When you’re ready to sell your home, you’ll want it to sell as quickly as possible for the maximum amount of money. To that end, most homeowners will undertake some type of home improvement project, whether it's simply cleaning and depersonalizing or something more involved. But determining and prioritizing what needs to be done and what it will cost can be overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the home staging projects real estate professionals recommend before placing your home on the market. We’ve organized these projects by cost, so you can prioritize what best fits your budget. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Profile of Home Staging 2023 and the latest costs from Fixr.com cost guides, you can make an informed decision about how to best prepare your home for selling.
5 Most Recommended Projects for Selling a Home in 2023
Real estate experts and home staging professionals advise their clients on what their home needs in order to increase the chances of attracting buyers. Here are the 5 projects that they most recommend.
1. Professionally declutter
An overwhelming majority of 96% of real estate experts advise that home sellers should have their homes professionally decluttered before inviting potential buyers for viewings. Decluttering a home helps make the space look larger and cleaner. Trying to ignore a lot of items makes it difficult to focus on the home's potential and can often make rooms feel cramped. To have a professional come and declutter your home will cost in the region of $450.
2. Entire home cleaning
One option most homeowners will want to consider is the second most recommended project. Having a professional clean the entire home is what 88% of real estate experts say is advisable when staging a home. It is also one of the most affordable projects listed at an average of $221. Having a clean home gives off a good first impression and allows the buyer to have a pleasant experience viewing the home. It also gives the feeling of a fresher, newer space.
3. Repair drywall
72% of professionals tell their clients to repair any minor damages. One common minor damage around the home is wear and tear to the drywall. This could include dents, holes, and scratches. Having this type of damage highlights how much the home has been lived in, giving it an older appearance than it may actually have. Repairing drywall carries an average cost of around $350, one of the cheaper projects on our list.
4. Repair damaged shingles
Replacing or repairing damaged shingles is another minor repair that 72% of pros recommend. First impressions are vital when selling a home, and although curb appeal, in general, is not listed, it is a vital part of selling a home. The roof forms a huge part of curb appeal, and this is a minor repair that has a significant impact on buyers. The extent of the roof damage will affect the cost, but homeowners can expect to pay around $500 to repair damaged shingles.
5. Carpet cleaning
Having the carpet professionally cleaned gives it a new lease of life, leaving it smelling nice and looking fresh. A worn-down, dirty carpet can let the whole interior design of a room down. This is why 71% of experts say they recommend this project. Cleaning the carpet in 2 bedrooms is the most affordable project listed, costing around $180 on average, making it a desirable option for home sellers.
Weighing Up Expert Recommendations vs. Cost
While some projects may be advisable, they may also be costly. Depending on the budget you set yourself for sprucing up your home for sale will dictate which home improvements you prioritize. For example, entire home cleaning will probably get you the best bang for your buck due to its relatively low cost but high recommendation.
If you want to spend less than $500 on a single project, it would be wise to rule out regrouting the shower, which costs an average of $700, and only 30% of real estate pros recommend it. If you believe your home desperately needs landscaping but only want to splash out on one area, then the front yard would be a better option. It costs an average of $5,000 to complete, whereas the backyard is around $9,000, but both are recommended by 50% of experts.
Some good intermediate projects that 65% of home stagers suggest are paint touch-ups and depersonalizing the home. At the lower end of the cost scale, getting a professional painter to touch up necessary spots around the home will set you back around $200. Having a home stager/organizer come and depersonalize your home costs in the region of $500.
Here is the complete list of projects, in order of most recommended:
|Project||% of Experts that Recommend||Cost|
|Entire home cleaning||88%||$221|
|Repair drywall (minor repairs)||72%||$350|
|Repair damaged shingles (minor repairs)||72%||$500|
|Landscape front yard||50%||$5,000|
Listen to Advice to Sell Your Home
Ultimately the decision is yours when it comes to making improvements in order to sell your home. The projects listed are the most commonly recommended by real estate professionals whose experience and know-how can help guide you. The costs of each project can further help you determine which are the best fits for your budget.
We took statistics from NAR’s Profile of Home Staging 2023 and combined the percentage recommendations with average costs from Fixr.com cost guides. For some projects, we broke them down into more specific home improvements in order to assign a specific project cost. For example, NAR’s report lists ‘landscaping,’ which we split into the front yard and backyard landscaping. For ‘minor repairs,’ we listed drywall repair and repair broken shingles. For ‘grouting,’ we opted for ‘regrout shower’.
Adam Graham is an industry analyst at Fixr.com. He analyzes and writes about the real estate and home construction industries, covering a range of associated topics. He has been featured in publications such as Better Homes and Gardens and The Boston Globe and has written for various outlets including the National Association of Realtors, and Insurance News Net Magazine.