When you’re ready to sell your home, you 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 this is simply cleaning and depersonalizing or something more involved. But determining and prioritizing what needs to be done and what it will all cost can be both confusing and overwhelming.
The National Association of REALTORS®, in its 2021 report Profile of Home Staging, has revealed what projects realtors recommend for homeowners to complete prior to listing their home for sale. Because of the wide variety and cost of these projects, we have created an in-depth visualization that depicts the most recommended home improvement projects for four different budgets. We hope that this will serve as a guide you can use to better plan your home improvement and staging projects before selling.
The Most Recommended Projects for Selling a Home in 2021
We combined data from the National Association of Realtors’ 2021 Profile of Home Staging with Fixr.com’s cost information to create this graphic. Where costs for the recommended projects varied too much, two or three different projects that fell into a category were listed, showing low cost to high cost options. This makes it easier to see what may be possible and to budget for each project better.
The graphic is laid out from the least expensive projects to the most, with costs ranging left to right and top to bottom. The size of each circle represents the percentage of realtors that recommended it, while the colors show which are the most expensive and which are the least within each budget category. As the colors get darker, the projects become more costly to undertake.
% of realtors that recommend it
Entire home cleaning
Paint front door (curb appeal)
Repave driveway (curb appeal)
Exterior painting (curb appeal)
Repair drywall (Minor repairs)
Refinish hardwood floors (Minor repairs)
Paint touch ups
Single-visit lawn care service (Landscape)
Add a front path (Landscape)
Add front landscaping (Landscape)
Not every update you make to your home needs to break the bank. There are several minor projects that can be done that will have a big impact while still having a low cost. The least expensive of these is a single-visit lawn care service, which is part of the recommendation for landscaping. This service typically costs around $60. Because it’s a one time offering, you may want to schedule it right before an open house for it to have the biggest impact.
Another project realtors suggest is painting your front door to improve your curb appeal. Curb appeal plays a big role in how well your home is perceived. Painting your front door is a quick and affordable project that costs around $150, and it’s recommended by 78% of Realtors. Other high priority and low cost projects include repairing your drywall and touching up the paint. These quick fixes cost around $200 and $240 each, and got 58% and 69% of the vote respectively.
Finally, 85% of realtors said simply having your entire home professionally cleaned is a good idea, and this usually has a cost of about $221. These small projects can all help improve the way your home presents, making it more attractive to buyers, and potentially resulting in a quicker sale.
Mid-Level Budget Projects: $250 - $2,999
If you have a bigger budget and your home could use a little more work to help it look its best and set it apart from the other homes on the market, there are a full range of mid-level projects you can undertake as well. These also include landscaping and curb appeal projects, such as adding a front path or repaving your driveway. These projects cost $400 and $2,500 respectively, and both can help enhance the crucial first view of your property that potential buyers get.
In addition, there are multiple indoor projects at this level to help improve the appearance of your home. This can include professional decluttering, which costs around $450, and depersonalization, which comes in at $500. These are recommended by 93% and 68% of realtors respectively. Combining them can help transform your home into a showplace that will help it sell more quickly.
To take care of surfaces in the home, 73% of realtors said carpet cleaning should top your list, and you can expect to pay around $600 for this. Following this, a further 69% suggest refinishing your hardwood floors ($1,600) and 35% recommend updating your grout for ($1,000). These kinds of projects don’t take very long to do, but they can dramatically improve the appearance of your home, making it much more attractive to potential buyers.
Higher Budget Projects: $3,000+
If your home needs a lot more help to make it presentable for sale or to help it compete with other homes in your area, there are a few projects that realtors stress you should be undertaking. While not everyone has a budget for major improvements prior to selling, sometimes these projects can be worth it because they lead to a faster sale and higher sale price.
Landscaping and curb appeal have a major impact on a home’s chances of resale. Updating all of your front landscaping for $4,000 or painting your home’s exterior for an average of $5,000 can give prospective buyers an unforgettable first impression. 63% of realtors also recommend that you give your interiors a fresh coat of paint as well, which has an average cost of $8,700.
While these types of projects are more costly than others on the list, they have the ability to set your home apart from the crowd.
Find the Best Way to Update Your Home for Sale
Regardless of your budget, there are ways that you can improve your home for a faster, more successful sale. From small touch ups to major paint jobs, these projects are the ones that realtors recommend the most. We hope that these insights can help you prepare your home when the time is right, at a cost that suits you.
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