Thursday, June 16, 2011

Home improvements that sell

Six hundred real estate agents nationwide were surveyed to determine the top 10 low cost, do-it-yourself home improvements people need to perform for the most bank for their bucks.

by Broderick Perkins
© 2011 DeadlineNews.Com
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Deadline Newsroom - One of the few things you can do in today's market to shore up or protect the value of your home is to give it a makeover.

That's especially true when it's time to sell your home.

In its "Home Sale Maximizer" survey, recently announced home improvement and home staging efforts that get the job done.

The work doesn't have to cost a lot of money.

Six hundred real estate agents nationwide were surveyed to determine the top 10 low cost, do-it-yourself home improvements people need to perform for the most bank for their bucks.

"Sellers need to prepare their homes for sale before putting them on the market," said Louis Cammarosano, General Manager at HomeGain.

"Homes that have initial appeal have a better shot at selling faster and closer to the asking price than homes rushed to the market with no improvements," Cammarosano added

Right now, home owners who beat the spring rush and get in a contractor's pipeline of work orders can have a negotiating edge.

With new home construction at low levels, more materials and labor are available for remodeling resulting in shorter project schedules and often lower project costs.

But those low costs aren't going to last forever according to the latest A New Decade of Growth for Remodeling report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

"As both the economy and the housing market stabilize, so too will homeowner improvement spending," says Abbe Will, a researcher at Harvard's Remodeling Futures Program.

Over the coming years, remodeling expenditures are expected to increase at an inflation-adjusted 3.5 percent average annual rate, below the pace during the housing boom, but sharply recovering from the recent downturn.

Market fundamentals -- the number of homes in the housing stock, the age of those homes, and the income gains of homeowners making improvements -- all point to increases in remodeling spending.

"Metropolitan areas with rising house prices, older housing stocks, higher incomes and home values, and a larger share of upscale remodeling expenditures, such as Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, are well-positioned for an upturn in remodeling activity," says Eric Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center.

From HomeGain, the top home improvements that real estate agents recommend to home sellers nationwide, based on average cost and the return on the investment (ROI), are:

Cleaning and de-cluttering: $290 cost; $1,990 price increase; 586 percent ROI; 99 percent recommended.

Lightening and brightening: $375 cost; $1,550 price increase; 313 percent ROI; 97 percent recommended.

Home staging: $550 cost; $2,194 price increase; 299 percent ROI; 80 percent recommended.

Landscaping: $540 cost; $1,932 price increase; 258 percent ROI; 93 percent recommended.

Repair electrical or plumbing systems: $535 cost; $1,505 price increase; 181 percent ROI; 92 percent recommended.

Update kitchen or bathroom: $1,265 cost; $3,435 price increase; 172 percent ROI; 75 percent recommended.

Replace or shampoo carpets: $647 cost; $1,739 price increase; 169 percent ROI; 98 percent recommended.

Paint interior walls: $1,012 cost; $2,112 price increase; 109 percent ROI; 96 percent recommended.

Repair damaged floors: $931 cost /$1,924 price increase; 107 percent ROI; 93 percent recommended.
Paint outside of home: $1,467 cost; $2,222 price increase; 51 percent ROI; 81 percent recommended.

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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist, parlayed 30 years of old-school journalism into a digital real estate news service, the San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews Group, including DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service and Web site, and the Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's news back shop.

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