How to Renovate a House With No Money – 26 Tips

How to Renovate a House with No Money

The best way to renovate a house with no money is to become resourceful with what you have, and only buy materials that will add more value than their cost.

Keeping renovation costs low is important not only to homeowners, but also to real estate investors, especially when it comes to flipping homes. Flippers, both new and seasoned, have to strike a delicate balance between modernizing a space, without going over budget and eroding their bottom line.

While it may seem impossible, it is not, as this article breaks down the top 26 ways you can renovate a house with no money, and still end up with a product that appeals to buyers.

#1: Do a Deep Clean

Before starting any renovation work, do a deep clean of the home’s interior and exterior. A deep clean, even if it isn’t a smoker’s home, is the most cost-efficient way to assess what actually needs to be fixed or replaced. Surprisingly, some items in the home simply need a little elbow grease to look like new.  Additionally, a deep clean is necessary to undertake many remodeling tasks.

#2: Paint the Exterior

Painting the exterior façade of a home is one of the most critical expenditures, as it brings the most value in your renovation budget. There are countless homes that are beautifully re-done on the inside, but languish on the market for months because the investors ran out of money and left the outside in a state of disrepair. Avoid this common trap, by investing early on in painting the exterior. The right color combination can truly bring new life to a house and make it stand out. 

#3: Landscaping

In the same respect, don’t neglect the exterior landscaping of your renovation project. Landscaping can easily and cheaply be upgraded with items, such as new rocks, pavers, shrubs and flowers. The goal is not perfection, yet simply making the front and back yards appear neat and move-in ready.

#4: Repaint the Windows & Shutters

Similarly, repainting the windows of a home will rekindle its character and provide the home a fresh look, on the inside and outside, at a relatively low cost. Do however, proceed with caution, as you don’t want to make the mistake of painting windows shut. This will only give the impression of a rushed job, which is not desired.

#5: Upgrade the Front Door

Consider upgrading the front door by repainting it with a bright and welcoming color, such as red, yellow, or a baby blue. Additionally, research ways to add specialty or decorative statements to the door, and upgrade the hardware, as well. A unique door will instantly capture buyer’s attention and imagination, justifying the extra $40 to make it pop.

#6: Repaint the Interior

Paint will not only work wonders for the exterior of a home, but also the interior. A few coats of new white paint, with one or two accent walls, can transform even the drabbest home into a comfortable environment that is attractive to potential buyers. Another great feature about painting is you can easily cut down on labor costs, by doing it yourself.

#7: Repaint the Kitchen Cabinets

While it might be tempting to buy brand new kitchen cabinets, they are very expensive and may not even be necessary. Instead, refinish and repaint the existing cabinets that are there to closely resemble their modern counterparts. With proper sanding and the right type of paint, even the most dated cabinets can look modern and new.

#8: Replace the Cabinet Hardware

Additionally, entertain the idea of getting new pulls and handles for all cabinets and drawers in the kitchen and bath. Psychologically, cabinet hardware that is new, shiny, and modern will make the naked eye believe the cabinets are new as well, also saving the budget tons of money.

#9: Upgrade the Kitchen Appliances

For especially tight renovation budgets, do not remove kitchen appliances. If the deep clean was not enough to bring their original shine back, give existing appliances an upgrade by repainting them, re-coating them with a faux stainless steel film, or covering them with magnetic decals that blend in with the surroundings.

#10: Install a New Backsplash

Tile backsplash in a kitchen or bathroom are common indicators potential buyers will use to judge the quality of a remodel. As areas in need of a new backsplash tend to be small, make the small investment and install a new tile backsplash. Even the simplest subway tile with black grout can provide a stylish look, for practically no money.

#11: Peel and Stick Countertops

If your home is in need of new countertops, but your budget is tight, leverage the plethora of peel and stick self-adhesive contact paper for countertops for sale online.  Competitively priced and made to look like real marble, stone, or wood, peel and stick countertops instantly give an upgraded look to existing counters.

#12: Peel and Stick Wall Panels

There are also many manufacturers that that offer peel and stick wall panels, which can be used to add a personal character to a house. They make great textured accent walls, as well as cost-effective wainscoting.

#13: Cover Old Flooring

If the home you are renovating has dated vinyl floors, cover them using a modern-day peel and stick vinyl flooring. Unlike their predecessors, today’s vinyl flooring is cheap, attractive, and does not require special skill or expertise for proper installation.

#14: Replace the Carpet

Replace torn and ragged carpet with a newer, modern carpet. Compared to other types of floor, carpet remains relatively cheap, and with a few D-I-Y videos can easily be cut and installed by even the most novice of investors. Furthermore, carpet is versatile material. It covers old subflooring, adds life to rooms, and gives off that new house smell buyer’s love.

#15: Upgrade Sink & Shower Fixtures

Nothing reeks more of a dated home than sink and shower fixtures from the 1950’s. Make it a priority in your budget to upgrade the bath and kitchen fixtures to give the home a contemporary feel.  

#16: Refinish the Bathtub

Replacing an old bathtub can be pricy, and if not done properly can cause even more damage. Avoid the additional cost, and have the surface re-glazed of the existing tub. In older homes, especially, this enables you to maintain the original character, which buyers love.  

#17: Refinish the Doorknobs

Another cost-effective approach when remodeling an older home is to refinish the existing doorknobs. Utilize spray paint or bronzer, to give previously worn out handles a fresh coat of liveliness.

#18: Remove old Shower Doors

Old shower doors scream dated. Take them out completely and use an adjustable shower pole with colorful curtains in their place. Not only will this completely modernize a bathroom, but will also leave it feeling more spacious and open.

#19: Update Light Fixtures

One of the best investments you can make in a remodeling project is give dated light fixtures a modern touch. Rather than buying entirely new ones, spray paint existing fixtures with dark colors (to conceal any imperfections). Replace old sconces with wired hardware, or don’t replace them at all. Exposed lightbulb pendants are growing in popularity, and can be easily incorporated into a renovation.

#20: Replace the Toilet Seat Cover

New toilets are surprisingly expensive, and not always necessary.  Instead of replacing the entire toilet, simply remove and install a present-day seat cover that is the same color.

#21: Change the Lightbulbs

Lighting plays a key role in setting the tone and mood of different rooms in a home. If the house you are renovating is too dark and moody, it will turn potential buyers off. If a house is well-lit and bright, it again leaves the impression of newness with buyers. Bring in new light by changing older lightbulbs for LED bright lights.

#22: Large Area Rugs

As you get closer to the end of your renovation, there are many zero to low cost final finishes that can be used to tie all the elements together. The first being large area rug in a central room of the house. Large area rugs that are bright and modern will instantly elevate a room into a livable space.

#23: Install Full Length Curtains

Full length curtains, also, bring a touch of elegance and height to a room. They come in an array of colors and patterns, providing many options, and are quick, cheap and easy to install.

#24: Open shelving

Open shelving is the latest trend in renovated homes, and can add a lot of value and wow factor to your renovation. With materials as simple as reclaimed (old) wood, sandpaper, and shelving racks, you can transform many different parts of a home’s interior into modern spaces that capture a buyer’s attention.

#25: Plants

Plants additionally, are a necessary item to incorporate into the staging of a home, as you come closer to the end of your renovation. Plants fill up space, and literally have been proven to pump oxygen into a room. Used appropriately the break up the monotony of a newly renovated home, and bring even more life to dead spaces than furniture.

#26: Art

Lastly, as you begin to prepare the home for open houses and showings, art plays a crucial role in tugging at the heartstrings of potential buyers. The right art placed strategically throughout a home, will help people visualize the elevated lifestyle they can have if they were to live in the home. Art can evoke positive emotions and leave people with a great first impression of your newly renovated house.

Where Do I Find These?

Many of these items can be found either online, or around your town. When it comes to renovating a house with no money, become friendly with your local dollar store and the clearance bin at every major retailer. Also, scour sites like Facebook and Craigslist. Surprisingly, many people are willing to part ways with expensive furniture and construction materials, sometimes for free, so long as you get it out of there fast.

Final Thoughts

As you navigate renovating your first or next project without spending any money, keep in mind you don’t want it to look like you didn’t spend any money. This can easily be done by investing the time to make sure renovations are done correctly the first time. Pay attention to the details, and avoid mistakes, such as crooked paint lines, or door handles not screwed in all the way that can be embarrassing and cost you a potential home buyer. Remodeling with no money is an art in and of itself that deserves equal amount of attention no matter the size of the budget.

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