DIY Tips for “Fixer-Uppers”

Tips for preparing your home for sale

Your home is most likely your dearest commodity. If you’re planning on selling your house or flat you’ll want to get it into the most pristine condition possible to ensure that you get the most out of your investment. As you’ll surely know, prospective buyers are extremely critical when viewing houses – everyone wants to get the best deal possible.

Here are a few DIY tips for fixer-uppers to get the ball rolling:

The Walls:

Whether they’re inside or out, the walls of your home make up a large surface area. The slightest build up of dirt, discoloring or peeling of paint can leave a poor first impression on someone viewing your home.

Remember that when your house is open for viewing you may already have moved all your furniture out and with time, walls can become extremely dirty behind and around furniture. Outlines of dirt often form around the back of couches, for instance. So don’t just make a judgement call on what you see at first glance; now is the time to hunt down areas of improvement.

If you need to wash your walls, even if it’s just before painting, sugar soap is your number one ally. It’s one of the handiest cleaning agents for large, treated surface areas and is available at your local general store at a fraction of the price of fancy name brand cleaning products.

Painting the Walls:

Okay, so you’ve decided that you’re walls need a bit more attention than a bucket and sponge. Your next step is to get all the materials you need:

• Rollers and paint trays

• Masking tape

• Newspaper

• Paint

• Thinners and/or primer

• Additional brushes for those hard to reach places

Choosing a paint colour can be the hardest part of painting a room. A good rule of thumb in this situation is to stick to lighter, neutral colours. Try whites and ivories to give the room a brighter, more spatial feel.

While you have the paint out, also do a spot check of all your door frames and light switch covers. These areas are prone to chipping and discoloring from being touched and bumped. A quick touch-up will add a definite sheen.


Mildew loves to grow in damp places such as bathrooms and kitchens, and it’s amazing what a difference it can make to the overall appearance of your house.

Yes, mildew covering a ceiling is unsightly, but that’s obvious. The real places you want to hunt down mildew is intricate corners such as grouting in between tiles in the bathroom. Cleaning the grouting from a discolored grey to a dashing white can rekindle a sense of cleanliness and crate a “new” finish. Vinegar is the best household solution for cleaning and preventing mould and mildew.


Dirt trails, stains and trodden in ash and mud can be removed by most generic carpet cleaners. The easiest method of cleaning a carpet is by using dry detergent which simply needs to be applied and vacuumed up later.

For more ingrained stains or cigarette burns which cannot be cleaned, one can often have specific patches repaired by a professional. It’s a great deal cheaper than replacing the entire carpet, and can make a huge difference.

In the Garden:

Assuming you have a garden or entrance courtyard, you’ll want to keep this area well kept and neat. Windows should be clean and free of streaks or putty smudges. Once again, vinegar is the simplest option for great window cleaning power without the fuss, or even lemon juice. Simply add it to a bucket of water and you’re away. Newspaper is great for removing the remaining streaks.

For people interested in selling their homes these DIY tips and a day of hard work can up the potential value of your house. A little effort can go a long way in protecting such a massive and precious asset.