Zillow: How Sellers Should Prioritize Home Improvement

In this year's more crowded market, home sellers should avoid costly, larger-scale home renovations and focus more on the little things in order to save money and attract buyers, according to a new survey from Zillow Digs, Zillow's home improvement marketplace.

The company asked real estate agents and interior designers nationwide to identify the most valuable home improvements for sellers, and the consensus was that minor improvements provide more benefits.

Agents agree that sellers should avoid costly projects prior to listing their home, as the increased sale price may not outweigh the time and money spent on the remodel. Instead, agents and designers recommend spending money on minor renovations that will bring the home up to current market standards while also appealing to the broadest number of potential buyers, says Zillow.

According to the survey, the top five projects for home sellers should be the following: curb appeal, staging, small home improvements, decluttering, and having granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

Zillow says curb appeal is important because it creates a strong first impression, as buyers begin making assumptions about a home well before they step inside.

A home stager can identify ways to highlight a home's best features and compensate for its shortcomings. The goal is to make ‘your home appeal to the broadest audience and number of buyers possible,’ says Mara Miller, Zillow Digs board of designers member.

The company says decluttering is one of the most important things a homeowner should do before selling. ‘Nothing trumps the aesthetic of a clean and cared-for home,’ says Kerrie Kelly, Zillow Digs board of designers member. ‘Old appliances and furniture can be overlooked if a space is clean, simple and well-edited.’

‘Buyers have more homes to choose from this year, compared to last year,’ comments Amy Bohutinsky, Zillow chief marketing officer and a guest judge on NBC's reality show American Dream Builders. ‘And in a crowded market, sellers should prioritize spending time and money on upgrades that have mass appeal. Home buyers don't want to feel as if they are paying top dollar for someone else's decorating style."


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