Every day your home on the market isn't sold, it costs you money. So, it pays to review what bothers buyers the most.  

Sometimes there are renovations and home improvements that buyers put off for years because the projects didn't seem that important or the cost was difficult to justify. 

But when it's time to sell the house, it's time to take another look at what these improvements are and what it takes to tackle them. 

Below are four possible hurdles you are asking buyers to jump over -- bad walls, bad cabinets, a bad bath, or a bad roof. 

Let's see what it takes to remove those obstacles and get that purchase offer in your hands!

Unloveable paint

Everyone knows that painting gives you the biggest bang for your home improvement buck. 

Because I enjoy seeing the dramatic changes painting can make, I actually like doing interior painting. But I know that most people don't share my enthusiasm for this job. The typical home buyer wants a house that's move-in ready, so when you show them your turn-key home, you're ahead of all the competition that leaves maintenance and upgrade work for them to do themselves after the purchase. 

Are some of your rooms different colors? Do any walls show signs of damage or fading? Is there a room or two with dark or unusual wall colors? Are you still living with wallpaper? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're not letting your home sell itself. 

I always endorse painting an entire home on the market one color throughout. It simplifies homestaging and makes a property feel newer, pulled together, and more spacious. I've blogged about how to choose a paint color using a simple formula based on the existing finishes and fixtures already in your home that convey with the purchase.  

Stick with neutral colors. Grey is still popular. There are more variations of grey than any other paint color, so you're bound to find one that works well for your home. But don't shy away from whites and all their luscious variations. Do it yourself if you are patient, energetic, thorough, and have done it before. Otherwise, hire pros recommended to you by your local paint store. The people there know who the experienced, responsible painters are. 

Beautiful rooms start with beautiful walls.
Work with what you already have in place, and
choose a color anyone would love. Photo: Wayfair

Problem cabinets

Kitchen cabinets always set the tone of a kitchen. When they are in poor condition, or low quality, or terribly dated, the kitchen loses its appeal. And an unappealing kitchen can be a deal-breaker. 

Sellers who are motivated to have a home sale not get dragged through negotiations and requests for price reductions and repairs, focus on the kitchen. Cabinets are one of the first things buyers, especially women buyers, will notice on a home tour. 

Do your cabinets need a refresh? Replacing them offers a return on your investment of up to 81%, one of the best home improvement investment returns. Talk with your listing agent about what's expected in your market when it comes to kitchen styles and amenities. She may even be able to point you towards the best sources for kitchen cabinetry. 

Also, it's easy for you to go online yourself and search for comparable homes in your neighborhood to see what your competition's kitchens look like.

A kitchen that's too stark and sterile could benefit from wood finishes, a kitchen in a small farmhouse might want painted cabinets, while an urban loft calls out for a modern, minimalist design.    

If you opt for new cabinets, white ones in a shaker style are
a safe classic for most homestaging. This is my kitchen after
we installed them when our home was flooded two years ago. 

Maybe your cabinets are good quality but need just decluttering, a good cleaning, and then some fresh hardware to provide some bling or some period style. If they are a dated style and the market in your price range doesn't justify replacing them, perhaps you can paint them. I've done this often. Sometimes it's possible to paint cabinet doors and interiors without removing the doors from the frames. You'll just need to mask hinges or carefully paint around them. And, yes, painting cabinet interiors goes a long way towards making them look great.

If you are considering some kitchen upgrades, be sure to visit my Pinterest boards for kitchens and for bi-color kitchen cabinets to get some fresh ideas. 

It seemed a shame to rip out these strong, roomy cabinets,
so I painted them inside and out and gave their hinges and
handles a fresh coat of black paint to maintain their cottage charm. 
We replaced the useless doorway with a pantry closet. 

Outdated bathroom

Even if you don't have the time, energy, or money to give your 1970s bathroom a total overhaul, there are ways to make it look more contemporary on a tight timeline and limited budget. 

The average bathroom remodel costs $125 per square foot, but that figure changes depending on where you live, the fixtures and finishes you choose, and the kinds of changes you want to make. The figure could double or triple if you aren't smart about choices. 

A vanity with legs can  make a small
bathroom look larger because more floor
is visible Photo: Galeria 

One economical move would be to limit demotion work. Instead of ripping out an outdated vinyl floor, consider painting it with a product made for vinyl flooring, or using peel and stick tiles on top of it. 

If the bathroom is small and the floor has seen its best days, don't hesitate to replace a sheet vinyl floor. Visit a flooring store and ask about an economical vinyl remnant or a bargain on luxury vinyl planking. A few hours work by the store's installers solves your problem quickly and frugally.

Replacing bathroom cabinets needn't be a major expense. A new vanity goes a long way towards refreshing an older bathroom. Replacing bath cabinetry returns an average of 73%. That's not a bad percentage, especially since you'll increase chances of a quicker sale. 

A new faucet and matching showerhead can make your bathroom look like it's recently been renovated. Consider buying matte black hardware for the bath if you are aiming for a trendy look. Don't ignore bargain outlets and Habitat for Humanity Restore for discounted, new cabinet knobs and handles. Finally, new toilets do not cost much and are easy to install. 

Feel free to mix your metals when choosing bath hardware. 
Copper, oil rubbed brass, brushed nickel, chrome, stainless --
it's all good. I've blogged about the right way to mix varied metals
for home decor and staging. Photo: Maison de Pax. 

Replacing your countertops can also be a great way to update your bathroom. Many bathrooms and half baths have small enough counters that the cost of replacing them is nominal. Or, if you have laminate counters in a dark color, consider painting them with epoxy paint specifically made for counters. 

One of the more expensive bathroom improvements entails replacing a bathtub with a walk-in shower. Older buyers want a walk-in shower. Maybe that's not your market. Your Realtor will explain the importance of having a tub in a home, and together you can decide if the cost of a replacement is justified by the demographics and what your home is projected to sell for. 

Roof that needs replacing

Experienced and educated home buyers will always look up at the roof if they are interested in a property. Buyers who don't check the roof will get educated about its condition when they pay for a home inspection. 

Sometimes a pressure washing can rescue a shingled roof that's stained or mossy, but unless it's done by a professional, that kind of high pressure can seriously damage the shingles. Trained people who do it on a regular basis know the chemicals that will treat mold, fungus, grime, and stains, and the appropriate pressure to use.   

Where I live, in the southern US, metal roofs are popular. They're commonly referred to as 100-year roofs, and that's an accurate lifespan prediction. Asphalt shingle roofs have a lifespan of 20 or 30 years, so you can see what a selling point a metal roof can be.   

Today's homeowners are taking advantage of newer varieties of attractive metal roof styles and colors.
Some mimic the look of shingles or the look of clay tiles.

Gone are the days when sheet metal roofs were used only on commercial buildings. There's 
a style that's appropriate for every type of architecture. Both photos: Metal Roofing Wholesalers

Get the look, get the book

Don't let the costs of these home upgrades scare you. An oft-repeated piece of advice for investors and business owners alike is, "Spend money to make money." Even if the ROI isn't 100%, the speed and ease of the sale still represent money in your pocket. It makes good economic sense to correct problem areas in your home before you put it on the real estate market! It's wiser than price reductions down the road.  

Give buyers what they look for. I give more tips, encouragement, and inspiration in my home staging ebooks that you can download now and get started prepping your home for a quicker, more profitable sale.