Whether your home is already on the market or if you are planning to do so in the future, being in quarantine presents an ideal time to tackle simple DIY projects. Improving your home can significantly increase the value of your property and can sometimes result in a quicker sale. The work does not have to be difficult or costly. Clear out, spruce up and maximize spaces to create the most appeal. You can still make a trip to your favorite big box store for supplies, using appropriate safety precautions and social distancing. Make a list of supplies for all projects to limit shopping trips.

Being active, even if it is just around the house and yard, is a great way to beat the boredom of quarantine. Here are the best activities those planning to sell can work on at home. Don’t forget to enlist your home team- kids or others in the household. Put on some fun music and have some snacks ready, ‘cause you are going to crank up the DIY energy!

Do your own pre-inspection inspection


At some point in the future, you will likely have a professional home inspection prior to finalizing a sale. Quarantine is a good time to do your own pre-inspection, checking for leaks, non-functioning outlets or frayed wires, broken appliances, gutters filled with debris, slow moving sink drains, condition of exterior siding and shingles and anything else you can find. Go ahead and make an exhaustive list. Then you can decide if there are some things you can remedy yourself, what will need professional service, or what to leave as is.

A word to the wise- unless you have specific training, most electrical, plumbing and appliance repair is best left to the professionals. However, you will likely find plenty of tasks on the list to fill your days.

Go ahead, play interior designer

Midwest DesignLook at some interior design sites like Midwest Living or Pinterest to find a style you like.

When preparing to sell, you’ll want to “curate” your collection of art and collectibles and store the rest. A few nice wall pieces, or a grouping of smaller items on a display shelf will give a tasteful hint of décor, while keeping some things you like to look at close at hand.

Gathering living room seating around a focal point- fireplace or large screen TV- brings people in the household together. Get rid of bulky furniture that make the space feel smaller and interrupt sight lines. If there a kiddos at home, define a play space with cool trunks or other tasteful storage. It will give young ones the feeling of having their own space, and parents a place to stash away toys, games and craft materials.

Create a home gym

home gymCOVID-19 taught us one thing- keeping fit is a great way to stave off illness. If a home gym has been on your mind, you can create one with a nice exercise mat, an inexpensive full-length mirror, a couple of dumb bells and an exercise band. You’ll love the sound from this snappy JBL Bluetooth speaker, that you can hang from a hook in your home gym, and take it outside to accompany you in the garden.

Give tired walls a lick of paint

painting wallsA new paint job will always work wonders to a room. There’s no better, more affordable way to freshen up a room than with a new coat of paint. Painting isn’t terribly difficult and is also something you can get older kids to help with.

Don’t forget to prep the surface –fill in cracks and holes. If your walls have a texture, you can easily match the surface of a small patch with a spray on texture product. When partially dry, knock it down a bit with a large plastic putty knife.

All decent quality paints these days have primer built in, so a separate primer is not necessary when repainting walls. Unless you are sealing a surface prone to staining or with an uneven or glossy prior finish, skip the primer step and go right to painting.

Upcycle something

upcycled furnitureYippee! You finally have time to do that upcycled table/chair/bench/wall art piece you’ve been planning to do forever. When painting a piece of old furniture, here’s some advice from someone that hates sanding! Clean the piece thoroughly with Krud Kutter, which is a cleaner/degreaser. Prime the piece with a light coat of Kilz primer, then paint in the color of your choice to fit your decor. You can also try a light crackle finish for a vintage look, or try DIY chalk painting with a hand-rubbed wax finish.

Stylize your home office space

home officeAs a massive amount of companies have learned to adapt to remote workers, organizations may see the advantage of some of their workforce continuing to work from home. Having a comfortable and efficient home office will serve you well now, and may be an attractive selling feature. This space is fairly easy to create. Even if you don’t have a desk now, a rectangular table will do just fine. Add a lamp, some desk accessories and an office chair (even an armless dining chair will do). Vertically stacked vintage crates make stylish office storage.

Spruce up your outside area

home entrySpending too much time indoors? Take your DIY skills outside. Nothing like a little curb appeal to make a positive first impression when planning to sell your home. In addition to cleaning up and replanting beds that were dormant over winter, create a little entry vignette with a large potted plant, rustic painted bench and suncatcher, along with a repainted or refinished front door. A nice seating area on the deck or patio is also a welcoming addition.

Create a kitchen garden

kitchen gardenAs a result of the current pandemic, many of us will be more aware of living sustainably for the environment, for convenience and also its cost saving benefits. Why not start with a container garden of herbs right in your kitchen window? Mint, rosemary and basil are just three of the many herbs that do well in small pots. The great thing about a kitchen garden? You won’t forget to water or care for plants you see every day and are conveniently close to the sink! Plus, a little well-tended, earthy greenness is a great addition to kitchen decor to show off during a home tour.


declutteringProbably not the most fun thing on your list (that’s why we hid it toward the bottom), but decluttering is actually the first thing we will ask you to do when getting your house ready to sell.

It’s amazing how quickly we can amass possessions. Pretty soon, items start finding a semi-permanent home on counters, side chairs and draped from exercise equipment. Decluttering a room may be hard if your closets are full to the brim. Now is a good time for everyone in the household to go through their things and decide what to keep, what to toss and what to donate. Grab some large totes for sorting and storing at Home Depot or Walmart.

Home organization guru Marie Kondo says items should each have their own home- tools in the garage or utility room, blankets and extra TP in the linen closet, coats, boots and outdoor gear in another.  According to Kondo, the failure to put things back where they belong causes clutter. Get things organized, then preparing to show your home won’t be much of a bother.

Rub a dub

disinfecting cleaningWhile you have that messy closet cleared out, it’s a great time to clean and scrub. Take the time to thoroughly vacuum and mop or wipe down the inside- it probably hasn’t been done in a while! Since we have all been encouraged to clean and disinfect surfaces, clear out the kitchen and bath cabinets and wipe everything down. The EPA has this handy list of effective household cleaners, many available at big box stores. While you’ve got your clean machine revved up, go ahead and scrub the bathroom, windows, doorknobs and lamps. Vacuum lamp shades and couch cushions. Don’t forget the home office- phones and keyboards are the germiest culprits in our homes. This article from Prevention describes how to thoroughly clean your computer keyboard.

Put your remaining social distancing time to good use by working on your home. It will pay off by making a more appealing impression to buyers. We are happy to provide our thoughts on your home improvement projects too- Karen is an expert home stager and house painter, and has some more great tips to share. Contact her directly at KarenZell@kw.com.

View All Selling Posts