13 Worthwhile Home Upgrades You Can Do for Just $2,000

Make a big impact without blowing your budget.

man painting house from outside.
Updated June 6, 2024
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Whether you plan to list your home on the summer market or you simply want to make your house more comfortable and stylish, there are big improvements you can make while keeping money in your pocket.

Lauren Madaline, a Delaware Realtor with Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio International, shared her best tips for projects that will give your home a fresh new look and show it off in its best light for buyers. 

There are steps you can take to improve your home, each of which will run you less than $2,000, and the payoff could far exceed the investment.

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Power wash your home

ronstik/Adobe house facade cleaning service

“Give your home a bath!” says Madaline. You don’t realize how dirty your home is until you take a power washer to it.

You can rent a power washer if you don’t have one on hand, or if you have a slightly higher budget, you can hire someone to tackle the job. Madaline recommends that you “include siding of the home, patio, walkways, sidewalks, and decks.”

Freshen up your yard

Maksim Kostenko/Adobe gardener planting flowers in the garden

Fresh new landscaping doesn’t have to mean hiring a crew to totally redo your yard. Simple changes can make your yard look neat and tidy.

“Clean up shrubs, weeds, mulch, edge, and always put out fresh flowers at the front door,” advises Madaline.

Clean your windows

Alexander Raths/Adobe cleaning window pane

Clean your windows, and you’ll be shocked by how much additional light makes its way into your home.

Dirt, dust, and pollution can create a film that isn’t immediately visible to the naked eye, but it makes a huge difference when you compare the before and after.

The average cost for a professional window cleaner is $10 to $15 per window.

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Service your home

KomootP/Adobe engineer in safety hardhat helmet and vest check quality and inspect building

“Have up-to-date service contracts,” recommends Madaline, and make sure you take advantage of them.

Get the mechanical parts of your home — HVAC, water heater — and roof serviced seasonally or annually, and make sure to have your pest service come once every quarter.

These are the things you can’t see, but they make a big difference in the state of your home.

Declutter storage areas

Oulaphone/Adobe woman folding her clothes

No matter how clean your house is, if your storage areas are filled to the brim, the entire house feels cluttered.

“Declutter to show off your space, including your storage spaces, like basements and garages,” says Madaline.

Go neutral on the walls

megaflopp/Adobe male painter paints house wall with roller brush

“Paint your rooms neutral colors — and the same color throughout,” recommends Madaline.

Pick an easygoing neutral, like a warm white, then use it throughout the hallways, common spaces, and any area that’s part of an open floor plan. For buyers, this creates a blank canvas.

Ditch the old carpet

Andrey Popov/Adobe workers hands rolling carpet

“Old carpet? Either replace or, better yet, remove it. If you have hardwoods hiding underneath, let them show,” says Madaline.

Replacing wall-to-wall carpet will run between $2 and $9 per square foot when it’s professionally installed, so most rooms will come in under $2,000.

Upgrade the bathroom linens

Алена Ваторина/Adobe clean white towels in bathroom

If you don’t have the budget for a full bathroom renovation, you can still spruce up the space to look shiny and new for buyers. “Add new and fresh hand towels, rugs, shower curtains, and bathmats,” recommends Madaline.

Give your kitchen a facelift

MVProductions/Adobe kitchen in brand new luxury home

Skip the expensive kitchen renovation and, instead, make a few strategic upgrades that won’t break the bank.

“Replace dated kitchen countertops with quartz or granite and update the hardware on the cabinets,” says Madaline. You can even DIY the hardware installation to save more money.

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Hire a stager

New Africa/Adobe interior designer decorating white wall

If you’re putting your house up for sale, Madaline advises, “Hire a stager! They can help rearrange your existing furniture to maximize your space and entice buyers. They can also choose paint colors and tell you what needs to go — like personal photos.”

As long as the stager isn’t bringing in an entire house of rented furniture, you shouldn’t pay more than a few hundred dollars for consulting and editing.

Make sure the lightbulbs are consistent

Kunlathida/Adobe woman hands changing light bulb

Most people don’t give a second thought to lightbulbs — unless they notice they’re out. And that’s exactly what you don’t want.

“Make sure every lightbulb is working and the same voltage and ‘color,’” says Madaline. Choose daylight or soft white, and stick to it.

Paint the front door

ImageFlow/Adobe front door of white house

You only get one chance at a first impression, so make sure the front door is eye-catching. Paint it a vibrant color so buyers will immediately notice your house from the street. Try red or royal blue for a color that’s both classic and bold.

Hang new ceiling light fixtures

HENADZI BUKA/Adobe chandelier with many light bulbs

Ceiling light fixtures are one of the first items that can date a house,but luckily they’re easy and inexpensive to replace on your own.

Try hanging a new dining room chandelier or installing new hall lights. You can make a huge impact with an afternoon of work and a few hundred dollars.

Bottom line

VAKSMANV/Adobe woman dancing and painting wall with roller brush

There’s no telling what the real estate market will do in the coming months and years, so the best thing you can do is make sure your house is poised to look its best. Consider stashing some money in a high-yield savings account earmarked for home upgrades, so you’re ready when the time is right.

Taking on a full renovation before selling isn’t always a good idea, both because of budget and because you don’t know the future buyer’s taste. But making these small upgrades may be the difference between a home that looks dated and tired and one that has buyers lining up for the open house.

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Author Details

Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.