Presale Home Improvements: The Good and the Bad

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ June 21, 2010

If you're still considering putting a home on the market in the near future, your best home-improvement tools right now may just be a broom and dustpan. That's what the financial mavens at Forbes Magazine suggest. For one thing, if you're planning on using an agent, you won't find a very energetic one if your house has terrible curb appeal and, frankly, looks like a mess.

Forbes quotes an agent from Chicago who says, "Just clean up your act. Put your junk in a storage locker, neaten, fix the wobbly fan before you call your Realtor." If you plan on doing any home improvement, says agent Zack Sudler, consider painting if your home needs it.

But, adds San Francisco-based realty executive Patrick Lashinsky, have it all done before the first open house. He reports of home tours in full glory while contractors are still hammering away. Perhaps you can get away with it in San Francisco, where available homes are a primo find.

Getting Bang for the Renovation Buck

Forbes cites a list of the best and worst home improvement projects to consider right now. Let's look at a few.

The Good

Bring in a professional cleaning service and have a pre-sale home cleaned from the ground up. In fact, keep the service on the job until the house sells. De-cluttering the house is another good use of your time and energy. Toss your excess stuff in a storage locker, Forbes says, and open up space in your closets so they look roomy to potential buyers.

Clean up the yard. Get out the mower, trimmer, and garden tools and spend elbow grease instead of money. If your exterior paint needs help, get it done. And re-paint any rooms that you've done up in loud or bizarre colors for a child. Neutral sells.

The Bad

If you're serious about a return on investment on a room remodeling project, settle on small changes to kitchens and baths. But walk away from the notion of adding a family room. Forbes claims that the approximately $82,800 you'd spend on the addition won't show up when you sell the home.

And reconsider your plans to add a master bedroom suite, experts say. The average $103,700 that homeowners spend for these additions won't return more than two-thirds of your investment.

Plan carefully or you could walk away from your home disappointed.

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