What repairs will improve the value of my house most and be the best for resale?

I bought a modest house and am willing to put up to $10,000 into it to fix it up and help it sell, and can do some of the work myself.

It is a 2-bedroom 1 1/2 bath in need up much cosmetic repair. It currently has old carpet over hardwood floors in family room and beedrooms. Badly stained kitchen carpet and vinyl flooring in bathrooms. Ugly wall paper, out-dated bath rooms, old kitchen cabinets. Water pressure is slow in all faucets. Home is in need of paint inside and out, has some ceiling damage, old windows (some cracked), some damaged and rotted window sills and siding, probably 30-year old furnace and perhaps not quite as old A/C, but both work.

I obviously can't fix everything for $10,000 but what do you think would make the most difference? If you have other improvement ideas of your own, let me know them too!

All ideas appreciated!

First of all, get rid of the old carpet and vinyl flooring, and the ugly wallpaper. If you can remove the wallpaper without doing too much damage, then you're better off painting all the walls a neutral color. You may have to patch them first to get them smooth, then texture them. Also patch and texture the ceiling and then paint it as well. Otherwise, if you can't easily remove the old wallpaper, then go back over the old with new, but don't get too creative. Try to keep the design as neutral as possible, so as not to turn off any prospective buyers. If the hardwood floors are still solid and you feel up to it, refinish them yourself. Hardwoods are a big plus for many buyers. Also, if you can afford to, replace the vinyl flooring with tile. It's not that much more expensive and it can be done yourself, but you will want to rent a tile saw. Keep in mind that the more that you do yourself, the more in total that you can do within your budget. Hopefully you have a few good friends or relatives that would be willing to give you some help. If you do all the above yourself, you should still be well under the $10,000.

If the heat and A/C are working, then don't even consider replacing. Just have a professional check them out to make sure there is nothing major wrong or to make any minor repairs.

After all this, then tackle the exterior and the windows with whatever budget is left. fix the siding and paint the exterior first, then repair the windows last. This may seem backwards, but when selling a home, most buyers are won over more by the looks of the house than by its function. If everything looks pretty, they may not notice or give as much weight to the windows or the low water pressure in the faucets.

Best of luck to you. You will learn a lot from doing this, and also you may just find that you can make some good money at this. Lots of folks like to buy an old house in need of repairs and fix it up while they live in it, and then sell it for a nice profit.

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