Everyone selling a New York City apartment wants to get the best deal possible. The hard part is figuring out what renovations are going to appeal to a broad range of buyers with minimal investment on your part.

Here are my top 8 tricks to boost your apartment value without breaking the bank.

1. New hardwood floors

If you’ve got a carpet with hardwood underneath it, rip up that old stuff and refinish the hidden glory. Hardwood floors look amazing, especially when they’re new. Carpet might be more useful on those cold winter mornings, but your target audience is house hunting with their shoes firmly on.


Source: Flickr / Vassilis

If you’re laying down new hardwood floors, I’d suggest you spend for the real stuff. Intimidation wood never looks as good and can cheapen the whole apartment (and we’re going for chic, not cheap.)

2. Replace your old fridge with stainless steel

Stainless steel screams new. It looks great, usually has good energy ratings, and is a relatively small investment for you; you can get a new fridge/freezer and a range/oven for under a thousand if you shop around a little. It will make your kitchen look far more sleek and modern, and is an easy way to tip a maybe into a yes.

3. Replace kitchen counters and cabinets


Source: Flickr / Ashley

New kitchen cabinets and counters can totally change a space, not to mention getting rid of all that everyday wear and tear. Go for a quality, neutral material (e.g. not granite) that’s easy to match to. Remember: your taste is not necessarily the taste of your buyers, so something versatile is essential.

4. Repaint

If these walls could talk… they’d say please paint us! Repainting (especially if you do it yourself) is the single most cost-effective way to brighten up your space. First, new paint is a bit like a new car smell – your walls lose their ‘fresh’ look pretty fast. So if you’ve lived in your apartment for any length of time, it’ll likely pay off. Second, you can use paint to portray your apartment as a blank canvas for new owners. They’ll see a new space, full of possibility – ready for them to make their own mark in.

5. Talk to an interior designer

A quick one or two-hour consultation with an expert on how to style your house can do wonders. It’ll help you position your own stuff just so as well as identify weak areas you can tidy up quickly (and cheaply). Plus, it’s always good to get a third party with a bit of distance to check out the place before you get potential buyers in (e.g., does that nude of your Great Aunt Myrtle really need to be on display?)

6. Tidy up your bathroom

We’re not talking a full retrofitting, but a new sink, recaulking and a paint job do wonders to freshen the whole place.

7. Upgrade your doors

Doors often get neglected but they’re critical to setting the tone of your apartment to potential buyers (the front door in particular). Either refurbishing the ones you have (for example, getting repainted or re-dipped if they’re natural wood) or getting new ones will lift the entire feel of your place.

8. Remodel your storage spaces

This is another area where a chat with a professional might come in handy. Getting a custom closet solution or expanding any storage space you have is an inexpensive way to build value.

From the second buyers walk into an apartment, they’re already thinking about what space is going to look like with their stuff. The easier you make it build that vision, (e.g. look at these amazing shoe cubbies! That’s where I’ll keep my off-season footwear!) the more likely you are to get the offer you want.

Wrap up

Renovations before a sale are always a delicate balancing act of investment and return. The key is to identify areas that are important to buyers and pick things that you can do to inexpensively improve those rooms. Kitchens and bathrooms are ripe for improvement, and no matter what choices you do stick to quality materials and simple color schemes.  With those guiding principles, you can’t go wrong.

Remember – your buyers already want to buy your place – all you’re doing is helping them see it in the best possible way.


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