HomeGain just released the findings of their survey of 600 real estate agents nationwide to determine the top 10 low-cost (less than $5,000), do-it-yourself home improvements for people getting their home ready to sell.
Based upon return on investment (ROI), Home Staging ranked 3rd as the most profitable improvement that can be made to a home, yielding a 299% ROI. An average investment in home staging of $550 produced a $2,194 price increase.
Home staging as defined by the survey includes adding fresh flowers; removing personal items; reducing clutter; rearranging furniture; adding new props or furniture to enhance room/s; playing soft music; and hanging artwork on walls. A home staging checklist compiled by HomeGain offers more tips for making the home attractive to buyers so that they can envision themselves living there.
Cleaning and Decluttering ranked number 1, with a 586% ROI. Almost every real estate agent (99%) recommended this in the survey.
Cleaning and decluttering was followed by Lightening and Brightening which produced a 313% ROI. Lightening and Brightening include opening windows; cleaning windows and skylights inside and outside; replacing old curtains or removing curtains; removing other obstacles from windows blocking light; repairing lighting fixtures; and making sure windows open easily. 97% of real estate agents recommend this step.
80% of agents surveyed recommended home staging to their clients. Here are what a few had to say:
“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
“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
“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
“I always tell clients to stage. It’s more effective than price reductions and usually costs less in the long run.” – Edward Sullivan, Massachusetts
Here are the full results of the survey:
For more information on this survey, as well as for definitions and homeowner checklists for each improvement, click here.