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How to maximize your return on investment (ROI) for home sale preparation.

Alexandria, VA – Hello Alexandrians! It’s hard to believe that summer is winding down and we’re moving on to apple cider and Halloween! As we head into fall, a busy time for most, some of you may be thinking of selling a home in the near future. A common question that we in the real estate community are often asked is “What improvements do I need to make before I sell?” The Seward Group is often invited to a seller’s residence to tour the home and advise on this part of the process long before it is ready to sell.

The NAR (The National Association of Realtors) publishes an annual remodeling impact report that estimates what percentage homeowners are likely to recover from the sale price of various home improvements/updates: (summarized below by the Association of Realtors of Virginia)

NAR Remodel Impact Report: What Makes Money in 2022? – Virginia REALTORS®

We here at The Seward Group do not subscribe that home improvement is a truly quantifiable equation. This is because, as much analysis as any group or individual may do, this is not how buyers decide to buy a home. The decision to buy a house, in our opinion, is an emotional one. We can see buyers’ faces as they walk into a home they can imagine living their lives in. Of course, the economy is a very important factor, we are just not sure that they are quantifiable.

You’ll notice in the link above that there is a Joy Score for home improvement projects and a Cost Recovery Estimate chart for interior and exterior projects.

Based on these metrics, restoring or installing hardwood floors, putting in a new roof, installing insulation, and a new garage door are the only home upgrades that give homeowners a 100% higher ROI.

We believe the following upgrade decisions give our sellers the highest ROI on their investment, and we recommend them for every home sale, as long as the seller is willing to do so. We’ve heard that for every $1 a seller spends preparing to sell the house, he’ll get $2 back, but we can’t quantify that either. We believe that for every dollar spent on the following recommendations, he will earn $1.50 back.

Always keep in mind that the market fluctuates… interest rates change, economic conditions change and, as in life, timing is everything in real estate. We cannot control any of these factors, we cannot control the competition or the level of housing inventory, we can only control the price and condition. The seller always chooses the sale price, with professional information from his real estate agent.

Consider doing the following before you put your home on the market: Curb appeal is everything – you need to get buyers in the front door! You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

  • Landscape cleanup: fresh mulch, flowers, flowerbeds, weeding, etc.
  • Pressure Washer and Driveway
  • paint the front door
  • Paint interior and exterior as needed.
  • Refinish hardwood floors as needed
  • Deep cleaning inside the house
  • Clean windows inside and out – let the sunlight in
  • Renovate bathrooms: white enamel tubs that scream 1950-1970, replace outdated light fixtures and vanities.
  • Update kitchens if they are outdated by having cabinets professionally painted and upgrading hardware. Update countertops if needed.
  • Replace outdated flooring with LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) which is very inexpensive and can really transform a space.
  • If the roof is old, consider replacing it; If that’s not an option, consider hiring a roof cleaning company; cleaning works wonders with an old roof.

Depending on the market, we do not recommend doing extensive remodeling just before selling. The price beats all objections, but if you’re thinking of selling in the next few years, why not consider upgrading your home now, so you can enjoy it, rather than just do it for the new owner? Why shouldn’t you get a high joy score?

What additional questions can we answer for you?

We are here to assist you in every way with all your real estate needs and questions.

ICYMI: Free Dentistry Day at Reflection Dental – Little River on Saturday, September 10



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