ADVICE TO SELLERS: SPEND A LITTLE, RAISE THE PRICE A LOT
Your real estate professional is probably advising you to declutter, stage your home, plant new flowers, and make numerous repairs and updates. You may be reluctant to get started because of the costs, but according to home valuation site HomeGain, improvements like these can actually make you more money when you sell your home.
Under HomeGain's Tools for Sellers, you can find the Home Sale Maximizer tool, where HomeGain has identified the top 10 home improvements under $1,500.
These add the most to home sellers' bottom line, and are recommended by over 600 real estate professionals across the nation.
The top 10 home improvements are listed by the greatest return on investment (ROI):
Cleaning and de-cluttering ($290 cost / $1,990 price increase / 586% ROI)
Lightening and brightening ($375 cost / $1,550 price increase / 313% ROI)
Home staging ($550 cost / $2,194 price increase / 299% ROI)
Landscaping ($540 cost / $1,932 price increase / 258% ROI)
Repairing electrical or plumbing ($535 cost / $1,505 price increase / 181% ROI)
Kitchen and bathroom ($1,265 cost/$3,435 price increase/172% ROI)
Replace or shampoo carpets ($647 cost/$1,730 price increase/169% ROI
Paint interior ($1,012 cost/$2,112 price increase/109% ROI)
Repair floors ($931 cost/$1,924 price increase/107% ROI)
Paint exterior ($1,467 cost/$2,222 price increase/51% ROI)
When you put in your zip code, your results may vary from the survey results, but what's interesting is how consistently the surveyed listing agents recommended the same home improvements. Nearly 100% of listing agents recommend cleaning and de-cluttering, while 97% recommended lightening and brightening and 80% recommended staging. These top three categories cost just a little over $1,000, yet netted sellers $5,734 at closing.
One hundred percent of HomeGain real estate agents recommend painting the interior and cleaning the carpet and ninety-eight percent recommend decluttering., but you may be surprised to learn that the top three money-makers in terms of ROI aren't necessarily what agents most often recommend.
Cleaning and decluttering: Remove personal items; wash and clean all areas inside and outside of house; freshen air; remove clutter from furniture, counters and all areas of the home; organize closets; polish woodwork and mirrors, etc.
Home staging: Add fresh flowers; remove personal items; reduce clutter; rearrange furniture; add new props or furniture to enhance rooms; play soft music; hang artwork in walls, and more.
Lightening and brightening: Open windows; clean windows and skylights inside and outside; replace old curtains; remove other obstacles from windows that block out light; repair lighting fixtures; make sure windows open easily, among other suggestions.
It's all about first and favorable impressions. It takes money to make money, but it doesn't have to take a lot. It's the return on investment that's important.