HomeGain.com announced today that it has released the results of its nationwide home improvement and home staging¬† Home Sale Maximizer‚ĄĘ survey.¬†Past findings from the survey have been a guide for thousands of home sellers in preparing their homes for sale.
The top five nationwide home improvements that Realtors recommend to home sellers, based on average cost and return on investment (ROI) to sellers, are:
- Cleaning and de-cluttering ($290 cost / $1,990 price increase / 586% ROI / 99% recommended)
- Lightening and brightening ($375 cost / $1,550 price increase / 313% ROI / 97% recommended)
- Home staging ($550 cost / $2,194 price increase / 299% ROI / 80% recommended)
- Landscaping ($540 cost / $1,932 price increase / 258% ROI / 93% recommended)
- Repair Electrical or Plumbing ($535 cost / $1,505 price increase / 181% ROI / 92% recommended)
Costs are averages and rounded up.
Cleaning and de-cluttering continues to¬† rank as the top suggested home improvement (since the survey was originally conducted in 2003). This low cost home improvement is recommended by 99% of Realtors and costs less than $300 but has a returning value of nearly $2,000 to the home‚Äôs sale price, or a 586% return (ROI).
In 2007 survey results, Lightening and Brightening had the second highest ROI followed by Home Staging. In the 2009 survey, Home Staging overtook Lightening and Brightening. The leapfrogging continues with the 2011 survey as Lightening and Brightening reclaims the number two position.
“Sellers need to prepare their homes for sale before putting them on the market,” said Louis Cammarosano, General Manager at HomeGain.¬† ‚ÄúHomes that have initial appeal have a better shot at selling faster and closer to the asking price than homes rushed to the market with no improvements.‚ÄĚ
Rounding out the top 10 DIY home improvements are:
6. Update¬† kitchen and bathrooms ($1,265 cost / $3,435 price increase / 172% ROI / 75% recommended)
7. Replacing or¬† shampooing carpets ($647 cost / $1,739 price increase / 169% ROI / 98% recommended)
8. Painting interior walls ($1,012 cost / $2,112 price increase / 109% ROI / 96% recommended)
9. Repair damaged floors ($931 cost /$1,924 price increase / 107% ROI / 93% recommended)
10. Paint outside of home ($1,467 cost / $2,222 price increase / 51% ROI / 81% recommended)
Try the Home Sale Maximizer Tool below:
In comparison to the 2009 survey results, the top five home improvements were the same, except that Lighten and Brighten and Stage home for sale were flipped for second and third top home projects.
The home improvements with the highest price increases to a home’s resale value is Updating the Kitchen and Bathroom ($3,435 price increase), followed by Painting the Outside of the Home ($2,222 price increase) and Home Staging ($2,194 price increase).
Surveyed REALTOR¬ģ commentary:
“I’m AR, a Realtor in Portland for over 20 years. Typically removing clutter and opening up spaces does the trick in a home that shows well. On ones that don’t show well I usually have them stage, paint and manicure their yards.” – Athyantha Rao, Portland, Oregon
“Homes should be neat and clean and free of clutter and they should be painted if the current paint job is more than 3 years old.” – ¬†Jim Mazzeo, Weichert Realtors, Mazzeo Agency New York, New York
“I don’t think that you get any monitary value from staging your home in the long run, but it does sell the home faster and generates more interest right from the start. The intent is to get it SOLD not to sell for more.” – Chris Canfield, Calcagni Associates, Cheshire, Connecticut
“We believe staging is so critical. We own our own staging company and provide a $3,000 staging for free as a part of our listing package.” – Carl Medford, California Prudential Realty, Castro Valley, California
“We are a military town. Basic home improvements, a clean de-cluttered home, animal free, along with decent pricing are what moves our market.” – Anna Lea, RE/MAX, Jacksonville, North Carolina
“Staging, I think, is the most important item when selling a home. I usually give my clients a free consultation, so no need to hire anyone. But if they hire someone, I think it’s the best money they will ever spend. You need a neutral party who knows what homebuyers focus on when looking at homes.” – Harry Martin, RE/MAX United, Escondido, California
“Major concerns for buyers in the market for resale homes include age of roofing materials (or remaining life expectancy) , age of ac/heat systems and age of kitchen appliances, and whether or not the former owner made investments in upgrading the kitchen and bathrooms.” – Earl Cannon, Florida
“I’ve found that professional staging can aid in helping sell the home much faster 20%-30% faster and for up to 15% more money.” – Randall Hannaway, Colorado Group Realty, Inc., Steamboat Springs, Colorado
“Most important staging advice – DE-CLUTTER & clean up!”¬† – Laura Wheeler, Keller Williams, Louisville, Kentucky
“Homes that are “Priced to Sell” and “Staged” to look better than all other competitive listings are the homes that are selling in this challenging housing market.” – David Jaffe, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Arlington Heights, Illinois
“Buyers are going to change the house for their taste. The house needs to be clean, de-cluttered, and neutral to sell.” – Betty Frame, At Home Realty Group, South Bend, Indiana
“Hire a home stager? What am I, chopped liver? Isn’t your home selling professional supposed to be educated in what sells and how to sell?” – John Sheppard, Texas
“Most of the homes in our area are sold to working class people who are more interested in structural issues than cosmetic. As long as the home is clean, uncluttered and bright it will sell in a reasonable time frame if priced properly” – Ann Marie Chopick, Pennsylvania
“I always tell clients to stage. It’s more effective than price reductions and usually costs less in the long run.” – Edward Sullivan, Massachusetts
“Buyers are looking for bargains and most sellers do not have the funds to put back into a property that has lost much of its value. The most important thing is to make a first impression by having a less cluttered, clean and bright home. Any major repairs should be done that could affect the property value.” – Donna Rice, Hawaii
“Staging is always encouraged and past experience/sales dictate that homes sale in less time and for more money. The trick is getting the Seller to part with the money upfront in this economy.” – Heather McNicholas, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Westminster, Colorado
“Homes nowdays have to be turn-key ready. However, before we can get the buyer in the door, the property has to be priced right.” -Jennifer Vaughan, Florida
“Most of our issues are sellers not being able to afford to do updates and repairs. It does have an impact on the maximum home price a seller is able to get and also shortens the time a home is on the market. I try to work with them to rearrange, declutter and do a few no or low cost projects to spruce a home up. For those sellers that have the money to update and make improvements prior to listing a home it does make a dramatic difference in their virtual tour photos, number of showings and shortens the list to under contract time.” – Nancy Watkins, Utah Homes & Land, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah
“People would rather pay less for a home and decide themselves how to upgrade it.” – Renah Bell, New York
*The term “low cost” is defined as less than $5,000.
Definitions of Home Improvement categories:
Cleaning and de-cluttering: Remove personal items; wash and clean all areas of inside and outside of house; freshen air; remove clutter from furniture, counters and all areas of the home; organize closets; polish woodwork and mirrors. See complete cleaning checklist.
Home staging: Add fresh flowers; removing personal items; reduce clutter; rearrange furniture; add new props or furniture to enhance room/s; play soft music; hang artwork in walls. See complete staging checklist.
Lightening and brightening: Open windows; clean windows and skylights inside and outside; replace old curtains or removing curtains; remove other obstacles from windows blocking light; repair lighting fixtures; make sure window open easily. See complete lighting checklist.
Landscaping: Front and back yards; add bark mulch; rake and remove leaves, branches and debris; plant bushes and flowers; add planters and hanging plants; mow grass; water lawn and plants; remov weeds and dead plants; manicure existing plants; any yardwork that improves the curb appeal of a home. See complete yard checklist.
Repair Plumbing: Update leaky or old faucet spouts and handles; repair leaks under bathroom or kitchen sinks; laundry room pipes; toilets should be in good working condition; remove mildew stains. See complete plumbing and electrical checklist.
Update¬† electrical: Update electrical with new wiring for modern appliances and/or Internet and other audio/visual equipment requested in homes today; door bell should work; service sprinkler systems; fix lights and outlets that do not turn on; replace old plug points with new safety fixtures. See complete plumbing and electrical checklist.
Replacing or¬† shampooing carpets: Steam carpet thoroughly; replace worn carpet; securing carpets to floor; eliminate creaks in floors under carpets by driving nails into creaky area (through carpet).
Painting interior walls: Fresh coat of paint in rooms throughout the house; remove dated wallpaper; whitewash dark paneling; paint front door; have leaks repaired and watermarks covered. See complete interior painting checklist.
Repair damaged floors: Patch, repair or replace hard wood floors; clean and wax linoleum; replace missing tiles; re-grout tile floors; eliminate creaks in floors. See complete floors and carpet checklist.
Update kitchen: Updating moderately priced appliances like microwaves, dishwashers, stoves; repair damaged counter tops; fixing cupboard doors; repairing broken shelving or pantry; fix hardware like doorknobs and cabinet handles; repair any water damaged surfaces or areas; garbage disposal should work properly; retouching with paint if needed. See complete kitchen and bathroom checklist.
Paint outside of home: Fresh coat of paint around exterior of home and garage; paint shutters; paint window ledges; repairing damages to chimney; paint or re-stain fence. See complete exterior painting checklist.
Update bathroom/s: Update moderately priced bathroom fixtures; sink; toilets should function properly; fix leaky faucets; repair shelving and towel racks; add new towels and mats; repair vanities and mirrors; clean sliding glass shower doors; replace shower curtains; re-grouting tiling. See complete kitchen and bathroom checklist.
HomeGain received survey responses from nearly 600 real estate agents in each of the U.S. regions. All agents might not necessarily agree on the same pre-sale strategy.¬† See “% of agents recommending” column above. Differences of opinions may vary based on the climate of the market, region of the country or condition of the home in question.
Home Sale Maximizer Home Improvement Tool:
If you are preparing to sell your house, Home Sale Maximizer can help identify and prioritize the home improvement projects to focus on to increase the saleability and selling price of your home. Home Sale Maximizer is a free, quick and easy-to-use tool for homeowners, and it‚Äôs also a great resource for real estate agents to provide to their home seller clients.
See the¬† HomeGain Home Improvement Survey Press Release