It’s time to get busy with some fall DIY projects that may very well add value to your home that could pay off in the long run.

Zillow research1 finds 81 percent of people say they’re spending more time at home compared to last year.  If you are getting your home ready to hit the market, you will want to make that time and effort count.

Zillow partnered with Thumbtack to help sellers better estimate the costs of five manageable projects they should consider before listing their home for sale.

Zillow research finds nearly half (43%) of all homeowners say finding DIY time was difficult or very difficult, which may explain why the same percentage of homeowners say they have unfinished home improvement projects.

According to a Zillow press release, if you can find the time or hire a pro to complete these projects, it could help boost your bottom line as sale prices climb and homes are selling at their fastest pace in more than two years.  Zillow data finds those who make at least one improvement are more likely to sell their home above their list price than sellers who don’t make any improvements — 23% versus 17%, respectively.2

“There are small things anyone can do to present their home in a better light,” said Sue Cohn Darmon, a Zillow Premier Agent in Connecticut with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in the news release. “First impressions go a long way, especially since buyers are now spending more time searching online for homes. Listing photos are going to look better if the home appears well maintained.  If the small things are taken care of, the assumption is that the bigger things that aren’t visible have been taken care of too.”

Zillow has selected five DIY projects recommended by agents that could help increase your home’s value when it comes time to sell.  These home improvements are by no means the only projects a homeowner should consider before selling; previous Zillow research has offered advice for sellers considering more extensive renovations. While many of these projects are correlated with a sale premium or faster than an expected sale, they are not guaranteed to increase your home’s sale price.

Upgrade Lights

  • Good lighting can change the atmosphere in your home. Replacing old fixtures with new ones and adding dimmer switches will go a long way in setting the right mood. However, if you replace your fixtures with smart lights controlled by an app, you could save on your energy bill and sell your home faster. Zillow research finds homes mentioning smart lights in their listing description sold seven days faster than expected.

    Here’s an easy guide to change a light fixture, but if you want a professional installer to do the job, Thumbtack finds the average cost is $380.

Replace Old Faucets

  • A shiny new faucet can elevate a bathroom or kitchen’s style. Make it a touchless faucet for added appeal, as COVID-era buyers increasingly look for smart features that will keep their homes germ-free.

    No previous plumbing skills are required, but attention to detail is key if you want to avoid a flood. Here are the steps to install a faucet, but for a pro touch, Thumbtack finds, on average, you can expect to pay $205 to replace bathroom fixtures.

Landscape Correctly

  • A Zillow survey from the Harris Poll3 finds more outdoor space is the top reason people say they would consider moving as a result of social distancing recommendations. That’s why it’s more important than ever to spruce up your yard and create the functional, beautiful outdoor space buyers want.

    If you don’t have a green thumb or the right tools, expect to pay $2,600 on average according to Thumbtack for a professional landscaping business to clean up your yard, which typically covers mowing, pruning, weeding, planting new flowers or shrubs, and adding new soil, mulch or bark dust. Homes mentioning landscaping in their listing description can sell for 2.7 percent more than expected, according to Zillow research, so it’s often an investment well worth making.

Place a Fire Pit

  • Once you’ve landscaped, install a fire pit to create the ultimate family-friendly backyard oasis. Listings mentioning a fire pit can sell for 2.8 percent more than similar homes, according to a Zillow analysis – a higher sale premium than homes mentioning an outdoor fireplace or a chimenea. Here’s how to build your own backyard fire pit in 7 easy steps.

Paint Front Door (and More)

  • A glossy coat of exterior paint on the front door can amp up your curb appeal, but if you’re thinking about resale, you’ll want to be strategic about the color you choose. Zillow research finds homes with black front doors can sell for up to $6,000 more than similar homes.

    Take it a step further and paint the entire exterior to send a signal to a buyer that your home is well-maintained. In a survey of Zillow Premier Agents4, 77 percent recommended sellers paint their homes. Thumbtack finds the average cost of exterior painting is $2,535.

“Taking on DIY projects can give homeowners a perceived sense of control during a time of uncertainty, but they come at the cost of time and effort. A pro may have the right tools and expertise to do the job faster and more effectively,” said Zillow home trends expert Amanda Pendleton in the news release. “This research finds the most costly projects are those that start as DIY and end up being completed by a professional.”

“We help homeowners hire local professionals to maintain and add value to their most important investment,” said Thumbtack pro-engagement manager Hannah Siegel in the same release. “On Thumbtack, you can find help for pretty much anything from painting and landscaping to new flooring and bathroom remodels.”


1 Zillow Group Population Science Survey on Time Spent at Home Conducted 7/16/2020 – 7/21/2020
2 2019 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report
3 This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zillow from May 4-6, 2020 among 2,065 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
4 Zillow Group partnered with independent market research and data analytics firm YouGov® to conduct a nationally representative, an online quantitative survey that gathered information from 1000 sellers that sold a home in the past 6 months and 500 residential real estate agents.

Source: Zillow