How to maximize your return on investment (ROI) for preparing to sell a home.


Alexandria, VA – Hello Alexandrians! Hard to believe that summer is coming to an end and we are moving towards apple cider and Halloween! As we approach fall, a busy time for most, some of you may be considering selling a home in the near future. A common question we in the realtor community are often asked is “What improvements should I make before selling?” Often The Seward Group is invited to the seller’s residence to visit the home and advise them on this part of the process long before they are ready to sell.

The RAN (The National Association of Estate Agents) releases an annual Renovation Impact Report that estimates the percentage of homeowners likely to recoup the sale price of various improvements/updates to their home: (summarized below by the Virginia Association of Realtors)

NAR Redesign Impact Report: What’s Making Money in 2022? – Virginia REALTORS®

We here at The Seward Group, don’t buy into the idea that home improvements are a truly quantifiable equation. Indeed, despite all the analysis any group or individual can do, that’s not really how buyers decide to buy a home. The decision to buy a home, in our opinion, is an emotional one. We can see the faces of buyers as they walk into a home they can imagine living their lives in. Of course, the economy is a huge factor, we’re just not sure they’re quantifiable.

You will 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.

According to these measurements, refinishing or installing hardwood floors, putting on a new roof, installing insulation and a new garage door are the only home updates that bring homeowners 100 % more return on investment.

We believe the following callback decisions provide our sellers with the best ROI on their investment, and we recommend them for every home sale, provided the seller is willing to make them. We’ve heard that for every dollar a seller spends preparing to sell a home, they’ll get $2 back, but we can’t quantify that either. We believe that for every dollar spent on the recommendations below, you will receive $1.50 back.

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

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

  • Landscape cleaning – fresh mulch, flowers, bordered beds, weeding, etc.
  • Step and pressure washing aisle
  • Painting the front door
  • Paint interior and exterior as needed
  • Refinish hardwood floors as needed
  • Thoroughly clean the inside of the house
  • Clean windows inside and out – let the sun in
  • Refresh the bathrooms – enamel tubs in white that scream 1950-1970, replace outdated light fixtures and vanities.
  • Refresh kitchens if they’re outdated by having cabinets professionally painted and hardware updated. Update countertops if necessary.
  • Replace outdated flooring with LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) which is very inexpensive and can truly transform a space.
  • If the roof is old, consider replacing it – if that’s not an option, consider hiring a roof cleaning company – cleaning does wonders for an aging roof.

Depending on the market, we advise against making major renovations just before the sale. The price overcomes all objections, but if you are planning to sell in the next few years why not consider updating your home now, so you can enjoy it, instead of just doing it for the new owner. Why shouldn’t you have a high joy score?

What additional questions can we answer for you?

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

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