrades you can make to your home today. We tried to keep all of the upgrades under $100 so that you can stick to your budget while still making a big difference in your home.

1. Paint the front door ($30)

One of the first things a potential buyer will notice about your home is the front door. Putting on a fresh coat of paint, especially one that pops and contrasts with the color of your home, will help to make it stand out on the block.

2. Paint your interior trim and baseboards ($75 - $100)

Baseboards often get dirty or scuffed up over the years. Putting a fresh coat of paint will make the entire room look like new. Stick with white for most rooms--it will brighten them up and make them feel clean.

3. Replace your outlet and light switch plates ($20)

They get dirty, they crack, and they get covered in messy paint every time you repaint your walls. Outlet and switch plates see a lot of wear and tear, and a dirty one can be off-putting for potential buyers.

For just a few dollars each or less, replace them all to give the rooms of your home a facelift.

4. Replace fixtures ($50 - $100)

Whether it’s the knobs of your kitchen cabinets or faucet fixtures, there are a number of small items in the kitchen and bathrooms that can be upgraded.

Stainless steel is now out of style, with homeowners choosing brushed nickel and bronze over the traditional stainless.

5. Choose a new shower head ($30 - $50)

Installing a shower head is a lot easier than it looks. Plus, luxurious looking shower heads can be purchased for less than $50 on Amazon, making them a great choice to add a touch of indulgence to the shower.

6. Add new bright, energy efficient lighting ($30 - $50)

Bright LEDs can make a room feel more spacious and modern, and it can save you a few dollars on the electric bill. Installing new lights throughout the home is a good way to show off what lies within.

7. Paint or replace your mailbox ($20 - $80)

Mailboxes can easily get dirty and dented over the years and most of us pay little mind to them. But prospective buyers likely will be on the lookout for any signs of neglect when they view your home. Having a freshly painted mailbox will leave a good first impression.

8. Rent a pressure washer for a day ($50 - $100)

Pressure washing the exterior of your home can make a huge difference when it comes to upgrading curb appeal. Vinyl siding gets dirty quickly and isn’t all that easy to clean.

You can rent a pressure washer from The Home Depot or your local hardware store for typically less than $100 a day.


The American home is rapidly changing. New technologies like rooftop solar and smart home security systems are quickly becoming the norm in neighborhoods across the country.

If you’re thinking of taking on some new home improvement projects, it’s a good idea to be forward-thinking and choose projects that will be sought after into the future.

In this article, we’ll talk about some trending home improvements you can make that will help bring your home into the future.

Automation

Smart home technologies make life easier, and they’re not going out of style anytime soon. Being able to lock and unlock doors, adjust the temperature, and turn off lights all from an app on your phone has never been easier. If you plan on selling your home in the coming years, having these perks could be a selling point for potential buyers.

Green energy

When it comes to energy prices, you can count on them continuing to rise. As a result, many homeowners have installed money-saving features like rooftop solar, connecting to off-site green energy grids (such as solar or wind), and utilizing less expensive heating alternatives like pellet stoves.

Energy-efficient appliances are another up-and-coming trend that buyers are likely to be looking for. They tend to come with the latest technologies and styles, but also save money in the process.

You don’t have to take on a big project to make your home greener. You can also perform small tasks like replacing all of your light bulbs with newer, energy-efficient bulbs.

These projects will attract two types of buyers: those who are environmentally-minded, and those who are looking to save on utilities.

In-duct purifiers

As people become more concerned with the effects of pollution on the human body, many homeowners will see air purifiers as a necessity. An in-duct purifier requires little maintenance and improves air quality throughout your entire house.

Temperature-controlled shower head

You would think that in this time of amazing scientific and technological advancements that we would be able to get into the shower without fiddling with the controls for ten minutes. With a temperature controlled, digital display shower head, you can set the temperature and let the faucet do the work for you.

This one will save you time in the shower, help you avoid getting scorched, and will pique the interest of potential future buyers.

Materials that last

Home advancements haven’t just been made in the area of electronics. New building materials have made some objects last much longer than they did just a few years ago.

New roofing materials have exponentially increased the lifespan of roofs. New metal roofs can be made to look like traditional shingled or tiled roofs. Similarly, there are currently roofs being developed that have hidden solar panels built-in. Those too will be available in different traditional styles.

Aside from roofs, siding and decks are also being made with materials that last much longer than was previously possible. Having a durable house is something that any potential homebuyer would want to see.


A home inspection represents a key stage during the homebuying journey. This inspection enables you to examine a house with a professional property inspector. And if you discover minor or major property issues, you can ask a seller to perform repairs. Or, you may choose to reduce your initial home offer or rescind your proposal.

Ultimately, it pays to be diligent during a home inspection. If you perform an in-depth assessment of a house, you can understand whether this residence is the right choice.

On the other hand, there may be property problems that you identify during a home inspection that you won't ask a seller to repair. These issues may include:

1. Cosmetic Problems

If you ask a home seller to perform cosmetic repairs, the seller may choose to walk away from your homebuying proposal. And if this happens, you could lose your dream house to a rival homebuyer.

There is no need to jeopardize a home sale due to a cracked floor tile, a deck that needs to be stained or other cosmetic problems. Instead, plan to perform cosmetic repairs on your own.

In addition, keep in mind that many cosmetic issues are quick and easy to fix and won't require you to break your budget. This means you likely will have no trouble completing myriad cosmetic repairs after you close on a home.

2. Loose Fixtures

A loose doorknob or light fixture can be frustrating. And as you walk through a house during an inspection, you may feel like repairing a loose fixture is a top priority.

Loose fixtures generally require simple hand tools to repair, and problems with these fixtures frequently can be solved in just minutes. As such, you may want to focus your attention on bigger and potentially more expensive home repairs as you determine which property repair requests to submit to a seller.

Of course, if a loose fixture creates a safety hazard, you should not hesitate to ask the seller to fix this problem. Because if a hazardous fixture remains in place, it may put your health and safety at risk.

3.Non-Functional Light Switch

A non-functional light switch may raise red flags as you inspect a house. But in many instances, this problem is minor.

If you notice a non-functional light switch during a home inspection, there usually is no need to worry. In fact, a property inspector typically can tell you whether a home's electrical system is safe to use and up to code.

For homebuyers who are uncertain about how to proceed with a residence following an inspection, it pays to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer expert tips to help you make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Consider your potential property repair requests following a home inspection. By doing so, you can prioritize major property repairs and increase the likelihood that you and the seller can find common ground as you work toward finalizing a purchase agreement.


Let's face it – there are many risks that you may face during the homebuying journey. From submitting an offer on a house that ultimately proves to be a poor investment to failing to obtain a mortgage due to a bad credit score, there are various issues that may prevent you from achieving your desired results. Lucky for you, we're here to help you focus on the task at hand and eliminate potential risks as you search for your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid risks throughout the homebuying journey.

1. Set Realistic Homebuying Expectations

How you search for a home may determine whether you are successful or unsuccessful. For example, if you evaluate houses that fall outside your price range, you may struggle to find a home that you can actually afford. On the other hand, if you establish realistic homebuying expectations from the get-go, you may be able to streamline your house search.

Think about where you want to live and how much you can afford to pay for a home. Also, you should consider home must-haves and wants. With this information at your disposal, you can avoid the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire a residence that matches your expectations.

2. Get a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is pivotal. Because if you obtain a mortgage today, you can enter the housing market with a budget and narrow your house search accordingly. Perhaps most important, a mortgage enables you to avoid the temptation to pursue homes that be priced beyond your budget.

Consult with banks and credit unions, and you can learn about a broad array of mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage and kick off your search for your dream residence.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Problems may arise at any point during the homebuying journey. And if you're unsure about how to address these issues, it may be tough for you to acquire your ideal residence. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you may be able to identify and address homebuying problems before they escalate.

A real estate agent understands the housing market and is happy to share his or her expertise with you. This housing market professional can teach you about the differences between a buyer's and seller's market, help you prepare a homebuying strategy and much more.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide as you get ready to submit an offer on your dream home, either. A real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal. Furthermore, he or she will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and do everything possible to ensure you can acquire your dream residence at a budget-friendly price.

Take control of the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you can limit risk as you search for your ideal house.


You don't need to be a home selling expert to counter a buyer's offer to purchase your house. In fact, sellers who know what factors to consider as they evaluate a homebuying proposal may be better equipped than others to submit a successful counter-offer.

Now, let's take a look at three factors a seller should consider before countering a buyer's offer to purchase his or her home.

1. Your Home Selling Goals

If an initial offer to purchase your home falls shy of your property selling expectations, there is no need to stress. By countering this proposal, you and a buyer may be able to find common ground. And as a result, both parties may be able to come to an agreement on a house sale.

Analyze your home selling goals closely. And if you find a buyer's offer to purchase comes close to helping you achieve your goals, you may want to submit a counter-proposal.

2. Your Home's Condition

The condition of your home may have far-flung effects on your house selling experience. If your home is in need of assorted upgrades, a buyer may be more inclined than ever before to account for these repairs in his or her offer to purchase. Meanwhile, as a home seller, you need to consider your residence's condition as you assess an offer to purchase and proceed accordingly.

If you feel a buyer's initial offer to purchase your home is low based on your residence's condition, you may want to counter the proposal. However, if you account for the costs of potential home repairs in your counter-proposal, you may be able to come to terms with a buyer on a home selling agreement.

3. Your Home's Price

Although you may have allocated significant time and resources to price your home appropriately based on the current real estate market's conditions, you may receive an offer to purchase that falls short of your expectations. Fortunately, if you submit a counter-proposal, you can make it clear about what price you are willing to accept for your residence. And if you provide a counter-offer to an initial homebuying proposal, you can show a buyer exactly how much he or she will need to pay to purchase your house.

As you analyze an offer to purchase your home, keep in mind that you can always collaborate with a real estate agent too. If you work with a real estate agent, you may be able to gain the insights you need to make an informed property selling decision.

Typically, a real estate agent can help you weigh the pros and cons of accepting, rejecting or countering an offer to purchase your house. If you are looking for in-depth home selling recommendations and suggestions, a real estate agent is happy to provide them to you at your convenience.

Assess an offer to purchase your home carefully – you'll be glad you did. If you feel you may be able to reach an agreement with a buyer, you may want to counter his or her homebuying proposal.