The Top 10 DIY Home Improvements to Maximize Your Sale Value

In 2012, HomeGain conducted a National Home Improvement Survey. The purpose was to determine the top 10 do-it-yourself home improvements that cost less than $5,000 and can add the most resale value for people intending to sell their homes. HomeGain surveyed almost 500 real estate agents nationwide during the data collection process. The findings from past surveys have guided thousands of home sellers in preparing their homes for sale.

The top 5 do-it-yourself home improvements recommended by real estate agents that provide the highest return on investment are:

Top 5 do-it-yourself home improvements

Costs are averages of 2012 prices, and rounded up.

Examples of Top 5 Home Improvement Categories

Clean & de-clutter: Cleaning both the interior and exterior of the home; removal of clutter and personal items from furniture, floors and counters; woodwork and mirror polishing; organizing closets. In the garage, clean up oil on the floor and straighten tools and other equipment.

Lighten & brighten: Clean all windows & skylights inside and out; ensure all windows open easily; open all drapes during showings to allow light in; repair any damaged light fixtures.

Electrical & plumbing repairs: Replace old plug points with new safety fixtures; ensure that all lights, outlets and the doorbell are working. Remove all mildew stains and repair crumbling tile grout; ensure all toilets are in good working order; replace old or leaky faucet spouts and handles; ensure any under sink leaks are repaired.

Home staging: Place a new welcome mat at the doorway; addition of artwork on walls and props (e.g. fresh flowers) to enhance the look of rooms; furniture rearrangement; ensure beds are made and bathrooms have fresh towels; replacement or removal of old curtains; cleaning of fireplace and addition of fresh logs; consider lighting up the fireplace during the colder months.

Landscaping: Remove gardening equipment and all obstacles from pathways, steps and the driveway; mow and water the lawn; rake and remove leaves, branches and debris; remove dead plants and weeds; prune bushes and shrubs; add bark mulch; add colorful hanging plants near the front door and porch area; power wash the deck and/or re-stain/paint the wood; re-paint the fence and/or repair/replace damaged sections.

Rounding out the top 10 DIY home improvements are:

Top 10 do-it-yourself home improvements

Costs are averages of 2012 prices, and rounded up.

Kitchen & Bathroom renovations continue to add the most to a home’s resale value ($3,255 price increase), followed by Electrical & Plumbing repairs ($3,175 price increase) and Exterior Painting ($2,176 price increase).

Since the initial survey was conducted in 2003, cleaning and de-cluttering has remained the number one suggested low cost improvement recommended by 99% of real estate agents. “Lighten & Brighten” and “Home Staging” have historically battled it out for the #2 spot, with the former winning in the 2011 survey, and maintaining that position in 2012, while the latter dropped to the #5 spot.

These simple and cost effective do-it-yourself home improvements not only offer a high return on investment, they also increase the odds for a faster sale closer to the seller’s asking price. For further tips on preparing your home for sale, checkout our article on the "Top 7 Tips on Getting Your Home Ready For Sale", or go through our 16 part "Is Your Home Fit to Sell?" video series.

For more personal advice, feel free to call us on 1-888-884-3396 or complete the form towards the bottom of our Free Home Value Estimate webpage. We will be happy to share our advice and insights regarding your sale plans – obligation free. We are always ready to help out with a smile and we look forward to working with you soon.

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