Which Home Improvement Projects Offer the Best Returns (forget what the "experts say" what are you seeing)?

Asked by Marc White, Charlotte, NC Tue Jan 3, 2012

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Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Jan 3, 2012
Sellers should begin with the idea that no "home improvement project" returns 100% of the cost. First and foremost, do what Dan and Mark have said - if it's dirty, clean it. If it needs paint, paint it. If it's broken, fix it. Once the house is pristine, then - and only then - should you be thinking about "improvement." Because a fancy new kitchen won't mean squat if both bathrooms are stuck in the '70s and exterior paint is peeling.
1 vote
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Tue Jan 3, 2012
Hi Marc,
I largely agree with Mark; paint, hardware, floors and possibly countertops, removing wall paper from the 80's, opening up drapes or blinds to let in light. Trimming back bushes, weeding, light landscaping and general cleaning inside and out. Great place to start.
I've attached a blog I did about prepping for staging. It might help more.
1 vote
Mark Meissner, Agent, Bozeman, MT
Tue Jan 3, 2012

In my experience it has been the simple items that most homeowners can tackle themselves that fetch the best returns. A fresh coat of paint on walls and trim on interior/exterior can go a LONG way. Other cosmetic items such as new cabinet hardware, new electrical fixtures, new plumbing trim kits are all relatively inexpensive in the scheme of things, but can make a home stand above and beyond others. Great topic though Marc. I'm curious to hear what other Agents have to say as well.

Mark Meissner
Sales Associate
ERA Landmark
Bozeman, MT
1 vote
Kathy Weber, Agent, Murrieta, CA
Wed Jan 4, 2012
For clients with little to no money - simple decluttering, cleaning, & paint. A good stager can transform almost any home into presentable condition. I think it's worth paying a stager instead of trying to sink money into a property the clients moving out of.
0 votes
Julie Butler, Agent, Virginia Beach, VA
Wed Jan 4, 2012
I agree with most of these answers...obviously we all know that updated kitchens and bathrooms bring value, but initial curb appeal is a must, as well. If a potential buyer doesn't like what he/she sees before they even enter the house, they tend to be more critical about the interior. First impressions...so important.
0 votes
Nina Harris, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Wed Jan 4, 2012
Curb appeal - you have to get them into the house!

In my area, the homes that have updated kitchens and bathrooms w/open floor plans are selling a lot faster than those that don't.

Painting, decluttering, taking the carpet up if there are wood floors, lighting, staging, and cleaning are the best returns on investment in today's market.
Web Reference:  http://ninaharrishomes.com
0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Wed Jan 4, 2012
Ditto, ditto, ditto
To often the consideration must be made regarding what must be done to make the home 'sellable.' Obsolete kitchens and floorplans will clearly place the home in the 'price war' category. If the removal of a wall will transform a home from an obsolete 1960's floorplan to a more contemporary format, and the community values support the increase in value, then greater investment can be done. Those creative and able flippers have recognized this for some time now. Of course, for flippers, the margin was established in the acquisition cost and is a option for few homeowners.

What I am seeing, as others have so aptly stated, the typical seller should focus on fixing, cleaning and painting..starting at the curb. These are the only investments will will yield a 100%, or greater, return. One unconfirmed source reported a 160% return on front door replacement. I most certainly am not seeing that! And be sure to give it the sniff test, if you can smell it...it will be hard to sell it.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Wed Jan 4, 2012
Hi, the obvious kitchens and baths always command a strong return. then you have simple fixes like painting and lighting that make a world of difference to a home. I'm a huge fan of even, consistent flooring, and recessed lighting. There is nothing worse then entering a room that has a floor lamp in the corner and only lights up half the room.


Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Represesentative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Wed Jan 4, 2012

Without a doubt.....deep cleaning, painting, de-cluttering, planting, staging etc. are often overl ooked but can add thousands to the mix......there's no substitute for making a property "shine!"

Great question.

0 votes
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