Deciding where to spend your home project budget is no easy task. This decision is even more demanding when you must only spend on home projects that sell your house fast. This post lists the top 3 low cost home projects to help you sell before your next move, and two others that you probably want to overlook.
Americans spend $400 billion on home renovation annually. It’s BIG business. There’s a few winning strategies for homeowners to pursue when choosing which home projects to take on first. Variables such as cost, return on investment, and appeal to home buyers are all important.
The 2019 Home Remodeling Impact Report, (the Survey) prepared by the National Association of REALTORS Research Group in association with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and the National Association of REALTORS, makes it easier for us. The report surveys industry experts and presents the cost of the top 20 home projects that sell, and their return on investment. While the expected project recovery costs are important, the report goes even further by breaking down the proportion of realtors that recommended a project, and whether or not this remodel impacted the sale.
Low Cost – High Recommendation – Meaningful Impact
New Wood Flooring
Replacing worn-out surfaces, finishes, and materials is the best low cost home project that sells. It’s the only remodel that returns more than the cost, in fact you will enjoy a 106% cost recovery according to the Survey. This improvement is recommended to 16% of sellers by their realtor.
- Average Cost Estimate: $4,700
- Estimated Cost Recovered: $5,000
- Cost Recovery Percentage: 106%
Hardwood Floor Refinishing
Refinishing hardwood floors is the lower cost alternative to installing new flooring. At less than half the cost of a completely new install, you will still recover 100% of your cost. That’s a great immediate return on your minimal investment and shows extremely favorably to any buyers. This improvement is recommended to 27% of sellers by their realtor.
- Average Cost Estimate: $2,600
- Estimated Cost Recovered : $2,000
- Cost Recovery Percentage: 100%
HVAC, or Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning is not a sexy upgrade. For this seemingly invisibly home improvement the cost of $7,000 is near the upper limit of our low cost home project analysis. However, it’s one of the top systems that buyers focus on. A recent HVAC investment goes a long way to reassure buyers that your home is ready for new owners, and the survey reflects this. This improvement is recommended to 20% of home sellers by their realtor.
- Average Cost Estimate: $8,200
- Estimated Cost Recovery: $7,000
- Cost Recovery Percentage: 85%
Low Cost – Low Recommendation – Low Impact
Enhancing your home insulation is one of the lowest priorities when considering home projects that sell. While this is relatively low cost, and yields a decent recovery, it is an invisible upgrade that will not improve the marketability of your listing. This Improvement is recommended to only 4% of sellers by their realtor, and the Survey indicates that it helped to close 0% (ZERO) of sales.
Closet renovations are not inexpensive, averaging over $6,000 in the Survey. While homeowners do experience improved satisfaction after completing this improvement, it is a highly personal change perhaps better suited to remaining in the house than selling. With a relatively low return on investment at only 40%, and impacting 0% (ZERO) of home buyer decisions, it comes with our lowest recommendation.
Our focus in this article is on low cost home projects that sell, meaning less than $10,000. You can spend a lot more than this on most interior remodeling. Perhaps top on the list of what buyers are looking for is a contemporary kitchen and bathroom. While the return of your investment for these projects is typically around 50-60%, they are in high demand and will bring attract a lot more attention to your listing.
New or refinished wood floors and HVAC replacement are the top 3 low cost home projects that sell in this analysis. The high immediate return and realtor recommendation, combined with the impact they have on buyer decision making simply can’t be ignored. Of the low cost alternatives, insulation and closet upgrades will give the lowest return on both your immediate investment and home sale performance.